Use of CEQs in the Promotion & Tenure Process

As many ASMs are finalizing their Promotion and Tenure application files, MUNFA would like to draw your attention to a recent arbitration award between the Ryerson Faculty Association and Ryerson University regarding student evaluations of teaching. This decision has important implications for the P&T process at Memorial.

Arbitrator William Kaplan accepted expert evidence that showed student evaluations of teaching cannot be used to assess teaching effectiveness. Kaplan agreed that the best way to assess teaching effectiveness is through the careful assessment of an ASM’s teaching dossier and in-class peer evaluations.

Arbitrator Kaplan ordered that the:

  • Ryerson Faculty Association Collective Agreement be amended to ensure that Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) results are not used in measuring teaching effectiveness for promotion or tenure;
  • summary question of overall effectiveness be removed from the questionnaire;
  • parties ensure that administrators and committee members charged with evaluating faculty are educated in the inherent and systemic biases in SETs.

The decision by Arbitrator Kaplan falls in line with MUNFA’s stance on CEQs and our concerns outlined in a 2016 Information Bulletin.

MUNFA understands the need to demonstrate teaching effectiveness as part of the P&T process. However, whether ASMs are submitting or evaluating P&T files, they need to be aware that surveys of student opinion about teaching do not properly measure teaching effectiveness, and that research shows that they involve prejudices to the disadvantage of equity-seeking groups.

Bearing these issues in mind, if you choose to not include CEQ results in your P&T file, we suggest you include a statement such as:

“I have not included CEQs because of the inherent bias that has been demonstrated in multiple studies1and the recent arbitration award between the Ryerson Faculty Association and Ryerson University2.”

As an alternative, we encourage ASMs to review the CAUT Teaching Dossier, which outlines a number of possible items to include in your P&T file to demonstrate your teaching effectiveness. Likewise, ASMs evaluating P&T files should keep these issues in mind.

For more information on the use of CEQs and the evaluation of teaching, please consult the CAUT policy statements on the Use of Student Opinion Surveys and the Evaluation of Teaching.

  1. P. B. Stark and R. Freishtat. ScienceOpen Research 2014 (DOI: 10.14293/S2199-1006.1.SOR-EDU.AOFRQA.v1)
    Boring et al. ScienceOpen Research 2016 (DOI: 10.14293/S2199-1006.1.SOR-EDU.AETBZC.v1)
  2. Ryerson University v Ryerson Faculty Association, 2018 CanLII 58446 (ON LA), <>, retrieved on 2018-08-20