Updates regarding equity and deletion of Mercury course evaluation data


Published: 2Nov2016

Dear members of the McGill community,

McGill is committed to upholding the principles of academic freedom, integrity, responsibility, equity and inclusiveness. These values apply to all members of the community: faculty, staff, and students. With this in mind, Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) and the Joint Board-Senate Committee on Equity have developed a protocol for addressing comments in Mercury end-of-course evaluations that are determined to be hateful or discriminatory on the basis of attributes such as gender, sexual or gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, or disability.

Any instructor or Teaching Assistant who receives a comment in a course evaluation that appears to demonstrate the above characteristics may request that the evaluation submitted by the student be removed from Mercury. The request, which shall be treated in confidence, should be directed to the Associate Provost (Policies, Procedures & Equity) (APPPE). The SSMU Equity Commissioner, who will not know the identity of the instructor or Teaching Assistant, and the APPPE will assess the remarks to determine whether these merit deletion of the response. If deletion is appropriate, the student’s response in its entirety (numerical responses and comments) will be deleted from the evaluation for the course in question.

This protocol is not intended to silence students or minimize the value of student feedback, which is crucial to curricular and pedagogical development at the University. Students do have real concerns about their instructors and courses; however, it is imperative that these concerns be expressed in a constructive and respectful manner. Guidelines on providing constructive feedback are available here.

Course evaluation data can also be deleted when a student makes a mistake, such as answering “strongly disagree” instead of “strongly agree.” In such a case, students can fill out this webform to request that their response be deleted. Because the course evaluations are completely anonymous, TLS requires information such as the date and time submitted and a sample of the written comments to identify the submission. If, based on the information provided by the student, TLS is able to identify the response, the entire submission (numerical responses and comments) can be deleted from the evaluation. Note that the student will not be able to resubmit the evaluation.

For information on both of the protocols described above, click here.

If you have any questions, please email mercury.info [at] mcgill.ca.

Angela Campbell
Associate Provost (Policies, Procedures & Equity) (APPPE)

Laura Winer
Director, Teaching and Learning Services

McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today.
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