I read with interest Zach Thomas' article ("ASUA publishes faculty-evaluation report," Nov. 1) about the ASUA faculty evaluation report. Unfortunately the author did not provide his readers with any significant details of the report's findings other than the conclusion that 23 out of 49 schools surveyed make portions of their faculty evaluations available to their students. I believe that this is such an important issue for students that it deserves much more attention from our campus newspaper.
Personally I am in favor of making faculty evaluations publicly available. As consumers, who pay a high price for the educational services provided by the University of Arizona, we should have the right to inform ourselves about the quality of the courses we are investing in before we register.
Let's face it, not all courses taught at this institution can be described as excellent. To illustrate my point, I would like to use the example of mutual fund investments. Would you want to put money into a mutual fund without knowing anything about the past performance of the fund? If you do, please contact me as soon as possible. I have a great investment for you. While past performance of a mutual fund is not a guarantee that the fund will perform in a certain way in the future, most investors view past performance as a good indicator of a persisting trend. Is it wrong to think that the same logic should apply to investments in education?
In response to Dr. Hill's criticism that faculty evaluations are "very volatile and vary from semester to semester" I would like to propose that publicly available faculty evaluations should include information of the previous three semesters to provide a more balanced picture.
Please continue to keep students informed about this important issue.
Frederick Scott Weldon
Education Post-Baccalaureate Student
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