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Monday, Apr. 9th 2018

Professor Appeals Re Student Evaluations

Having written previously about Post-Tenure Review within the subject of Professor Appeals, Mr. Cohen addresses an ongoing issue for non -tenured professors with regard to Student Evaluations. These are voluntary anonymous online ratings of professors which students are encouraged to submit about each professor each Term. These ratings are intended to form only a part of the comprehensive review of a professor’s teaching ability, keeping in mind that teaching typically is 40% of the overall evaluation; research is 40% and service to the university is 20%. A typical evaluation form contains the following categories to be rated:

OBJECTIVES CLEARLY DEFINED

OBJECTIVES MET

WELL PREPARED & ORGANIZED

DISCUSS OUTSIDE OF CLASS

ENCOURAGED STUDENT INVOLVEMENT

RESPECT AND DIGNITY

GAINED KNOWLEDGE/SKILLS

WORK REQUIRED

OVERALL TEACHING PERFORMANCE

Students typically may also add narrative comments. While student evaluations are listed as only one of many factors in a professor’s annual evaluation and in the committee report and recommendation for promotion and tenure, the reality is that poor student evaluations often lead to the end of a professor’s employment and career. Professor appeals focus on the consistency of student evaluations from class to class and from year to year. Professor appeals also examine relevant issues such as whether course content was imposed on the professor and, if so, was it educationally sound within the teaching objective of the program. A professor appeal can also examine whether the syllabus and work expected of students matches the credit hours assigned to the course. Students may have complaints that should really be made to the Dean who approved course credit if they believe the work expected is disproportionate with the credit hours to be earned.

Grade the Teacher Report Card Student Evaluation Survey Feedback

In 2017 a study was published in STUDIES IN EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION, VOLUME 54, SEPTEMBER 2017, wherein the author concluded that “Student evaluation of teaching ratings and student learning are not related.” So, the question is are these ratings nothing more than a popularity contest with dire consequences for good professors who may be unpopular because they are demanding of their students? Certainly student comments can be objective and accurate but they also, due to their anonymity, can be gratuitously mean-spirited and unnecessarily harmful to a professor’s future.

Professor who encounter poor ratings and have a concern for their annual evaluation or promotion and tenure recommendation may seek a professor appeal and are encouraged to call Mr. Cohen at 913.956.1125 or contact him by email at: cac@studentrightslawyers.com

 


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