At the end of every semester, the academic departments at ACU ask students to evaluate the teaching, performance and classwork of their professors.
While students are not required to participate in the evaluation process, they are encouraged to do so. Professors are supposed to give them class time to fill out the forms.
Many students take this seriously, but some disregard it. While students may pass this process off as unnecessary, what I fail to understand is why some professors ignore what students have to say about their experience in class.
I had a professor last semester who told our class at the end of the semester that he would not be reading his evaluations because he did not care what students thought about the way he taught his courses.
I have heard stories about other professors who make exceptions or change things for their students either throughout the semester or at the end of the class hoping for better evaluation scores. While encouraging students to participate fully in class is important, I do not think that bargaining for better evaluations is an appropriate practice.
Reading feedback or criticism, even positive feedback, can be difficult, especially for someone who is well-established in one’s practices. I would guess that the professors that say they do not care about student evaluations see no need to adjust what has worked for them for some period of time.
I sympathize with those who feel this way. As someone who is headstrong when it comes to the way I do things, I understand why someone would not want to listen to what others say about the way they operate.
However, sometimes an outside opinion can provide beneficial insight. I’ve learned to listen to what others have to say to me and make changes if necessary. Rather than ignore what students have to say, professors should accept the fact that students will have their own opinion about their experience in class.
Professors should, at the very least, take the time to hear what their students have to say after finishing their courses without attempting to influence their opinions. Even if students’ reviews are dismissible or unnecessarily harsh, it’s always better to hear someone out than it is to show ignorance of what they have to say.