Student evaluations used in professors’ performance reviews

first_imgBefore they start filling in scantron sheets for their final exams, students in departments across the university will have to fill in slightly different forms — teacher evaluations.Those evaluations, though often viewed by students as either a pain or a chance to vent frustrations, are taken seriously by the university — student reviews can directly affect an instructor’s salary, job security and promotion opportunities.Evaluating · Yinghua Zhu, a second-year graduate student studying electrical engineering, fills out an evaluation of his professor. Evaluations are used in performance reviews. – Amaresh Sundaram Kuppuswamy | Daily Trojan“Students have the capacity to give an unbiased review of faculty performance,” said Michael Quick, executive vice dean of academic affairs for the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. “They’re in a position to give an unbiased strengths and weaknesses review.”At the end of every semester, students are asked to review their professors. Those reviews are then passed on to the instructor usually six to eight weeks after the end of the semester.Those reviews are also used by administrators during the annual merit performance and tenure reviews for faculty.John O’Brien, senior associate dean of academic affairs in the Viterbi School of Engineering, said student evaluations are the “biggest single piece” of the review process.The decision to offer tenure is based on teaching and research, as well as service to the university, Quick said. Typically, professors must split their efforts into 40 percent teaching, 40 research and about 20 percent service.For professors who have already earned tenure, student evaluations affect the teaching aspect of their review, O’Brien said.“In terms of evaluating people in the classes, we don’t say, ‘They’re tenured, so why even look?’” Quick said.Instructors who are non-tenure track may receive a job promotion as a result of a positive annual report, said O’Brien, though they will never acquire a tenure position as a result of student evaluations.Quick noted, however, that evaluations are not the only factor that determines an instructor’s fate, and administrators recognize that students’ reviews can sometimes be biased.“Oftentimes, you have to be careful because evaluations can be based on things other than performance,” he said. “If a faculty member was really hard on me and I got a ‘C,’ they got a poorer evaluation from me than if I got an ‘A.’”Because the student evaluations carry a significant amount of weight, Quick said students should think through their comments before filling out the forms.“We wish students would take more time to fill these things out because it helps us out, and we really do value the comments,” Quick said.Beyond tenure and performance reviews, student evaluations can help or hurt professors in other ways.Nicholas Warner, a professor of physics, math and astronomy in the College, said teachers in his department receive a pay raise based on positive evaluations.“There is a financial consequence to your evaluation,” he said. “Even though it’s small every year, over time it builds up hugely.”As an indirect benefit, Warner said he uses his students’ comments to gauge how he should run his class the next semester.“If there’s a number of people who make the same comment, I adjust the class according to it,” he said.Jieying Zhang, an assistant professor for accounting in the Marshall School of Business, said she takes her students’ comments to provide a better learning experience for her students in the upcoming semesters.“Every year I try to incorporate more examples and practice in class. The comments do help,” she said.But some faculty members said they do not receive any direct benefits from a positive student evaluation.“I think it helps me in that I always rate high with the students,” said John Cyrus Smith, an adjunct lecturer in the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. “It helps my reputation with Annenberg. It doesn’t affect salary. It certainly never affected mine.”Liana Stepanyan, a lecturer in the Spanish and Portuguese department in the College, said her students’ evaluations regarding her performance affect neither her salary nor her likelihood of promotion.“The only influence in the past 10 years was the summer classes,” she said. “Summer classes were assigned based on the student evaluations. The higher you rank the more likely you are to get a class.”Still, students said they appreciated that their feedback could have an impact.Joe Rothenberg, a sophomore majoring in animation, said he appreciates the opportunity to give his professors feedback.“I’m glad that the teachers have incentive to perform well,” he said.last_img read more

Spotlight on Clarendon ‘derby’

first_img o 3 p.m: UWI FC vs Waterhouse – UWI Bowl, Mona o 3 p.m: Maverley-Hughenden vs Jamalco – Constant Spring Complex o 3 p.m: Boys’ Town vs Tivoli Gardens – Barbican Stadium o 3 p.m: Humble Lion vs Portmore United – Effortville Community Centre o 3 p.m: Arnett Gardens vs Reno – Anthony Spaulding Complex o 7 p.m: Harbour View vs Montego Bay United – Harbour View Stadium While all the other Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) clubs are looking up at defending champions Montego Bay United at the top of the table, most eyes will be focused on the central parish of Clarendon, where the best of that parish, Humble Lion, and former champions Portmore United will meet in their second ‘derby’ for the season. Both the host team, Humble Lion, and the visitors, Portmore United, have had brief stints at the top, only to fall off, but a victory today for either team will enhance the chances of getting back there. Of the two, Portmore United had the most recent stay and only found themselves toppled last week when they suffered an unexpected 1-0 loss to Maverley-Hughenden. Another loss would be a most unwelcome result, according to assistant coach Lenworth Hyde. “We were at the top, lost a game and now we find ourselves in fourth. We cannot lose another game as we would fall off the pace,” said Hyde, the only man to have guided three separate teams to the Premier League title. The game itself, he said, is a really big one. “This is definitely a big, big game. Both of us are vying for the leadership of the league. The last time we played them, we drew, so we are pretty even now. We just have to go out there well concentrated and execute our plan,” Hyde added. While they have been having good results, bar the loss to Maverley-Hughenden, Portmore United have not been scoring freely and have only scored once in each of their last two victories. To address this problem, Hyde said they have changed things up a bit. Despite the changes, Tremaine Stewart and Ricardo Morris should still be their key men. For Humble Lion’s Donovan Duckie, this game will be just like any other but with a bit more underneath. “It is just another game for us, but the psychology says it is a derby game. The foundation of Portmore United is here in Clarendon, so they have some history here and this will play a part in making the matchup more attractive. Also, most of the players know each other very well and there is a lot of history between them,” Duckie explained. “This game will be one for the spectators as it will be two quality teams on the pitch. I have a lot of respect for the coaching staff of Portmore United,” added Duckie, who also had a stint at Portmore United. Wolry Wolfe and Andrew Vanzie, both former Portmore United stars, will be two of the key men for Humble Lion. They could, however, be affected by injuries to Levaughn Williams and Jermaine Christian. The two face fitness tests ahead of today’s game. At the Tony Spaulding Sports Complex, home team Arnett Gardens should get at least a point off visitors Reno while UWI FC should be fancied to get the better of Waterhouse when both teams meet at the UWI Bowl. Former champions Harbour View have been steadying themselves after a rocky start, but may find leaders Montego Bay United a bit too tough at this time, while bottom-placed Boys’ Town must be hoping that lightning strikes the same place twice as they go for a second win over Tivoli Gardens. Maverley-Hughenden are enjoying the greater form of the two promoted teams and should be favoured to beat the visiting Jamalco. Today’s Games ONE FOR THE SPECTATORSlast_img read more