Student course evaluations are ubiquitous these days, whether they be at a national site like ratemyprofessors.com or sponsored by individual institutions. But Harvard University faculty members are split on whether evaluations should be mandatory.
Both the Faculty Council and the Harvard College Curricular Review have recommended requiring course evaluations, but at a Tuesday meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, many professors expressed the need to have a deeper discussion about the utility and drawbacks of evaluations before any decisions are made.
Gwynn Powell, an associate professor of recreation and leisure studies at the University of Georgia, knew there was something wrong in her department several years ago, when she could not bring herself to recommend any of her students to the directors of a local summer camp.
“I had to say to them, ‘Well, our students are just not getting this stuff as well as they’re supposed to,’ ” Powell says.