At the end of each semester, every Baruch College student receives an email asking them to fill out a course evaluation survey for every class they took. Course evaluations have the potential to be a great resource for both students and administrative members if they were more accessible, held tenured professors more accountable and received more student feedback.
On the evaluation website, results are broken down by semester and class rather than by professor. One would have to find a specific section taught by the professor in a specific semester in order to access the feedback from students. This makes it tricky to locate all evaluations of any professor because students may not know all the classes they have taught and when. If students take the time to fill out the survey, students should be able to see the results more easily.
Another potential issue is that the results of these course evaluations do not hold the same weight for tenured professors. Rather, professors who do not receive tenure are more susceptible to the results if they are negative. Tenured professors, on the other hand, can receive negative results in student evaluations and not be affected. In other words, the only demographic that is susceptible to the results of the surveys are non-tenured professors who are trying to make a name for themselves. This contradicts the intent of course evaluations, which should help administration weed out poor professors — tenured or not.
Course evaluations have the potential to be a powerful tool that should not be taken for granted, and students have a responsibility to do their part in filling out the evaluations.
In order to improve the effect of course evaluations, all students should participate, and administration needs to evaluate whether the system for viewing them is really the best way to present them. By displaying all results by professor may be more user-friendly. Administration can also consider including the comments that students write in the evaluations for more transparency and more expanded thoughts.
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