At-A-Glance: Quick and practical information for instructors.

PURPOSE & USE: Student evaluations of instruction (SEIs) generally serve two purposes:  1) to help improve instruction and 2) for personnel decisions (i.e., merit, renewal, retention, tenure, post-tenure review, and promotion).  For personnel review materials, SEIs are reported on Teaching Assignment Information (TAI) sheets for each course and overall for each instructor and the summary data for a department is reported separately for faculty and IAS.

ADMINISTRATION: The only method to obtain "official" student ratings of courses/instructors used for personnel decisions is through the electronic administration of SEIs through ITS in conjunction with each academic department.

  • Students: Two weeks prior to the end date of a course, students receive an email for each class in which they are enrolled with a link to the SEI measure. Students receive reminders if they have not completed the SEI until the survey closes.
  • Instructors: Provide time in class for students to complete the assessment and remind them to bring their smartphones, tablets and/or laptops to class on that date. Providing time at the beginning of class is best. Instructors/faculty should step outside of the classroom for ~10 minutes. Students who do not have the electronic means to complete the SEI can complete it at a later date.  
  • Department Chair or ADA:  On the 11th day of each semester, all courses listed in WINGS will be uploaded to SmartEvals! Departments will be responsible for “turning” off all courses that should not receive the SEI measure (this should include all 2 week courses and independent studies).  Furthermore, a department could choose NOT to send an SEI to courses with fewer than 5 students and should never send an SEI to any class with only 1 student regardless of the situation.

MEASURE: UWL uses a campus-wide SEI instrument composed of six common items that the students rate with a Likert-type scale of 1 = Strongly Disagree to 5 = Strongly Agree.

1. I was looking forward to taking this course.  This item measures a student’s interest in taking the course and is reported separately from an aggregate of the other items.
2. The instructor was helpful to students.
3. The instructor was well prepared.
4. The instructor communicated the subject matter clearly.
5. I learned a great deal from this instructor.
6. Overall, this instructor was excellent.
These 5 items are aggregated to produce a single item “composite” or “core” score that is reported.

SEI POLICY: The Faculty Senate SEI policy serves as a statement of university policy regarding the instrument, administration, reporting and record keeping associated with student evaluations of instruction (SEIs).

QUESTIONS: Questions should be directed to the Provost's Office

Documentation for use of the electronic SEI system SmartEvals (academic department chairs and ADAs)
Original authors: Sheri Craig & Mary Grattan - updates by

Overview expanding section

The online SEI process provides a consistent appearance to UWL students and also allows departments the flexibility to create questionnaires based on their specific requirements.

A series of six core questions are common to all distributed surveys. The overall  process, from creating department level questions, assigning question sets to generating instructor evaluation reports, is managed by department personnel (ADA's or chairpersons). Department level questions are submitted to the survey administrator to add to the system; in particular, a box for open-ended comments is encouraged.  Generally speaking, additional questions from a department are discouraged unless there is compelling evidence of the use of the data. This document lists the steps required to setup, administer and maintain evaluations within SmartEvals.

Faculty Senate policy on SEIs guides the instrument, administration, and reporting of SEIs.

  • Departments decide whether or not to administer SEIs for summer or J-term courses; however, SEIs are set by default to go out to students during the intercession and regular academic semesters.

NOTE:  The software company occasionally changes the interface, please email if the screen captures do not reflect the most current interface or information seems incorrect. 



SmartEvals! Log In expanding section

If you don't have access to SmartEvals, contact the SEI Administrator by completing a help ticket.

To login:

Click the Log In Here button:

Select University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Start typing La Crosse or Wisconsin in the selection box.


Click Log In for University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.


User ID – UWL Network ID

Password – Contact SEI Administrator

Change Your SmartEval! Password expanding section

From the menu select: ACCOUNT -> CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD   (Follow screen instructions)

Navigation expanding section

Two ways of getting to most areas – use whichever is comfortable for you (1) Useful Tools (2) by the menu bar above the dashboard. 

Useful Tools expanding section

Preview Course Evaluations: Allows departments to view all semester classes

Response Rates: Allows departments to view semester response rates (the number of students that have and have not completed the SEI survey)

Survey Results: Allows departments to view percentage rates of Core questions needed for TAIs (Teaching Assignment Information). TAIs are used for PRT (promotion, retention, tenure).

Email PDF Report: Allows departments to view and email individual instructor reports.

Dropped Course Survey Results and Export Raw Data are not functional.

Menu Bar expanding section

Edit: Allows departments to view all semester classes and view/edit emails to be sent to students

Reports: Allows departments options for viewing and downloading departmental reports

Account:  Allows user to log-out (exit) and change password.  NOTE: Give your Access to Others and Switch to Instructor View are not functional.

Help: Allows departments to search FAQs, watch tutorial videos, returns user to dashboard. NOTE: Conference Partnership and Help Guide are not functional.

Assigning Questions expanding section
Initial Department Questions Setup expanding section

UWL’s mandatory six core questions are automatically assigned to all courses. If your department does not use additional questions, you have no further set up.

The six core questions are as follows:

I was looking forward to taking this course

The instructor was helpful to students

The instructor was well prepared

The instructor communicated the subject matter clearly

I learned a great deal from this instructor

Overall, this instructor was excellent

If your department uses additional questions, these will need to be set up by the SEI administrator (one time only).

Add to Excel file located here:  SharePoint (you may be required to login) -> General Documents -> DeptQuestions -> SmartEvals Question Sets

When questions are added to department tab (see bottom of Excel file), notify SEI administrator that you added questions set (still in SharePoint)  SEI -> SEI Issues -> new -> fill out form

The SEI administrator will create a question set with your department prefix

Reminder: Too many additional questions may cause survey fatigue

View Existing Questions expanding section


Useful Tools -> select  -> Preview Course Evaluations                   


From the MENU BAR -> select ->Edit -> Preview Course Evaluations   

Click on magnifying class next to any class to see the question set OR the PDF icon will give you an adobe preview.

Below is an example using the magnifying glass. The PDF view may have a different look. 

UWL Core 6 questions:


Optional department question set:

Assign Optional Department Courses expanding section

The core questions (2-6) are automatically assigned. If you do not have any other department specific questions, you are done, SKIP THIS STEP. If the department has additional questions, the Question Set needs to be assigned to semester courses.

From the menu bar select Edit -> Class Information ->  Click

Semester pull down menu -> Choose the semester you want to run, i.e. “Fall 2016” OR choose the academic year you want to run, i.e. “Summer 2016-Spring 2017.”

All departments pull down menu -> Choose department prefix (if you have more than one)

Departments are given access to only prefixes that refer to the user’s department courses (i.e. = ACC, CYC, PSY).

Leave the defaults for See all instructors and See all course levels / types / traits drop down menus because departments will have only ONE optional department question set

Question sets must be assigned to each prefix. This will show you the classes being offered in the selected semester and prefix.


To assign optional department question sets, (1) Click the pencil on the left side for any course with a  (2) Q-set of none -> (3) Select the department question set then (4) Select Update

Cross-Listed Courses expanding section

Determine who owns the class (e.g. PSY/SOC 422 – PSY owns it) – the department that the instructor is housed in will have the responsibility of being the “parent” and assigning the class.

Find the class number and instructor’s WINGS ID. Picture below is from WINGS to find the (1) class number and (2) instructor ID.

Full-Time Instructors expanding section

From the menu bar select: Edit -> Class Information -> choose department -> Click on the (# of Classes)

Under the column X-Listed, Click on none

For the following example Erica Srinivasan is a PSY instructor –this makes PSY 422 parent class

Input the class number of the child class-term number-instructor WINGS ID # (4192-2167-xxxxxxxxx) and click Add. No information is needed in the “Parent Class” box 





To return to Class Screen, click “Return to Edit Class Screen”






Non-Faculty Instructors expanding section

Exception: If the instructor’s job is NOT a full-time instructor (i.e. associate dean), BOTH departments will have the responsibility to make sure the class is assigned. There may be exceptions where the “parent” department becomes the child (in this case of PSY/ERS 422).  The system does not know who has the budget line of the instructor, so it may be switched. See below.

Follow the same instructions as full-time instructor through the “X-Listed, none” step

Input the class number of the child class-term number-instructor WINGS ID # (4192-2167-xxxxxxxxx)

Even though PSY is the “parent” class, it doesn’t see it that way (see error message below). Input the cross-listed class number in the parent column (this case ERS – 4127-2167-XXXXXXXXX). If you have the wrong instructor’s ID, an error message will appear.









Team Taught Courses expanding section

Click # Classes


After clicking # Class, multiple instructors for the same class are shown – with course ID extensions “class number, term, instructor WINGS ID (4 instructors listed for this example) in the Course IDS 

Study Abroad Class expanding section

Handle as any other class (could be cross listed.)

Delete a Class expanding section

If there is a class that you do not want to SmartEvals to run a survey on, use this feature.

For example, PSY 331 has a lecture and a lab. Only one survey is necessary, so we can delete a LAB or LEC so the students will only receive one survey for the class of PSY 331 OR for courses with five or less students enrolled.

From the Menu bar select: Edit – Class Information -> Select the term -> Department prefix -> # of classes to display individual sections 

Click the X for classes to be deleted.


You will get a warning message -> Click OK


Add A Class expanding section

Contact SEI Administrator.

Notifications expanding section


  1. Initial email sent prior to the opening of SEIs
  2. Instructors do not have access to login


  1. Students will receive their initial email from the Provost office 14 days prior to the last day of class. Additional 3-4 emails will be sent until the student completes SEIs for ALL classes. Each email will provide links to course surveys.
  2. Courses less than full semester may have a shortened time frame to complete the surveys.


Edit -> emails to be sent -> Days between emails -> Select email type (Student #2 Reminder #1) -> fill in the blanks

This email will be sent to ALL course prefixes assigned to your ADA/Department Chair. You cannot select individual classes. You may want to send an Outlook email instead.

Monitoring Response Rates expanding section

From the dashboard select: Response Rates or from the menu Reports -> Response Rates -> Select your preferences

Checking PERCENTAGES DURING survey timeframe is encouraged.

A. From the above menu, select: Semester -> Department Prefix -> Group instructors together (if you want a breakdown of each class, change group instructors to See all instructors)

 If response rates are low this could be a great opportunity to send a department initiated email (see Notifications) or encourage instructors to provide class time to complete the SEIs.

Departmental Level Data Report expanding section

Updated Spring 2020 in response to Faculty Senate action.

TAIs (starting Spring 2020 and in effect for all by Fall 2020) no longer need to reflect a ranking for IAS or Faculty. Furthermore, the distinction between IAS/faculty has been removed. All departmental data will now reflect all courses being assessed. No changes are needed to past TAIs - they will remain as completed. If you are completing TAIs for someone for the first time, there is no reason to go "backwards" and provide ranking information.

Department administrative assistants should insert three departmental data points for every IAS or faculty member per semester into the SEI form (in addition to the information specific to the individual): the department minimum SEI; maximum SEI and average SEI.
 - Minimum and maximum SEI - administrative assistant determines these by pulling a report on all departmental instructors and locating the lowest and highest SEI.
- Interpolated median departmental SEI - administrative assistant pulls a report from SmartEvals that will provide the interpolated median across all students/instructors. Link to instructions for how to access the departmental interpolated median. 

SEIs Course Groups. Course groups have been set up in your SmartEvals! so you can get SEI results for all courses taught by the faculty/IAS in your department. To get only your home department results, click on “See all Course Groups” and all course groups will show.

Cross listed courses? See below, Psychology Dept has a class in this term that is taught by a non-home department instructor (Philosophy). To get ONLY psychology’s results, choose the appropriate group.

image of report