Students to evaluate professors to see changes

Megan George

Georgia Southern University students play a part in their professors’ futures by filling out evaluations each semester, but most students do not realize the benefits of the evaluations.

“When I administer evaluations, I often ask the students, ‘Do you know why we are doing this?’ And very often the students go, ‘I don’t know, just something we’re told to do,’” David Dudley, chairman for the department of literature and philosophy said.

Students who are pleased or displeased with a professor’s performance, whether it was the teaching style or something that was said in the classroom can voice their opinions through the evaluations.

Professor evaluations will be given out through April 8 to May 2 in student’s classes.

Once the semester is over, department chairs review these evaluations with each professor and the evaluations can potentially dictate whether or not the professor receives raises or another year teaching at Georgia Southern University.

“I often wish that people that come in for course evaluations would take just five minutes to explain to the students that it is more than just an empty exercise, that a department chair somewhere should be looking at these and that they can play a part in the annual evaluation and in their promotion and career path,” Dudley said.

“Eventually the state of Georgia is going to start having raises again for teachers, and when it does, department chairs are not supposed to give everyone the same raise. Student evaluations help determinate the quality of the teaching and can play a part in those personal decisions,” Dudley said.

The main issue professor’s see with end of the semester evaluations is not enough comments written on the back.

If a teacher receives a low rating on one of the evaluation sheets, then the student really needs to write a response explaining the low rating, in order for the professor to understand what to improve next time, Haley McKenzie, first year experience student ratings of instruction assistant, said.

“It really does not help them out at all for you to just give them a rating and then do nothing,” McKenzie said.

The evaluation sheets are filled out anonymously and professors will not receive these in their hands until after the semester is over.

If the professor is truly conscientious and concerned about the quality of the students’ experience, then the reason is what is needed to make changes in order for the next group of students going through that class to have a better experience than the previous group of students, Tom Case, chairman for the department of information systems, said.

Professors not only read the negative comments, but the positive ones are taken into consideration as well.

Case said that in the information systems department the positive feedback is used in our faculty presentations.