Administration should incentivize faculty to read student evaluations, and students should be honest with their professors.
Student opinion of instruction or student evaluations, is a way for students to anonymously evaluate and leave comments for their professors. At the end of every semester, students are sent evaluations via email that ask questions about the effectiveness of each class as well as providing comment sections to discuss what the professor did well or could do better in the future.
Many students wouldn’t feel comfortable giving criticism to their professors during the school year for fear of harming their professor-student relationship or even getting a lower grade, but the evaluations provide a place for students to speak their mind about the effectiveness of the course.
Often times, a professor has been teaching a class the same way for a very long time, and student populations are increasingly diverse with varying learning styles. Honest and constructive student evaluations can help professors update their teaching techniques.
In addition, this year is unlike any other, and the following semesters probably won’t be any different. Professors are teaching in ways they’ve never had to, and professors should know if their transition to online learning was ineffective or more difficult on the students than it could be.
While these evaluations are the only chance for students to let professors know what they could do more efficiently to teach their students, many professors do not read their evaluations. There is no incentivization from the administration for professors to read or consider what the students have to say, and complaints against professors concerning conduct in the evaluations go unnoticed.
Lack of incentivization from administration and care from professors can lead to ineffective teaching which not only lowers student’s grades but ensures that students aren’t getting the information they need to succeed in their field. Whether the class is foundational or major-specific, every class at ACU is meant to benefit each student for the rest of their life. This can’t happen if professors aren’t willing to improve for the betterment of their students, and if administration isn’t willing to ensure their faculty are doing so.
In addition to faculty accepting student feedback and administration incentivizing faculty to do so, students should be willing to give constructive criticism to their professors. It is likely that whatever class you took someone else will have to take from that professor again, and if there is something they could do better they should know.
Our goal as a community should be to continue ACU’s legacy of providing quality education to its students, and if we all work together to provide and accept constructive criticism, we can do just that.