By Zach Thomas
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Teachers teach and students study, but should students have any say in how and by whom they are taught?
That question and others were explored in a recently published survey by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona that details the teacher and course evaluation processes of 50 state universities across the country.
The report concluded that of the 49 schools that actually evaluate teacher performance, 23 allow student access to at least a limited portion of the evaluations.
"We wanted to get the information together with the facts and figures and make a quantitative evaluation," said Rebecca Carter, co-author of the survey and ASUA administrative assistant.
ASUA is considering different approaches to the evaluation question, such as administration-based and student-produced evaluation systems, or a combination, but ASUA President Ben Driggs said the process is in a planning stage.
"We'd like to educate people on what the situation is nationwide and how different schools go about it," Driggs said. "Our strategy now is to present some of these ideas to university committees and get reaction from them."
A statewide committee made up of representatives from all three universities was recently formed to develop the idea further.
Students, in general, liked the idea of public faculty evaluations.
"I know my brother who went here before helped me with choosing classes," said Jay Zimner, an arts and sciences freshman. "This could go further than that."
Janice Nahin, a family studies senior, also agreed that public evaluations would be helpful.
"I want a professor who is able to talk to me and work with me," she said, stressing that evaluations would give her extra insight.
Some faculty members expressed sharp concerns over the idea of public evaluations.
"I would not personally be in favor of full disclosure," said Fred Hill, chairman of the Faculty Senate's Instruction and Curriculum Policy Committee. "My experience with the evaluations is that they are very volatile and vary from semester to semester."
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