Do SOCI’S matter?

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By Michael Lynch

Assistant Opinions Editor   

Is there anything you want to change in your classes? Do you want to make a difference on your campus? At the end of every semester, CSU Bakersfield students are allowed to provide their comments and feedback on each course they take.

The Student Opinionnaire of Courses and Instruction, or SOCI, is an anonymous survey given to all students in a course to evaluate the instructor(s). Because SOCIs are influential, students should spend the time to give meaningful feedback. In doing so, instructors and department chairmen are able to effectively assess each course and implement positive change.

According to Bianca Moreno, a communication instructor at CSUB, “I think it’s great to get student input…I read all of them, every single one.”

SOCI responses have the most impact on tenure-track associate professors and temporary faculty without three year contract appointments. According to the CSUB faculty handbook, “The Student Opinion on Curriculum and Instruction (SOCI) shall be the primary instrument used to collect student opinions of teaching.” If that doesn’t sound important enough already, consider the handbook also says,  “The SOCI shall not be weighted more than 50% in the evaluation of teaching.”

Unfortunately, it is very common for students to rush through completing a SOCI. Brief comments like “Good teacher” are common responses about the course and instructor.

Our feedback as students plays a critical role in which professors continue to teach here and what courses are taught. That is why we should take the time to give detailed feedback and recommendations for every instructor.

Julissa Garcia, a sophomore human biology major said, “I think they [SOCIs] are good, as long as professors actually look at them and try to improve because of them.”

Each SOCI is completely anonymous and the department chairman will read them. Additionally, instructors are not given the results of their SOCIs until the next semester. That means your feedback will not benefit or penalize you.

Some students feel the way SOCIs are presented can be improved. Chris Madrigal, a junior kinesiology major said, “I feel like they [SOCIs] are pretty important…[But] they’re pretty limiting on the first part when you have to bubble in [responses].”

Never lie or present false information in a SOCI. It is okay to give critiques such as, “The projects we did were not helpful” or, “We focused too much on politics rather than the course itself.”

The important thing to remember is to treat your instructor as you would want to be treated when writing your SOCI. Be kind and give meaningful advice. Equally as important, compliment your instructors and tell them what they did right. Your feedback does not have to be negative.

Alexis Ayala, a junior business administration major said, “The idea of it is very effective because it gives the professors feedback on how they can improve. It’s less effective if those professors don’t actually take that advice.”

We are approaching SOCI week on Nov. 26. If every student answers the questions honestly and in detail, our instructors will have a lot more feedback to consider as they improve their classes for the years to come.