Course Evaluations

Course evaluations at the end of the semester are used by professors in different ways.

We are finally near the end of the semester. All of the hard work we’ve put in this semester will be all focused on one week of finals. The all-nighters, the coffee, the study groups in the library and the Scantrons we swear will all be the death of us. 

As we close out on hopefully another successful academic semester, there is one important thing I haven’t mentioned that comes along with the end – filling out teaching evaluations.

If you haven’t already, you’ll soon be getting an email from do-not-reply@ku.edu to fill out teaching evaluations. They are so repetitive and boring, right? If you are like the vast majority of college students, you probably blow off teaching evaluations and think, who cares about this stuff anyway?

I hear the constant moans and groans when the professor announces that we should have received an email to complete them. “This won’t even affect me anyway,” I heard a student say earlier this week. Little do they know the impact that teaching evaluations carry on both of the instructor’s job security and future students’ classes.

Many students prefer to voice their opinions on ratemyprofessors.com, which is a website where you can, well, rate your professors on a numbered scale and leave an opinion on your thoughts on a specific class. A large number of students use this website in assistance to enrolling in classes. Filling out teaching evaluations, however, has a greater impact on the future of students at the University of Kansas and the University itself. 

The fact of the matter is, teaching evaluations are part of a significant matter to an instructor’s end of year review. Most of the instructors you have here at the University are not tenured, meaning that they are paid less and their job security is minimal. These professors rely on student feedback in the form of teaching evaluations to better their case for a tenure-track position. 

From the other side, if there’s a professor that does not teach very well and the vast majority of students agree, a teaching evaluation is important to fill out so that those opinions may be heard. I look at teaching evaluations as a cleansing, filtering out both the positive and negative. As an added bonus, teaching evaluations are completely anonymous. You are free to be heard and all it takes is a mere five minutes of your time.

I cannot stress the importance of teaching evaluations. Like ratemyprofessors.com, they help future students but in a more impactful way. If you had a great professor this semester, then fill out the teaching evaluation. If you had a justifiably bad experience, then fill out a teaching evaluation. All it takes is five minutes and some brutal honesty. The university needs you, the instructors need you and future Jayhawks need you.

Gannon Miller is a senior from Columbus studying history and business.