SA committee pushes for publication of evaluations

By Rick Moreci

The Student Association is working hard to make teacher evaluations accessible to students.

A meeting of the evaluation committee was held yesterday in the SA conference room. The meeting was run by Academic Affairs Adviser Derek Anderson and SA President Abe Andrzejewski. There were also SA senators on hand who served as committee members.

The committee decided at the meeting to send letters to professors asking to allow their evaluations to be released to the SA for publishing. Anderson said if professors do not want their evaluations published, they do not have to comply with the SA request.

Publication of evaluations can currently be done only on a voluntary basis. However, the SA would like the cooperation of the teachers in this matter because they feel it is important that students are able to see these evaluations while trying to decide on classes.

“Our strongest argument (for published evaluations) right now is that other colleges have released their evaluations to their students,” Andrzejewski said.

The evaluations will start off only with general education classes at first. Notre Dame University did this last spring and they generated a good response, Anderson said. General education classes were evaluated because freshmen and sophomores are affected by these classes. Freshmen and sophomores also have the highest dropout rate.

The evaluations will single out teachers from last semester who also will be teaching next semester. According to Andrzejewski, evaluations will not be published until fall semester because there will not be enough time to do it for spring semester this year.

All professors involved will receive a letter from the SA sometime between Nov. 12 and Nov. 17. Along with this letter will be a release form for the professors giving permission to have their evaluations published.

The committee also discussed the possibility of evaluating teaching assistants for general education classes.

“I have two concerns about this,” Andrzejewski said. “The first concern is TAs are pre-transitory, meaning they only teach classes for a semester or two. It would be arbitrary for them to be evaluated.”

“The second concern is, do we want to evaluate our peers? They are still in the process of learning, too,” Anderson said. “If a TA is in the process of learning to teach and they decline to publish evaluations, will it look bad for them when they are ready to teach professionally?”

“I think TAs should be evaluated,” said SA Senator Marc Spacone. He said department evaluations do not say anything. For this reason, he said, any person involved in teaching a general education class, including TAs, should be evaluated so the students can get a better feel for the class which they must decide whether to take.

Andrzejewski and Anderson will be visiting deans in the next week, while other senators will go to see department heads. They will do this in an effort to see what a sample compiled evaluation looks like before sending letters to professors.

This committee will continue to meet at 2 p.m. every Monday in the SA conference room. Any interested students may attend.

Andrzejewski asked all committee members to bring at least two friends to the next meeting in order to get more help.