Publish all evaluations

NIU professors need to become more responsive to the students who pay them and particpate in teacher evaluations.

Each year, students fill out the often laborsome teacher evaluation forms, not knowing where they go to or who sees them. It’s assumed the department heads and a few others will take a look. The professors review them, but it seems to stop there.

For years, the Student Association has pushed for a teacher evaluation booklet which would publish summaries of the evaluations for each professor. Last year, the SA was successful, but the booklet was small because so few professors allowed their evaluations to be published.

Come on. The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign publishes their teacher evaluations in large form, even in the student newspaper. Students can register for classes where they know they won’t get a “lemon” professor by checking the book.

Here, it’s a crap shoot. Other than word-of-mouth or previous experience, students know little or nothing about the quality of instructors before they sign up for classes.

And unfortunately, those professors who do allow their evaluations to be published by the SA are likely to be the ones who were reviewed favorably by students. If the booklet is incomplete and only contains good evaluations, it is a poor representation of what NIU offers students.

As the teacher evaluation forms come around this year, take time to encourage professors to release their evaluations for publication. It’s something NIU desperately needs.