Opinion

Flawed system may hurt public professors

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s latest plan to pay university professors based on student population and performance has more holes than Swiss cheese.

The idea has recently been brewing in Texas and Scott is also considering the concept. The plan would connect public college professors’ pay to the number of students they teach and how well they do on student satisfaction surveys.

How is this plan flawed? Let me count the ways. First, the amount of students in a classroom isn’t a proper way to determine pay. A professor with a class of 20 students might hold in-depth, roundtable discussions and take the time to read and critique everything a student writes, while working just as hard, if not harder, than a professor with a lecture-style class of 250 who barely notices when a student doesn’t attend.

As the cliche goes, quantity does not dictate quality, so trying to correlate pay and the number of students in a classroom shows a true lack of thought put into this plan.

Another issue with this proposal is the idea that student survey results should determine a teacher’s pay. The truth is, no matter how well someone teaches, there’s always a vindictive student who blames his or her poor grades on the teacher, not a lazy work ethic.

The Internet is full of websites like ratemyprofessors.com where students rant and whine about how awful teachers are, and how their joy in life is to watch students suffer. Not all reviews are quite so dramatic, but students tend to write through a biased lens.

On the flip side, those surveys could open up a torrent of bribery attempts. Professors could entice students to give them positive reviews by raising their grades. There are too many “what-ifs” in this scenario, and not everyone has enough integrity for the system to work properly.

Professors already have a difficult job in preparing their students for the real world. The last thing the government should be doing is adding more stress by making their pay dependent on such variable and trivial factors.

Ashley Martinez is a freshman majoring in journalism.

November 9, 2011

Reporters

Ashley Martinez

Ashley Martinez is a senior majoring in journalism and psychology, which have sharpened her people-watching skills. She has worked as a staff writer, copy editor, assistant editor and is now the Edge arts and entertainment editor at The Miami Hurricane. She serves as the president of UM's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her work has been featured in The Hurricane, Distraction Magazine, The Communique, Gables Home Page and The Miami Herald. When she's not working on a story, she loves going to the theatre and singing show tunes.


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Thursday: • Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has an interesting theor ...

Juwan Dowels vividly remembers his first winter on the Syracuse University campus. Like the other 11 ...

The University of Miami football team has another player with a season-ending injury — and this one ...

University of Miami men’s basketball coach Jim Larrañaga received a grand jury subpoena for his phon ...

Get ready for an avalanche of University of Miami defensive backs and linemen descending on the Hard ...

Univeristy of Miami’s Wynwood Art Gallery holds its annual faculty exhibition featuring thought-prov ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

Here are three matchups to watch Saturday as the Hurricanes take on the Syracuse Orange at Hard Rock ...

The University of Miami men's basketball team will begin the season as No. 12 in the USA TODAY ...

As a Hurricane Club member, you are invited to participate in the 25th Annual University of Miami Ha ...

The University of Miami volleyball team returns home this weekend to host Atlantic Coast Conference ...

The Hurricanes will look to slow down an inspired Syracuse team at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday. ...

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.