A suggestion

As a graduate assistant in the economics department, I received Mr. Andrzejewski’s letter requesting the release of student evaluations. It is my understanding that members of the Student Association would like to help students plan their class schedules. I am not sure, however, why they would like to provide this service. If the goal of publishing these evaluations is to improve the quality of a student’s classes, I suggest the SA consider some of the problems associated with general education courses. Then, the SA should encourage students to take an active role in their education instead of supplying them with some sort of consumer’s guide to easy classes.

Students may want to consider the following observations as examples of weakness that need to be addressed. A publication of student evaluations will not change the fact that in the schedule of classes, twenty sections of ECON 260 are listed as being taught by “staff”. Nor will it change the fact that ECON 260 instructors have to cover a great deal of difficult material quickly in order to finish a syllabus that is predetermined by a professor in the department. Finally, a publication will not abolish mass exams that do not allow instructors to give partial credit or the chance to see how much students have really learned.

Fortunately, Principles of Economics students are currently being given the opportunity to discuss their views about their classes with professors who are evaluating the situation. It is through communication such as this that the quality of education can be improved. The SA needs to encourage this kind of communication throughout the university. Students need to rely on their own voices, not the published opinions of others.

Marci Jumisko

Graduate Assistant