Course evaluations are designed to provide formative feedback to faculty members. Faculty also use the student evaluations of courses in some promotion, tenure, merit, and professional development processes. Three different forms are in use at Ferris: The Student Assessment of Instruction (SAI); IDEA Short Form (18 questions); and IDEA Diagnostic (47 questions). The SAI was developed at Ferris in the 1990s and has no external benchmarks, while the IDEA is hosted by a Kansas non-profit organization, IDEA Education, and has extensive reliability and validity studies along with the ability to benchmark by disciplines across colleges and universities. Each college makes its decision about which form to use.
Each of the three types of course evaluations is delivered primarily online. In moving to an online system in 2013, at the recommendation of the Academic Senate, objectives included these: