What SATAL Partners Say
Instructional faculty and programs partnering with SATAL have provided their feedback on findings.
“In my department, the promotion committees definitely notice when a professor has gone to SATAL for advice about teaching practices, and they note this in the Case Analyses. In addition, at the faculty meeting where promotions are discussed, the addition of SATAL in the document is helpful for a candidate. It has been noted that teaching evaluations alone can be problematic in terms of evaluating effectiveness, because student perception does not always capture the effort that a professor puts into the class. The addition of SATAL adds to a positive evaluation of a person’s teaching ability because it shows that they are making an effort and are continuously improving their teaching, using known, effective measures.”
Patty LiWang- Chemistry Professor
"I was in a TEAL classroom and chose it to fulfill my assessment requirement [with SATAL Support]. I appreciated the feedback I received and felt like I was seen as a professor who used many techniques to succeed in teaching, rather than having a specific type of teaching pushed upon me. This helped me succeed in my teaching and gave me confidence in trying new techniques, knowing that I would receive mid-semester feedback from students. I taught classes that were far more based on projects facilitating student interaction than I had in the past, which I think was very valuable for students, and I also received very high teaching evaluations. I worked to facilitate more student-student interaction. I've focused more on creating in class activities from students and learning how to take some pressure off the students, so that they can have space to feel comfortable making the mistake they need to in order to learn. Students seem more engaged, I am more confident, my rapport is better. The students have learned to program and analyze data. Just continuing to give me the feedback they have given me in the past."
Todd Sorensen - Associate Teaching Professor
"The meeting allowed me to reexamine the results that I had received. I had looked at them carefully when I received them, but it was nice to have a bit of time pass and then to review them with others since this greatly increased my understanding of the results. I was also able to confirm what had worked, and SATAL had already come up with ideas for small changes I can make to improve my classes in the future which was very valuable. Other knowledgeable perspectives are always valuable, and so were the ideas that they gave me."
"... Getting feedback from trained students (perspective). Developing ideas about future methods. My expectations were met in full! The graphs showed me the overview. Hearing what the trained students had to say was important to keep me in contact with student expectations. They also gave me more ideas about increasing student engagement."
"Closing the assessment cycle meeting with the SATAL team “brought the data to life”.
"I wanted to receive more useful feedback from final course evaluations. My expectations were surpassed from the consistent high quality comments from students. Because they were thoughtful and offered reasons, I could better understand why and how to consider implementing adjustments to my class."
"I had collected a mid-semester evaluation prior to consulting SATAL but the evaluation was not as informative as I expected. I was surprised to learn about how much resources and support SATAL provided to help instructors with their teaching. I signed up for the observation and mid-semester evaluation assessments and I am blown away by how much data and concrete strategies I gained from these assessments. SATAL met and exceeded my expectations."
"I would like to think that I gradually improve my classroom teaching each time I meet with SATAL and discuss their recent visits to my classroom. They give me examples of ‘the good and the needs-improvement’ and I try to implement their suggestions in the following year."
“I had no concerns about meeting with the SATAL program because over the years, I have had some of my students being on the SATAL team, so I was at ease with the type of interactions and non-judgemental environment provided by the program."
“My whole interaction with SATAL was a very positive one, from the pre-observation emails and scheduling through the final meeting.”
Fall 2019 Comments
"I enjoy receiving detailed feedback about my teaching and ways to improve how my students learn biology. This past semester, SATAL collected three COPUS classroom observations, video recordings, and classroom maps when I was lead teaching BIO 001. In particular, I like the way that they summarized what I was doing, what my students were doing, and how engaged the students were during each class session. Also, it was interesting to see where I was walking in the classroom, which students were off-task, and which students were answering my questions. I used this feedback to change the way I prepared my lessons and taught my class towards the middle- and end-of-the-semester."
"In Math 32: SATAL assessment and student feedback helped me understand the elements of the class that frustrated students. It motivated me to adjust the grading scheme to provide a path for students to replace poor midterm results with stronger final exam results. In Math 23: SATAL provided validation for the top hat clicker program trial by documenting increased levels of attentiveness and student engagement. This assessment has been part of my decision to increase the role of top hat quizzes."
"Using SATAL's services has allowed me to see my classroom environment more from the student's perspective, which has helped me shape my curriculum."
"Although I am in general uncomfortable being filmed, the SATAL interns were extremely professional and helped to make me feel more comfortable. I found the data gathered to be a helpful snapshot of what is happening in my classroom."
"I really liked how SATAL worked with my existing lecturing style to nudge me in the direction of more effective teaching. They know that I can't change everything overnight."
AY 2018-2019 Comments
"The value lies in my professional development, the betterment of my teaching, and catering to the needs of the students. This process has definitely impacted my professional development as an instructor. Earlier I was not so confident about my teaching, but after these assessments and when I came to know that my students do not have any serious complaint/ issues with my teaching, I became confident. I came to know about my shortcomings in teaching and worked on those and these ultimately helped me in getting a good overall end of the semester evaluation. I have scored around 6.2/6.3 overall at the end of the semester where the maximum score was 7."
"Getting to see my teaching activities through the students' eyes. for instance, the novel we are reading for many students seems like busy work. they enjoy the read but need to see closer connections to what they are doing in class."
"A very positive outcome has materialized, resulting in a change in the way information is delivered to students."
"I've learned to streamline my assignments and to focus on certain skills. From one semester, student feedback suggested I not assign a one-page summary every week since at about halfway through the semester students had already understood the writing techniques and grammar. I followed their suggests and now I have dropped this part of the class for another on-going writing assignment--copying a complex sentence I write on the board three times. After then, students have to write many of their original sentences using that structure."
"I now know my strengths and weaknesses as an instructor. For instance, I know that I typically face one side of the classroom while speaking. I was able to correct this weakness."
"The feedback from the surveys has given me an indirect tool to assess the effectiveness of our curriculum. This feedback has also provided me with ideas on how to improve the curriculum. Specific examples are provided below."
"I used SATAL for a Chem 1 assessment purposes 6 years ago. A good feedback was received on why students find the course (and chemistry, in genearl difficult) - naturally, this helped me make adjustments not only for this course, but for my chemistry teaching, as well. More importantly, in the past 5 years in directing the STEM center, I used SATAL services in helping evaluate undergraduate (STEM Center Peer-Tutor/Mentor Program; MACES UG program) and outreach (GirlCode) programs. These were all newly established programs and the Surveys and Focus groups SATAL administerd helped as evaluate our Lerning outcomes and practices."
AY 2016-2017 Comments
"SATAL plays a crucial role in helping the Applied Math Grad group to assess its program learning outcomes. The focus groups that they run provide valuable indirect evidence. I am alwasys highly satisfied by how SATAL runs these focus groups, providing detailed written reports with interesting findings." Harish Bhat, Applied Mathematics Professor.
"SATAL is excellent, very helpful and critical to UCM assessment being completed. Adriana Signorini is super helpful. She has great ideas of how to assess students. Many thanks for her professionalism and service to UCM. UCM is lucky to have her."
"I approached SATAL for assistance. We discussed my needs. They followed up. We got the assessment done. I received the feedback promptly. I incorporated findings into changes to my course."
"We used SATAL to run a focus group. The results were fast and professional."
"Very professional staff. They fo the extra mile to support the improvement of my teaching practice. I requested mid-semester students' feedback from my Econometrics class. After the information was collected, Adriana explained to me students'' responses and suggested some ways to address the issues. Overall, a great experience, highly recormended!" Jesus Sandoval, SoE, Computer Sciences Professor.
"SATAL is always friendly and highly professional service is sincerely appreciated. The STEM Center gains better undestanding of its student support service through the survey administration and analysis SATAL provides for us."
"The feedbak on teaching and classroom techniques provides constructive evaluations to reinforce strengths and weaknesses in order to best serve UCM's student population. Further, the evaluations are supportive, and with intent to provide overall classroom effectiveness."
"I has helped me improve my end of the year evaluation. The mid-semester has helped me attain to the feedback given by students." Somnath Sinha, SNS lecturer.
"As an individual not trained in pedagogy, the services provide insight into how to effectively message course content." Robert Rice. SoE, Assistant Professor.
“SATAL staff members are always up to help. I have been seeking Adriana's help since last semester and she is very friendly and professional. She patiently hears about my class and then suggests me what evaluations I need to do with my students to improve my teaching. She has personally administered those evaluations and have also given presentations. Adriana not only presented the findings of the evaluations in an easy to understand format (graphs, visuals) but also took time to discuss it with me how to improve further based on those findings." -Somnath Sinha (Lecturer, School of Natural Sciences)
"I worked with Adrianna. SATAL helped us in Public Health to administer a survey in our upper division classes to obtain indirect evidence for Assessment. SATAL provided support to administer the survey and they also summarized the data and provided a summary report. This was extremely helpful, as assessment is a very time consuming job. I have also met with SATAL to prepare for next years assessment plan. SATAL is a terrific resource for UC Merced." -Andrea Joyce (Public Health Assistant Professor)
"SATAL program has been extremely receptive to our needs and recommendations. They customize their services to meet our specific goals for our yearly program assessment. Their personnel has always been professional and courteous." -Yue Lei (Applied Math Assistant Professor)
"Response to my requests are always followed up promptly. SATAL attend and respond as required in a professional manner. I have always enjoyed the response my students give when SATAL visits-the atmosphere is one of mutual respect." -Jane Wilson (Merritt Writing Program Lecturer)
AY 2014-2015 Comments
“... I administered it (the survey) myself. However, SATAL students tabulated the feedback for me, which was very helpful.” -SSHA Assistant Professor
“Excellent work! The consultancy process was informative, efficient, and professional.” -SSHA Lecturer PSOE
“Helped students understand the how and whys of effective feedback. Reminded me of the importance of giving directive feedback without taking over the writer's writing goals.” -Merritt Writing Program Lecturer
“The service is good, they are very fast and are very efficient.” -Biology TA
“The SATAL program helped me improve student engagement during lecture time, and therefore, improve student performance in my courses. I requested a class assessment, and I received feedback that improved lectures. I also requested a post-observation at the end of the semester and compared results to the initial observation. Useful feedback included the incorporation of mid-lecture questions and minute papers in my classes. These mid-lecture questions provide students with a break from the lecture format and give them the opportunity to work in small groups to provide answers. They also allow me to encourage the participation of quieter students, thus evaluating their understanding of the material. By using minute papers at the end of the class, I am not only able to take attendance, but also to sample responses to assess what the students take away from the class. By incorporating these two tools into my lectures, students’ grades increased because they were more engaged with the material” -Natural Science Assistant Professor- Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching
“The chemistry group needed this Chem 1 mid-semester evaluation quickly and SATAL program responded in a very positive way to our short notice.” – Chemistry Lecturer
“Questions about communication/instructions. Asking students during interviews what their needs are and whether they were met.” – Writing Lecturer
“The various services that SATAL provides are impressive. Not only was I able to get a mid-semester evaluation but I also was able to get my class filmed. Watching myself teach was very informative.” – Math TA
“I found the results from the student interviews extremely helpful in identifying changes I could make to improve the class.” – Psychology Professor
“Student assistants [are] ready, reliable, and professional during and after the observation.” – Sociology TA
“The student-centered aspect seems to be very effective. It seems students in the class are much more willing to give honest feedback to other students doing the evaluation. Customizing the evaluation in terms of what to focus on when getting feedback from students in the class was also very nice to have.” –Psychology/Cognitive Science Lecturer
“I like that I can get information about my teaching in specific areas through the focus group. The students feel more comfortable talking to a peer and it also helps that I get feedback very quickly while keeping the students’ identities confidential. I’ll definitely use the SATAL services again and have recommended them to my colleagues and TA’s.” – Physics Lecturer
“Getting student feedback has been very helpful to improve things like the homework assignments I give, and also to determine what has been working well in my classes such as how I do lecture slides. Other suggestions about how to improve class participation have also been helpful and I hope to implement those ideas soon.” – Psychology/Cognitive Science Lecturer
“Having SATAL coordinate and conduct the interview was crucial to the success of the assessment. Students needed an environment in which they could speak freely without professors there.” – Applied Math Associate Professor
“The PSY Major exit interviews were invaluable, providing us with the feedback we could not otherwise obtain and we’ll continue these interviews every year” – PSY Professor
“It was a pleasure working with the SATAL team. I highly appreciate our discussions and your guidance throughout the class evaluation process. SATAL students’ work was very professional – they communicated well, kept their work confidential and presented me with the results summary in a timely manner” – Chemistry lecturer
Among the suggested pedagogical changes listed by the faculty as the result of meeting with the SATAL team to close the assessment cycle are the following: 1. Add poses after questions to allow for questions- Pause longer after asking questions and allow students to ask questions; 2. Introduce group worksheets; 3. Diversify active learning activities during class sessions; 4. Group clicker questions I make clear how each assignment links to a Students Learning Outcome, then list what skills an assignment is meant to build; 5. Making the rationale for a lesson more transparent by linking how we do something in class to how it helps the writing process, such as rewriting an introduction without looking at what one wrote.
"SATAL team members suggested that I improve the class climate by adding memes to my slides. In our end-of-course extra credit survey, six students described how my use of student-generated memes made the class more enjoyable for them and helped them with their sense of belonging."
"Although it's still early to say, there was a consensus between student reviews and SATAL results regarding the effectiveness of Top Hat for Math 23 as a driver of engagement and attendance, and it will be promoted from an extra credit option to a standard part of the course in the future."
"I have made my teaching more interactive and to be successful in that I have been using TEAL room after my first/second assessment. During my first/second assessment one of the feedback from students was to make my class more interactive and besides doing activities and discussions, TEAL room provides an overall environment where there are ample opportunities for student to student and teacher to student interaction. My classes are 3-hour long classes and I have started giving 2 breaks in between. This was also suggested by my students because they said it is harder for them to concentrate at a stretch for a long period of time. Sometimes during their break, I give them a question to think upon and they must answer it in the class after break or have a discussion regarding it or present their views regarding it. I have seen student being more interactive. I have started doing more activities and group discussion and make sure I let them know that the topics for discussion is not to find a definitive answer but more to get and exchange each other’s views. TEAL lab has also helped that because of the set up the students can present their views from their places and show their work via laptop from their tables."
"Yes, I have deleted some assignments and upgraded the assignment directions to more of a step-by-step process. The students are more engaged when they see the learning goals explicitly presented. The students see the learning goals they are aiming for. In each of the assignments the assignment learning objective and outcomes are clearly explained and laid out before the students embark on an assignment."
"iRAT and tRAT administration. Team-based learning. Active learning. Classrooms are now more raucous places where peer instruction is paramount."
"I am clearer about how each assignment links to a student learning outcome, then I list what skills an assignment is meant to build. I write this information on the top of the page, and with repetition of listing outcomes, I hope that students will apply the concept of these categories to their writing process. Another change I've made in my classes is making my rationale for a lesson more transparent by linking how we do something in class to how it helps the writing process, such as rewriting an introduction without looking at what one wrote. This recalling of information helps strengthen the bond between writing and form. Student engagement has increased tremendously since I've learned the style in which students learn--I keep each of my lessons less than 45 minutes, then I change my lesson for the other half of the class, typically focusing on another aspect of writing unlike what we discussed in the first half. Students had previously written that I tended to discuss a lesson too long, that they understood earlier in the lesson. This is what influenced me to time my lessons better and to switch them up. The evidence comes in the form of the majority students in my classes tend to talk at least one time a class, mostly more than one time."
"Yes, I have made changes. For instance, I now allow more time to pass when I ask, "are there any questions." Here is a partial list of outcomes. The faculty decided to: (1) Make Math 150 a required course. (2) Continue to include writing assignments in Math 141 and begin to include them in more of the upper division courses, including the new upper division courses. (3) Initiated a discussion on how to better coordinate the proof components in our core courses. (4) incorporate more development and building of mathematical models into the core graduate curriculum."
"My own interaction was through the SATAL Student Focus Groups for assessing PLOs. For this reason, these efforts have not had a direct effect on my teaching practices."
"In Summer 2016, MACES UG Summer Fellowship Program was offered to UC Merced and non-UC Merced students for the first time. We used SATAL services to evaluate student satisfaction with the program. These results helped us improve program activities in Summer 2017 and 2018."
“Students were engaged later on in the discussion.” -Math Lecturer
“I learned that my students wanted me to be more interactive in the class. That helped me immensely in gaining confidence in the classroom.” -Math Lecturer
“SATAL seems to confirm that our freshmen want easier courses where more answers are provided (for homework and upcoming exams) rather than more learning.” -Math Lecturer
“SATAL provided a view of the discussion sections that the teaching assistants do not wish to provide.” -Math Lecturer
“The SATAL interview provided valuable Chem 1 feedback. More importantly, it helped Chem 1 students to self-evaluate their work - as a result, students knew better what areas they need to pay more individual attention to.” – Chemistry Lecturer
“Peer review forms were helpful. Reflected effectiveness of hybrid instruction and methods.” – Writing Lecturer
“From the mid-semester evaluations, I learned that my students were struggling to follow instructions on lab assignments. After the evaluation, the TAs and I worked diligently to improve the quality of instructions to improve student learning.” – Math TA
“Preparedness makes the class flow…good time management, plenty of activities and good communication ethics maintain a good working relationship and also create a better learning environment.” – Sociology TA
“I didn’t realize [the students] found the discussion sessions so lacking in helping them learn physics. We knew they needed to be improved, and the focus group helped identify very concrete aspects to focus upon. I also didn’t realize how helpful the demonstrations and videos were to the students even though they take a lot of time and sometimes don’t go so smoothly.” – Physics Lecturer
“Although I’m already aware that I tend to focus on certain areas of lecture halls more than others, I discovered that it’s more prevalent than I thought. I also look really serious during lecture; I thought I smiled more!” – Physics Lecturer
“I’ve found that I have implicitly been working with some of the ideas in the hierarchy of learning without really knowing that’s what I’ve been doing. I think I can look at different aspects of my classes and work to make those different parts address the learning goals/methods/outcomes for the different levels of the hierarchy so different aspects of the class work together to cover multiple levels of hierarchy.” – Psychology/Cognitive Science Lecturer
“Direct student feedback in focus groups is highly valuable, and we plan to use it extensively in the future.” – Applied Math Assistant Professor
“We’ll be using the results of the exit interviews to (a) change the PSY major and (b) file the next WASC educational effectiveness results on the PSY major” – Psychology Professor
“I would like to use the SATAL services in my future classes. SATAL evaluations provided an excellent feedback for my CHEM 10 class and were very helpful in understanding students’ needs. As a result, I was able to address specific topics and further help my students during lecture” – Chemistry lecturer
"I am satisfied with SATAL's support as of now and can't think of anything that needs to be added.
"Possibly have a menu driven approach."
"I was wondering how it may be different if SATAL talk to students about how to be a student--best practices for students in the classroom. No matter my policy in class, students use their cellphones, supposedly surreptitiously. I wonder if they heard this advice from their peers they'd be less inclined to behave in ways that are counterproductive to their learning and grades. Again, I wonder how students behavior in class would change if their peers from SATAL told them that no matter the one earns, but if they're using their phone in class, the professor will have to mention this as a strike against the student in any letter of recommendation or recommendation for a job on campus."
"Our department may need to assess the curriculum in the lower-division courses. This is more challenging than for the upper-division courses, because the lower-division courses are service courses and have students with much more diverse academic backgrounds. I look forward to working with SATAL to achieve this."
"Thank you for your support with the STEM Resource Center programs."
“Perhaps SATAL midterm evaluations could replace official midterm evaluations (with 69 questions, which students dislike).” – Writing Lecturer
“I am highly satisfied with the services provided.” – Math TA
"Yes, Mid-semester evaluation in Fall 2017."
"Yes, we will run another focus group early in 2018. This is part of the anual assessment (and/program review) of the Applied Math Graduate Program."
"Yes, I will be presenting the results of our study of outcomes as a result of changes in teaching practices next semester."
"Yes, I plan to use SATAL. I hope to work with SATAL in Fall for assessment in Public Health undergraduate curriculum."
"Yes. Fall 2017 and 2018"
"Yes, I have already requested SATAL workshops for my class for the coming academic year."
"Yes, I will let you know tentative dates in the near future."
"Yes, but not sure when. I'm interested in learning about the inverted classroom."
"SATAL was very helpful as a first semester Teaching Fellow; although I already had a fair sense that the course was going well, it gave me concrete student feedback about what students liked or would prefer to change. If I need to develop a new course next year, I would definitely use SATAL again!" -Kristin Hocevar
"If I serve as lecturer again in the Fall 2016 semester, I will likely request SATAL services (videotaping and/or class interviews) midway through the semester, in order to help assess the effects of any changes that I have implemented." -Gary Abel (Graduate Teaching Assistant)
"Absolutely. In both Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 I will be teaching new classes, therefore I will make appointments with SATAL as soon as possible. I strongly believe my evaluation scores would be not as great if I did not have SATAL's assistance." -Noemi Petra (Mathematics Assistant Professor)
"Certainly. I will turn to SATAL whenever I need. For now, I would like to act upon their advice they have already extended to me and keep on practicing them until they are internalized/naturalized." -Zakir Hossain Majumder (Graduate Teaching Assistant)
“Yes, and I'd love to have interviews in particular, which may be more useful than my open-ended surveys. I most certainly would recommend the services to other faculty. I'm a big proponent of assessing one's own teaching, and SATAL is VERY helpful in this endeavor. [At my previous institution] they required assessments like the ones SATAL offers as part of our tenure/merit files, but professors were left to do all of the work, tabulation, assessment themselves. It was very frustrating. This system is wonderful, Adriana is easy to work with and get advice from, and the students I interacted with were great. I hope to use SATAL even more efficiently in the future.” -SSHA Assistant Professor
“Absolutely! SATAL services are very helpful towards gathering structured information about teaching and learning.” -SSHA Lecturer PSOE
“The program is excellent. Yes, I would use SATAL services in the future and would recommend them to other faculty because the survey was very helpful to my teaching.” -Math Lecturer
“A big definite yes.” -Merrit Writing Program Lecturer
“Yes. This is a quick and comprehensive way to receive class feedback.” – Chemistry Lecturer
“Yes, because each class is different and it's good to check whether their needs are met and reevaluate teaching effectiveness.” – Writing Lecturer