For more information and to register, visit
Enjoy spring and the outdoors by getting involved in Intra-Collegiate 5k Running!
Co-ed teams will represent their RMU locations by competing in local runs. There will be five races between April 2012- June 2012. Races include; Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Race for Sincere Hearts, Running For Hope Ronald McDonald House 5K, “Spring into Fitness,” and the Tax Dodge Run/Walk 5K. Sign up today to have fun, compete, and make new friends! – A scholarship is available for those who qualify!
If you are interested in joining your locations team or have any questions, please contact email@example.com by March 16th.
Truly experience your sense of taste!
CULINARY SYMPOSIUM | FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2012
The Eagle, Robert Morris University’s student newspaper, won multiple awards at this year’s ICPA (Illinois College Press Association) convention. Designer Nate Daubert won Second Place in the “Front Page Layout” category. Former Editor-in-Chief Rasheeda Wadley and former Editor John Edwards, both of whom graduated after the Fall 2011 quarter, received an Honorable Mention (Fourth Place) for their co-written “Sports Feature Story.” Both awards were under the category of “Non-Dailies – 4,000 or more,” meaning non-daily newspapers (the Eagle is monthly) at universities with enrollment of 4,000 or more students.
Nate’s winning front page layout was from the November 2011 issue:
The ICPA is an association for college/university newspapers. Membership is open to all four-year colleges in Illinois. Member schools nominate their writers and designers for awards in 29 different categories each year. The Eagle has attended the ICPA convention every year since 2000 and also won an Honorable Mention last year for photography by Staff Writer Aaron Nielsen.
Plenty of classes at RMU involve group work and group projects. Is there any value in this? Are people most productive in groups, or are they better working alone?
An interesting article from The New York Times called “The Rise of the New Groupthink” addresses these questions and more.
Today (February 15) a group of RMU professors will be discussing the article and these issues in the Learning Commons on the Chicago campus at 12:00pm.
FAQs About Course Evaluations: What’s the Point? Are They Confidential? Can I Get a Teacher Fired? And more…
by Paul Gaszak, English Faculty, Chicago Campus
Course Evaluations are due by Friday of this week. You’ve gotten the e-mails. (Read thisif you need more info on how to do the evaluations.) You may have some questions about evaluations, though. Here are some answers:
“Why are evaluations now online? They used to be done in class…”
There are a few reasons. A few are stated in the e-mails you received:
“In an effort to further move towards sustainable practices, all Robert Morris University students will now be able to complete the quarterly Course/Faculty Evaluations in an online format instead of with paper and pencil. After successfully piloting the online evaluations at our Orland Park campus, we are pleased to make this available to all students. You can now complete the evaluations with a few clicks on a computer. It’s quick and easy!”
In addition to that, there are other benefits:
- Evaluations won’t take time out of class.
- Evaluation feedback will be returned to your instructors FASTER so that they can use what feedback you’ve given them for the next quarter. Faculty used to not receive the student feedback until the second half of the FOLLOWING quarter, which was too late for the feedback to make an immediate impact on how we do things in class.
“Are my responses REALLY confidential?”
Yes, yes, and yes! The teachers will not see students’ names attached to any of the feedback that was submitted for the course. If you’ve received multiple e-mails saying you’ve yet to complete your evaluations, that is because the program that generates the evaluations assigns each student a code of sorts–all internal to the software that generates the e-mails and receives the responses–that’s how the university knows if a student has completed the evaluations or not. Thus, your responses on the evaluations are completely CONFIDENTIAL!
As a side note, students have expressed to me that they feel the paper evaluations were more confidential. As an instructor, I feel just the opposite. With every batch of written evaluations, I was able to match at least a handful of evaluations with the student who did it, and I did this with no effort. The combination of what the comments said and the handwriting made identifying a student very easy in some cases. The online evaluations are much more confidential.
“Will my evaluations hurt my grade in the class?”
No. Grades are submitted before your feedback is returned to your teachers, and even if it wasn’t, your responses are confidential. And, speaking for myself, grading is objective. I wouldn’t raise or lower someone’s grade because of the feedback. The grade is based on the work each student has done.
“What’s the purpose of evaluations?”
There are a number of purposes:
- It is your opportunity as the student to evaluate the course and the performance of your teacher.
- The feedback you provide helps your instructors improve their teaching in both that course and in general. The feedback also helps the university improve that course.
- The scores you give a teacher/course are a part of each teacher’s annual review (more about that below).
“Okay, but I’m done with the course, so what does it matter what I think?”
While it’s true that you personally won’t be taking that same class with that same instructor again the following quarter, there is great value in it for you to complete the evaluations. The feedback your are giving your teachers now will help them make the course better for a new group of students next quarter. At the same time, a different group of students is providing feedback NOW on a course you will be taking next quarter. Thus, the courses you are about to enter into will be BETTER than they would have been thanks to the feedback. This means that you may not reap the benefits of evaluations on that particular course, but the entire process of evaluating instructors/classes is EXTREMELY beneficial to you.
“Do teachers even use the feedback?”
Yes, absolutely! BUT, the students have to give us, the teachers, usable feedback! If a student writes, “This class was AWESOME! I LOVED the teacher!” that may make the teacher feel good, but that doesn’t tell us why it was awesome or what we did to make it awesome. Likewise, if a student writes, “This class SUCKED! I HATED the teacher,” the teacher isn’t going to have much of a response to that. Okay, you hated the teacher and the class, but why? Is there something about the course or the teacher’s methods and teaching style that needs to be improved? Or is that particular student just angry because of a poor grade or something? It’s impossible to tell.
Thus, speaking for myself, I always look for usable comments, whether they are positive or negative. If I get a positive comment like, “I really liked how the teacher used different methods to teach us things, like movies, games, activities, discussions, and more,” then I as the teacher know that I should continue to do those same things, as they were effective and worked for my students. If I get negative feedback like, “I didn’t like how much the teacher lectured and I hated that we bought that book and hardly ever used it,” then I know that I need to vary up how often I lecture, cut my lectures shorter when I can, and I need to use the book more often and more effectively – or get rid of the book entirely.
“Can I get a teacher fired with my evaluation?”
When I was a student, I always wondered if the course evaluations I filled out had any impact on my teachers’ jobs. Did I have the power to get my teacher fired with a bad evaluation? If I gave a good evaluation, was I getting that teacher promoted?
At RMU, average scores are calculated for each course that an instructor teachers. Therefore, when judging the success/failure of a course, the average scores of all the students are more important than any single positive or negative review from one student.
For the full-time professors, the student evaluation scores for each course are a portion (NOT the entirety) of each instructor’s annual review. Again, no single evaluation from any single student is likely to have much impact. The evaluations are generally looked at from a big picture perspective: are the average scores for an instructor generally high, low, fluctuating? Are there any courses that stick out from the rest for a good/bad reason?
So, in short, a single student evaluation will not get anyone fired or promoted. It’s the big picture trends that matter.
RMU students, your Instructor/Class Evaluations are due by Friday of the week! Check your RMU e-mail for an e-mail from the Office of the Provost. You’ve received one e-mail for each class. (You may only see what looks like one e-mail from the Office of the Provost – open it and check if multiple e-mails aren’t threaded inside since they came from the same sender.) The evaluations are all done ONLINE now.
(Quick note: Some students are worried that the online evaluations are not confidential. They are confidential! The teachers will not see students’ names attached to any of the feedback that was submitted for the course. If you’ve received multiple e-mails saying you’ve yet to complete your evaluations, that is because the program that generates the evaluations assigns each student a code of sorts–all internal to the software that generates the e-mails and receives the responses–that’s how the university knows if a student has completed the evaluations or not. Thus, your responses on the evaluations are completely CONFIDENTIAL!)
The e-mail reads as follows:
Online Instructors/Class Evaluations now available!
In an effort to further move towards sustainable practices, all Robert Morris University students will now be able to complete the quarterly Course/Faculty Evaluations in an online format instead of with paper and pencil. After successfully piloting the online evaluations at our Orland Park campus, we are pleased to make this available to all students. You can now complete the evaluations with a few clicks on a computer. It’s quick and easy! A few things to note:
• All evaluations and comments are completely confidential.
• Please complete an evaluation for each course you were enrolled in for the Winter 2011 quarter.
• Feel free to add comments at the end of each evaluation.
• Complete your evaluations any time between Monday of Week 7 and Friday of Week 10.
Your feedback is very important to us and will be used to enhance and improve the educational experiences for all students here at RMU.
Thank you very much for taking the time to provide us with this essential information.
By Garrett Nichol, Staff Writer
Erin Pappas is the newest addition to the Robert Morris University Bensenville campus library. You can find her working hard to ensure all students have access to materials and computers at Bensenville.
Ms. Pappas, hired in May 2011, took on her role as Library Branch Coordinator for the Bensenville Campus. Originally from Lexington, KY, Ms. Pappas currently lives in Chicago and is thoroughly enjoying her new job at Robert Morris. As the new librarian on campus, she has many responsibilities. From administrative work to assisting students, Erin does a lot for the students and faculty at the Bensenville Campus. When asked what her duties at Robert Morris are, she said, “I do a lot of miscellaneous things, but most of my time is spent helping students locate books and references as well as giving library instruction and teaching students how to use the resources that are available, such as Blackboard and research catalogs.”
Though Erin has only been working at Robert Morris since May, she has a lot of experience working in libraries. At age fifteen, she got her first job shelving books at the local library in her hometown of Lexington. While in college, she worked as a graduate assistant as well as an office manager for a student/faculty library. Her educational background is equally impressive with a Bachelor’s Degree in Russian Literature from Reed College in Oregon, as well as a Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Kentucky.
As most would expect, Erin is an avid reader. “I enjoy reading all types of books, but my favorite kinds of books would have to be Scandinavian mysteries, young adult literature and comedy memoirs and biographies,” she says. Her favorite books are First Love by Ivan Turgenev, the author whom she wrote her thesis on. Her other favorite is Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, one of her favorite authors.
Outside of working at the Bensenville Campus library and reading, Erin has many other interests. She also enjoys writing, “I really enjoy writing comedy, but I also write some nonfiction as well,” she said. Her favorite movie is The Social Network, which she has seen over 20 times. Erin enjoys watching television more than movies. “My favorite TV show is Parks and Recreation…I think it’s really funny and I enjoy the whole cast. I also enjoy watching Misfits, Madmen, Weeds and 30 Rock. I pretty much like any show that is well-written.”
Erin also enjoys cooking, yoga and traveling. Erin has been to all of the lower 48 states, and hopes to someday travel to Japan. Erin takes classes at Second City in Chicago, which is a theatre that has performances, but also offers various classes. Erin took a course in sketch comedy writing, and is currently taking an improvisation course. As you can see, Erin is much more than your average bookworm librarian.
Now that you know all about Erin Pappas, from her duties as Library Branch Coordinator, to her favorite TV shows, feel free to come into the Bensenville library. Whether you need help on a project, finding a good book to read, or a new TV series to watch, come talk to Erin. She is friendly, funny and is always willing to help. Erin offers one piece of advice for Robert Morris students, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Come in and talk to me or the academic advisors. Take initiative and don’t be intimidated!”
On Wednesday, February 8, Math Professor Melissa Gaddini hosted a “Casino Day” as part of her Probability Enrichment course. The event was held on the 6th floor of the Chicago campus outside of the College of Liberal Arts offices from 2:00-4:00pm.
More details on the event are forthcoming.