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Our voice in teacher effectiveness

October 3, 2014

After every end of a semester, my email inbox always fills up with teacher evaluations, and, like any good student should do, I fill them out honestly.

I have credited professors when due and expressed my concerns when needed. This got me curious on how the college handles such evaluations. How much does the college value their students’ opinions on their teachers?

One of the first things I noticed is who sought out evaluations from their students. The majority of requests come from non-tenured professors, seeking student support to gain tenure.

But many of my tenured professors never sent one out. I understand major concerns can be taken to the dean, but why could I not just share my concerns on their teachings? Why would tenured professor not want to know how they’re doing?

We’ve all had “those” teachers; the ones you tell your friends to avoid. Take a look at Ratemyprofessor.com, it’s clear to see what students think on average about a professor.

But because of tenure, nothing can be done to address the issue. I’ve heard from many faculty, who I shall keep anonymous, that once a professor is tenured and their job security is set, their effort turns into complacency.

Once seemingly productive and hardworking professors now perform less effectively. This is an unintended consequence of job security. Now I know many great teachers that have tenure that I believe they deserve, but ineffective teachers seem to slip past into tenure positions as well.

Those positions are filled up, and prevent possibly better and more effective teachers from joining the faculty. With tenure, the possibility of competition seems to disappear.

I’ve also seen many great professors that students seemed to enjoy immensely not receive tenure. Is the decision of the department or school not weighted with the opinion of students?

Evaluating student opinions carefully not only protects students from bad professors, but protects good non-tenured professors from being dropped by those who perhaps “don’t agree” with their teaching methods. Students deserve the chance to be heard and considered in such manners; we’re paying for it!

I urge you as students to express your concerns to the school. Praise good professors and express any concerns about ineffective ones.

But most importantly, I urge the school to listen to their students, the ones who spend hours with your faculty, and pay good amounts of money to be educated.

Listen and compare all opinions that we express and keep it in consideration when deciding who we receive our education from permanently.

Kyle Dickson
Contributing Writer

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