The Value of Student Feedback and What My Students Say

Reflections on Student Feedback

Evaluations of my teaching help me to assess whether I am effectively meeting my pedagogical goals. Students provide feedback in a variety of ways: midterm evaluations, final discursive evaluations, formal end-of-semester University surveys, informal in-class feedback, and informal feedback provided via email, Skype or during office hours. Multiple formats ensure I am able to continually make adjustments to the course in response to student needs.

Overall, I receive positive remarks concerning my efforts to foster dynamic classroom discussion, create a nurturing learning environment, and connect scholarly and literary course work with the lived reality of the students. I strive to continually respond “in the moment” to students’ classroom needs, changing the lesson plan to accommodate students’ interests during class. For more information concerning how I integrate student feedback into my teaching, please see: McKee – Teaching Evaluation Reflection (November 2013). For more information concerning my teaching philosophy, please see: McKee – Teaching Philosophy (June 2015).

Selected Feedback from Students

I realize that for many students it sometimes daunting to select a course and know in advance if it will be “good” fit. In an effort to help students consider what to expect, please find selected comments from previous students.

GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY

LIB/HRT/HST 319: Human Traffic and Trafficking (Fall 2016) 

  • “I enjoy the content quite a bit, and Professor McKee makes sure all students are engaged while learning. I like watching documentaries relating to the content of this course.”
  • “This class was incredibly stimulating! I definitely felt required to stretch my thinking during class time. The material was tough to think about and apply to my everyday life but I really felt like I learned a lot of quality information.”

LIB 311: Meaning (Winter 2016) 

  • “I think the discussions and the readings were what most contributed to my learning. Although, it was a LOT of reading. I would have liked to have a little bit longer to read the texts. I know in one case, I could have finished the entire book if I had one additional class period. I think the book selection was really well chosen and easy to read, but at the same time really pushed your ideology. It helped frame some of the past political events in history and will influenced my stance many U.S. policies. I think giving the historical context of these issues was really helpful. Understanding the past is a key factor in shaping the future.”
  • “It was stimulating. It forced a shift in perspective in how generally well understood systems actually manifest in the world. I knew about private prisons and their relationship to systemic racism before this class, but I was able to zoom-in on it and engage with that subject with the help of an effective instructor. Another great topic in the class was adoption and how it operates as human trafficking. This class demands a radical shift in thought, and it’s one of my favorite classes that I’ve taken so far.”
  • “LIB 311 was very intellectually stimulation, it proved to bring humanitarian issues to light that need to be addressed by students and all U.S. citizens. Professor McKee’s book selections were inspiring and made me re-evaluate my thinking on subjects pertaining to the War on Drugs, War on Terror and Adoption. Bringing to light important subjects that require further action both on a community level and a political level. I think one important key to her teaching methodology is that she engages the class, and provides immediate feedback. I think the class was outstanding and I would recommend it to other students and would recommend that GVSU make this course a requirement for those going into criminal justice. I think it would provide law enforcement with a new prospective that may be lacking in the course curriculum today.”

LIB 401: Visionary Thinkers, Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs (Winter 2016, Online) 

  • “This class was incredibly intellectually stimulating. Professor McKee presented relevant and helpful information that encouraged students to deeply engage and critically examine what was being presented. I often found myself engrossed in the course material and Professor McKee’s knowledge and obvious mastery of the material was very helpful in order to understand some of the complex topics we examined in the course.”
  • “Professor McKee’s lectures were a great tool to have for this course. I wish that every online teacher would make video lectures and explain material in this manner. It helps those who need audio and visual aids in order to absorb the information presented. Also, the resources (including the required texts, assigned articles, documentaries, and video clips) were all incredibly pertinent and apropos for this topic/subject area. It is obvious that Professor McKee is constantly researching and including the most up to date and relevant information she can in order to assure that people have an thorough understanding of the subject area.”

LIB 201: Diversity in the United States (Fall 2015, Hybrid)

  • “Although it is a lot of work, this professor was always organized and knew her material very well. She is able to connect concepts to real-life examples, and we watch some videos in order to get a visual about what is really happening. Also, this professor is able to maintain co

ITC 100: Introduction to Intercultural Competence and Communication (Winter 2015)

  • “I think this was a great course! I wasn’t expecting to like a Gen Ed class this much, so that was definitely a surprise. I gained a lot of knowledge about information that I thought I knew a little bit about, but now feel much more informed on.”
  • “This class was an eye opener for me and the assignments and reading that the instructor provided the class with were very helpful. The instructor made class interesting and after every lesson I had learned something new. This class made me evaluate everything around me.
  • “This professor made it so students did not have choice to be lazy [sic]. She simply did not stand for it. This was tough at times being a busy working college srudent [sic] but overall I feel like it was important for her to be so strict. She was passionate about the topics and have us great reading that wasnt boring and sparked the whole class to talk about issued discussed throughout the course [sic]. I gained more knowledge on social injustices and liked the current events she related to the topics.”
  • “It was a very good course used to open eyes and minds to things that we may overlook that may offend others. Great for students with little exirences [sic] with cultures outside of their own.”
  • “I gained a lot of valuable information from this class. I was able to argue and agree with students. Debating with my classmates was good and taught me how to understand another person’s perspective.”
  • “I learned a lot about different cultures as well as about myself and my own culture. I have learned that I have work to do on my own cultural competency.”

LIB 201: Diversity in the United States (Winter 2015)

  • “Although it is a lot of work, this professor was always organized and knew her material very well. She is able to connect concepts to real-life examples, and we watch some videos in order to get a visual about what is really happening. Also, this professor is able to maintain control of the classroom while making the students comfortable enough to not only speak up in class but to also willingly explain to the class why and how they feel about certain topics. She maintained the students’ respect, and the students always felt respected. It was a nice classroom environment. She is also very quick to respond to emails, and she is always willing to meet outside of class with students who need help.”
  • “The class was very interactive and I usually enjoyed discussions in this class. Prof. McKee made us feel comfortable enough to open up and create good discussion with one another and her.”
  • “This course was more than I expected. I learned so much about all types of diversity and ethics. The co-curricular events were extremely interesting and helpful throughout the course.”
  • “The course opened my eyes to different aspects of people’s lives, and how things can effect [sic] a person’s opportunities and success. It was helpful when relating concepts to real-life examples. The course met my expectations even though I did not expect it to require so much reading.”
  • “Kimberly McKee did a stellar job with this course; VERY thorough and organized, yet willing to make schedule adjustments/accommodations when necessary. Brought a clever wit and sense of humor that kept discussion interesting and allowed students to become more comfortable to collaborate ideas with one another and offer personal viewpoints. Open-minded, well-informed, and make students feel that their opinions are relevant.”
  • “Professor McKee is the best teacher I have had at Grand Valley so far. She is always upbeat and willing to help in any way possible so that you understand the material and succeed in this class. It is clear that she puts in a lot of time to ensure this class is focused and beneficial.”

ITC 100: Introduction to Intercultural Competence and Communication (Fall 2014)

  • “I actually learned quite a bit from Prof. McKee’s ITC 100 class. It was a very interesting course, and although I had had [sic] prior experience with a number of the topics that we’ve discussed, this course went in depth in a way that I hadn’t before. There was a surprisingly heavy course load, but Prof. McKee was very on-task, so we managed to stay on schedule.”
  • “I really enjoyed this course! I learned so much and was introduced to topics that I would not have known about if I didn’t have this class.”
  • “I found this course very eye openeing [sic] and useful. I learned a lot about other cultures, and it was interesting to look at things in a different way then I normally would have.”
  • “I learned so much from this course, ive [sic] literally been telling my friends to take it because it will open their minds to so many new things that they would never have thought about.”
  • “I gained a complete range of perspectives and ways of thinking because of this class. The material covered revealed depths of personal refelction [sic] that I’ve never experienced before. Professor McKee was excellent in preparing the class for touchy subjects and communicating with how we deal with these issues.”
  • “I was delightfully surprised at ITC 100. It was an 8:30 course but I honestly looked forward to attending it each and every Tuesday/Thursday. Amidst a tough class load this semester, I found myself fully invested in completely these assignments, participating in discussions and watching the ‘optional’ videos because they were interesting and unique. I originally signed up for it thinking it would be a normal, freshman level class that was pretty cut and dry. I didn’t expect I would exert a huge amount of effort. I underestimated the passion I would have for the subjects we learned about. The different topics, class discussions, videos, documentaries, emails…they all added up to make for a well-rounded method of teaching. It ended up probably being my favorite course I’ve taken in my four years at Grand Valley. As a result of this class, I have gained confidence in working with others, dealing with differences in social components of education and have a newly gained knowledge of my individuality.”
  • “I would absolutely recommend this professor to other students. Professor McKee really cares that her students understand. She makes adjustments, offers her own opinion and gives real-life examples to make the learning reach who she is teaching. There are not many professors I have had that are so flexible. In the 21st century, she really makes use of technology to communicate with others. This enhanced the course material and learning. She always sent out e-mails with current topics and subjects in the world to relate back to course teachings. She went above and beyond, offering suggestions for extra readings, videos and websites that would be helpful in our papers, projects and readings.

LIB 201: Diversity in the United States (Fall 2014)

  • “I really enjoyed this course. Professor McKee was extremely knowledgable in this course and her excitement when teaching it was refreshing. This class especially opened my eyes on white privilege and all of the racial injustices I was blind to that occur in this nation”
  • “This course made me look at things more deeper and with meaning. Topics like race discrimination, ethics, stereotypes, and more topics relating to already mentioned was interesting to talk about as a group. I did not think it would require as much work as I expected, though. Many assignments had to be done.”
  • “I really enjoyed the course, and I think it gives students the ability to be more open minded and less ignorant.”
  • “My overall evaluation of the course is positive. I felt like I gained much more awareness and understandings of differences among people in the United States. Many of the topics discussed in class or in readings were topics I thought I was familiar with (racism, post-modern families, minorities, ect.) but it turns out I had much to learn. Overall the course did meet my expectations.”
  • “Even though she had high expectations of her students she still was very nice and provided good feedback on assignments.”
  • “I thought she handled the topics very carefully and was able to get the point across without blaming anyone or making anyone feel bad. It is hard to talk about white privilege in a class of 95% white people, and she handled it well. She also was very respectful and willing to respond to questions over email whenever. Also if there was topic brought up in class that she didnt have all the info on she would research it promply [sic] and inform us.”
  • “I would [recommend her], she was knowledgable and was very helpful in providing us with feedback/help on papers, her expectations, ect. The syllabus was very descriptive and honestly helped me out a lot. Overall, Professor McKee was a good professor and I would recommend her to others.”

GRINNELL COLLEGE

GWS 111.02: Introduction to Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies (Spring 2014)

  • “I enjoy when concepts are placed into context, for example looking at things in the media or at Grinnell.”
  • “I really like lectures/powerpoints and the more ‘relaxed’ discussions that arise when you pose questions to the class during lecture.”
  • “I enjoyed the breadth of the topics we learned about, most of the readings were very good and were worth the time they took. I really appreciated all of the constructive feedback on written assignments.”
  • “I really enjoyed the readings, they were all extremely interesting and didn’t make preparing for the class seem like a hassle.”
  • “I really enjoyed the essays for this class. They really made me reflect on myself and our society in a new perspective. And I was really satisfied with the product of my work.”
  • “I enjoyed the theory aspect and application. I appreciated the diverse perspectives represented in the readings and course design. Documentaries were fun and interesting. Two person groups were perfect for the final presentation. Thanks for having an actual final in-class, it really helps out students with many humanities/social science classes.”
  • “I liked that not all of the sources were completely academic based. It was nice to look at articles in popular magazines and blogs.”

GWS 395.01: Racialized Masculinities in the United States

  • “Flexible, takes feedback well, funny, very passionate, engaged, very approachable, open office, encouraged question.”
  • “Made me think about GWSS things in a new way, which I didn’t think was possible.”
  • “Learned how to make more compelling analyses, be more analytic in general.”
  • “Loved multimedia (advertisements, documentaries, music videos, films, etc.).”

THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

WGGS 3320: Special Topics: Rethinking the American Family (Spring 2013)

  • “Overall this class was great. I loved the discussions we had and learned a lot from other student’s life experiences. The teacher really wanted everyone to succeed and facilitated a place where everyone can share and learn together.”
  • “Very informative, run very smoothly, very organized. I was always engage din the lectures and never felt like it was a waste of time.”
  • “I LOVE class discussions because you get someone other than the instructor’s point of view on a topic and it really lets you think about the topic rather than just fill your head with facts.”
  • “[Class discussions] was the part of the class I really enjoyed. They were engaging and really helped me analyze the topics.”

WGSS 230: Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Popular Culture (Online, Spring 2012)

  • “I would definitely recommend this class! I have taken many online courses and this experience was far better than any in-person or online course. The readings were always interesting and relatable- as the senior student – I did not feel any generational gap, and enjoyed the exchanges. I found your comments always helpful and encouraging. This has been a wonderful learning experience, environment and utilization of technology.”
  • “Yes! I thoroughly enjoyed this class and will actually miss it. I learned SO much, and we covered a lot of topics. (I even used one of our assigned articles as part of a Facebook argument on race!) I would highly recommend this course to a friend or peer. The kinds of things I learned in this class carry into everyday life. I’d definitely say this was one of the most useful courses I’ve taken. It got me to think and reach out more to different groups of (marginalized) people. I also felt the instructor went above and beyond to make sure students could do well in the class, and I’m thankful for that.”
  • “Absolutely. Professor McKee was super responsive and willing to help in any way. She gave great feedback and facilitated our discussion religiously. I’m really glad that I took this class, a format that is new to me, with such a helpful professor.”

  • “I liked the class, I learned a lot about my life and putting it into a new perspective. I enjoyed that it was every day life, and incorporated the things I usually find interesting. I would recommend it to people who need this GEC.”
WGSS 367.01: U.S. Women’s Writers (Spring 2011)
  • “The lectures were great. Kim is very knowledgeable and incorporated a lot of history I didn’t know about.”
  • “She takes time outside of class for students, you can see she wants us all to improve as writers.”
  • “Lectures were good. I enjoyed coming to class…Relating class material to today was a great way for everyone to stay involved.”
  • “She is very personable and easy to go to for help. She is very accessible through email. She truly enjoys teaching, and it made the class enjoyable.”

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