Opinion

Do you think we’re too EASY on our professors?

Let me take you on a journey to 2003. I had just completed my second semester, and I had fallen in love with journalism. Ileana Oroza, my CNJ 111 professor, seemed to be everything I needed: She was understanding, knowledgeable (she had been an editor at the Miami Herald), and straightforward (as editors generally are). Naturally, as I signed up for classes for Fall 2003, I jumped at the chance to take Oroza again for CNJ 216.

Enter Mirta Ojito. She was a New York Times reporter with Miami roots on sabbatical from the paper and working on a book. She ended up teaching my class instead.

Ojito was no Oroza. After turning in an assignment one class late, Ojito told me, “In journalism, you get fired for this. Why shouldn’t I fail you?” I responded, “I don’t care what grade I get, as long as you teach me what I need to learn.” She gave me a C. She taught me not to take a class with a professor I don’t know.

But this is difficult to avoid. Most students log on to the EASY system and look up faculty evaluations. They get percentages based on selected classes regarding whether students agree, disagree or are neutral to such questions as “I would recommend this instructor to a friend.” Interestingly, students provide more than just that when they evaluate faculty. There are levels of agreement to these questions that are omitted, and there are open-ended responses, which presumably are used to line Sebastian the Ibis’ birdcage, since we never see them again, and they do little to alter a professor’s methods.

This is insufficient. Asking a student to pick a class based on six or seven “yes/no/maybe” questions is like asking a teacher to grade a student based on six or seven true/false questions. It just doesn’t tell enough. Therefore, I present to you Ben Minkus’ EASY suggestions:

1) Syllabus previews: Let us know what is expected, and when

2) Excerpts from student evaluations: From profanity-laced tirades to encouraging boasts of a teacher’s methods; and, for the sake of objectivity…

3) Professor responses to evaluations

4) Box-and-whiskers plot of the final grades in the class-Is there a grade curve?

5) Show all five levels of agreement!

6) Class style: Lecture? Interactive? Group assignments? Writing? Combination?

7) Does the professor speak English well? Do they refer to the text, notes or both?

8) If a professor is new, what are his or her credentials, both professionally and educationally?

I know that any professors reading this might gasp at these suggestions for being invasive and exhaustive, but don’t they owe it to us to be honest and forthright with their style?

Or is that just the students’ responsibility?

Ben Minkus can be contacted at b.minkus@umiami.edu.

November 12, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst sat on a stage poolside at the ...

Former pro wrestler and promoter The Tennessee Stud Ron Fuller was interviewed by Ryan K. Boman of T ...

The University of Miami has its future quarterback. Jarren Williams, a consensus four-star, dual-thr ...

Graduating with Comedic Timing ...

The top graduate from UM's School of Education and Human Development shines in the classroom. ...

Students in University of Miami’s School of Communication’s Orange Umbrella Student Consultancy garn ...

Through its new Leadership UMiami program, the Butler Center for Service and Leadership is empowerin ...

A Biomedical Engineering Major and campus leader, Sterile Achille involved herself in many activitie ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team earned an impressive 65-54 win over No. 20/23 K ...

After its longest break of the season thus far, the University of Miami women's basketball team ...

Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios, a double major in finance and entrepreneurship, was name ...

University of Miami head volleyball coach Jose "Keno" Gandara is excited to announce a fou ...

University of Miami women's volleyball player Brooke McDermott is an active member in the Hurri ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.