I am a part-time faculty member in the journalism program at Loyola University Chicago. Usually about 15 students sign up for the interviewing course I teach. Part of the end-of-semester ritual is the evaluation students give their professor. Faculty are given careful instructions about how to administer the evaluations to ensure student confidentiality and candor. So, for example, the faculty member has to leave the room and then a student distributes the evaluation forms to his/her classmates. After they’re filled out, the anonymous forms are then collected by the same student who seals them in a large envelope and personally delivers them to the dean’s administrative staff.
Later — after the dean reads them first — the faculty member gets copies of these anonymous forms so he/she can get student feedback. I assume every faculty member would love to get a flat-out rave review from every single student. And I further assume that I’m not the only faculty member who doesn’t!
All of us want to do a good job for the people we serve and to have our bosses hear them say good things about us. Professors are no different. But this is certainly a case of the shoe being on the other foot. Tomorrow–the story of the most memorable faculty evaluation I’ve ever heard of.