This project has been funded by the National Development Plan through the Higher Education Authority (HEA) of the Republic of Ireland. We are most grateful to the HEA for its continuing financial and other support for teaching development in this country.
Our colleagues at the University of Wollongong and Murdoch University in Australia and here at Trinity College Dublin have contributed mightily to our understanding of the complex educational, technical and ethical issues surrounding the evaluation of teaching. They have helped design instruments, given us both positive and negative feedback and generally been highly supportive.
The administrative staff at the Centre for Staff Development at the University of Wollongong worked many long hours developing the technical side of the system at that institution. In the process, they discovered weaknesses in commercial survey systems and suggested improvements which are now being incorporated internationally. They developed procedures for administering questionnaires and reporting the results and managed the system with a high degree of integrity and security. This aspect of the evaluation of teaching is usually underestimated but, in our view, is of great importance.
We are grateful to AISHE, the All Ireland Society for Higher Education, under whose imprint this work is now published to a wider audience. More generally, we appreciate the support of many friends and colleagues in completing this project. In particular, Maria Bolton prepared the original manuscript; David and Barry McMullin turned this into the “single source master” and processed it in diverse ways to produce both the printed and online editions of the manual; and David Jennings kindly contributed the cover design.
We must also thank the many thousands of students who patiently, honestly and efficiently completed many questionnaires over many years. Sometimes they complained with justification that the improvements they suggested were not put into effect quickly enough and that they were not informed in specific terms of the results of surveys, but overall, they supported the system to an extent rarely acknowledged in the literature.
Finally, we must thank those who have laboured before us in this field. In particular, we thank those authors cited in this manual.