Rate My Professor: Students, Professors Rely on Evaluations For Help
By Chris Sipe, Alex Skorczewski
With many students registering fall semester classes, the quality of professors is a hot topic on campus. Students are asked at the end of each semester to evaluate their instructors' performances with in-class evaluations. However, students have found alternative resources for getting the low down on which professors to take.
The website ratemyprofessors.com is considered to be a valuable resource for students when choosing academic courses. The website allows students to rate their school's instructors on various categories such as his or her willingness to help students, clarity in explaining subjects, how easy his or her classes are and how much interest he or she "sparks" in the rater.
Students can even rate an instructor's appearance as “hot,” in which a chili pepper symbol is shown on the instructor's profile.
A poll conducted on the UW-Eau Claire campus found that a vast majority of students enjoy the website and heavily rely on it when registering for classes. Many students also find the site easy to use when evaluating a professor.
Sarah Wienke, a junior marketing major said, “[the Web site is] a good way to anonymously say how you really feel.”
The fact that the website is anonymous does give students the ability to vent about unpleasant experiences with professors. However, Dr. Chuck Tomkovick, professor of marketing, feels that some of the evaluations online are too strong, making the results unreliable. For example, when students use strong terms such as “never” or “always,” it displays an overly-aggressive approach to the evaluations.
UW-Eau Claire Official Evaluations
As for university course evaluations, these surveys provide anonymous feedback to the faculty about their teaching capabilities consisting of things such as organizational skills, grading procedures, and effective teaching ability.
Some students feel that the university should provide public details of the official course evaluations. These details could provide students with a better opportunity to research professors and choose someone to best fit their learning style.
Tomkovick said he supports the idea of making these evaluations available to everyone on campus. “Making the reviews public would be a great way to provide a positive, open forum for both professors and students to discuss strengths and weaknesses of faculty,” he said.
From left to right: Chris Sipe, is a junior marketing major from Eagan, MN ; Alex Skorczewski, is a junior marketing major - professional sales emphasis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI. They wrote this article for their BCOM advanced writing class.