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Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

USET Update

March 20, 2020
Evanne O'Donnell, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Personnel

Dear Faculty,

Under normal conditions, Institutional Research administers both paper and online SETs.  The original schedule for spring 2020 paper SET distribution required SET packets to be delivered to faculty March 30 through April 3.  SET administration for both paper and online SETs occurs April 6 through April 24.  Due to the fact that faculty will be providing instruction using virtual and digital modalities through the end of the semester in lieu of face to face instruction and, given the exigent circumstances created by COVID 19, USET was asked for an emergency exception to our normal procedures. 

Following consultation between USET, CFA, Academic Senate leadership, OAPL, and Institutional Research, the decision was made to suspend paper SETs for spring 2020 and to administer all SETs online.  This will preserve the right for all students to provide evaluative feedback and provide faculty the right to review their SETs in accordance with CBA 15.15.  Online SET administration will proceed as originally scheduled, from April 6 through April 24.  Institutional Research will roll out the delivery of the SETs to students over a couple of days just prior to the opening of the administration period so as not to overwhelm the servers and email systems.

Given concerns with the move to all virtual/digital instruction and how that might affect SET responses, ​a message will be included in the online SET delivery package encouraging students to carefully consider and practice valuable judgment and constructive criticism when completing SET responses, particularly in regard to courses in which they may normally experience in-class instruction. It is also helpful to keep in mind that half of the teaching being evaluated has already occurred.  In addition, there will continue to be discussions within Academic Senate and Academic Affairs regarding how all evaluative material gathered during spring 2020 will be affected generally by the unusual times we are experiencing and how such information should be weighed appropriately and fairly.  Further information will be provided following those discussions. 

For those unfamiliar with online SETs, reaching out to students more frequently to encourage them to respond has been shown to increase the number of responses.  Also, faculty can monitor the SET response rate in Blackboard (PDF) during the SET administration period (pdf attached).  The Institutional Research SET website page provides other helpful and exciting tools pertaining to online SET administration that are available to faculty when SETs are administered online.  Please note, that as Institutional Research pushes SET links into your Blackboard course shells, there may be some reordering of your course menu items.  If this creates issues, please feel free to contact TLP at 530-898-6167 or email

Thank you.