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Course evaluation campaign stresses importance of student voice

11/26/2012

It's all about using your voice, say the creators of Hawk Squawk, a new student-led marketing campaign that kicks off this week to encourage Miami University students to fill out their online course evaluations. Course evaluations remain open through Sunday, Dec. 9.

“We wanted to put a new face on course evaluations, but although the name is fun, we want to stress their importance to Miami and how crucial they are to maintaining the level of education that the university provides,” said Charlie Catino, project leader and member of Miami’s Gamma Gamma chapter of Pi Sigma Epsilon, a sales and marketing fraternity. (Catino is featured in the video clip.)



Miami’s ad hoc digital course evaluation committee asked the student group to create awareness and to encourage students to fill out the evaluations. Miami is in its second year of phasing in online course evaluations.

Although previous semesters show signs that students like the online evaluations much better than the old paper method, administration wants to see participation increase. Last semester, the average response rate was 60 percent, with departments reporting response rates of 80 percent for many faculty.

Catino said his team, along with nearly 90 members of the fraternity group, brainstormed ideas for a campaign. The outcome resulted in combining the hawk symbol with the importance of student voice, or in hawk terms, ‘squawk.’

“At first we didn’t think the name Hawk Squawk would fly (pun intended), but it stuck. “I am really proud of how the campaign has come together so far. There have been a lot of people from the university and the community getting behind this initiative, helping where they can with incentives and support,” Catino said.

Incentives and prizes make up a large part of the campaign. Students completing their evaluations are entered into drawings for numerous gifts including gift certificates to restaurants uptown, box seats at Miami’s men’s hockey game, sports jerseys and the potential of receiving early registration times for classes. The students also are working with the musical group The Cheezies on a special video. Social media also is incorporated into the campaign with a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

“I continue to be impressed by the level of professionalism, commitment and creativity from the group of students working on the campaign,” said Mike Curme, ad hoc committee chair and associate dean of the Farmer School of Business. “They take seriously this initiative knowing that evaluations are a major component for faculty reviews, as well as providing our faculty critical feedback to help them adjust their courses where needed.”

Members of the committee include: Catino, a sophomore finance major; Allison Gnaegy, sophomore strategic communications major; Collin Moran, junior management information systems major; Rebecca Peets, sophomore marketing major; Maaike Rutter, sophomore accounting major; Blake Wilson, sophomore business economics major; and Ryan Boes, junior marketing major.

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