Steps in the IDEA Process

In this Section

  1. Request Materials to Administer IDEA
  2. Complete the Faculty Information Form (FIF)
  3. Administer IDEA
  4. Receive and Review the IDEA Report
  5. Need assistance? Contact us!

1. Request Materials to Administer IDEA

IDEA materials request form

Faculty will select the courses to be evaluated toward the beginning of each semester/term. The Office of Faculty Evaluation will send an email reminder with a web link so faculty can make requests for IDEA packets. (Note: Some departments handle their own IDEA process; check with your department chair.)

Requests must be made at least two weeks prior to the proposed administration date to guarantee timely arrival (you are not locked into administration date, so request early). Faculty may request to administer IDEA in paper format (for in-class administration) or via an online format (with the option to email a link to students or to use a URL that can be disseminated in class).

For faculty who wish to administer IDEA in paper format, packets will be delivered to faculty in advance of the administration date.

Each packet will include:

For faculty who wish to administer IDEA electronically, the Office of Faculty Evaluation will communicate with each faculty member once their class has been set up online. If using the URL format, the URL will be sent to faculty in an email with further instructions. If using the email format, the Office of Faculty Evaluation will ensure that students receive an IDEA form at the appropriate time. Faculty will receive the Faculty Information Form (FIF) electronically.

2. Complete the Faculty Information Form (FIF)

The Faculty Information Form (PDF) identifies the educational objectives you believe students should meet in your course based on the curriculum and course design. On the FIF, complete a bubble for each objective as either essential, important, or of minor importance. (Note: Some departments have preselected objectives for a course, so check with your department chair.) Any errors in completing the Faculty Information Form may result in delayed mailing or negatively influence your results. Please ensure proper completion.

Completing the Paper Faculty Information Form (video)
Completing the Online Faculty Information Form (video)

Helpful Hints for Choosing Objectives

For a typical college course, select no more than 3–5 essential and important objectives.*

In selecting essential or important objectives, ask yourself 3 questions:

  • Is this a significant part of the course (not just a class or two)?
  • Do I do something specific to help the students accomplish this objective?
  • Does the student’s progress on this objective affect his or her grade?

*Student responses on essential objectives will be double-weighted statistically; student responses on important objectives will carry a single weight; student responses on unimportant objectives will not be factored statistically.

Note: Failure to select objectives will result in each objective being identified as “important” by default. Remember that selection of appropriate learning objectives is your way of exercising your voice as a faculty member in this process.

Helpful Resources

In addition to selecting objectives, faculty must indicate, by numeric code, the discipline of their course. Doing so allows for national comparisons by discipline.

IDEA Discipline Code List

3. Administer IDEA

After you have explained the objectives, given instructions for filling out the form, and identified the faith integration questions for the students, leave the room. You may leave the door open and remain close by in case of questions, but give students space. Students have reported feeling intimidated when faculty stay in the room.

Have a student collect the instruments and put them back in the packet. Make sure the completed FIF is already included in the packet. The student should then take the envelope to the appropriate drop location within 3 days of administration.

Tips/Strategies for Successfully Administering in Class

Pick a day late enough in the semester/term so students can evaluate their progress. If possible, do NOT administer IDEA when students are participating in or receiving feedback on a major evaluative assignment, such as a test or a major paper.

If you have not already done so, explain the course objectives to students in a way that enables them to rate their progress. THIS IS NOT CHEATING. You can even identify course activities that were designed to assess a course objective, if you wish.

Make sure students understand the importance of their feedback to the evaluative process and encourage them to give their most honest and thoughtful feedback. You may want to indicate that the data will be reviewed by you, your department chair, and your dean, or that the scores will also count as one component in your advancement portfolio; this notifies them that their feedback will be read and is important.

4. Receive and Review the IDEA Report

Handling of the scoring sheets is a confidential process and follows a predetermined schedule. Once evaluations are received by The IDEA Center, it takes two weeks to return them to APU. Distribution of the reports to the faculty typically occurs within one week after being returned to APU. Most department chairs request that the Office of Faculty Evaluation mail the reports and student comments to them, and they will distribute the reports and comments to their faculty.

Using Data for the IDEA Report

5. Need assistance? Contact us!

Questions about how your department handles selecting objectives and determining which of your courses should be evaluated in an academic year may be directed to your department chair.

Questions about the philosophy of IDEA, selecting objectives, statistical adjustments, and/or understanding your results may be directed to Stephanie Juillerat, Ph.D., associate provost, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, at Ext. 5746.

Questions about the logistics of completing web-based forms, packet materials, or mailing instructions may be directed to Office of Faculty Evaluation staff at Ext. 5930 or