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Open Course Evaluations on Hold
I had hoped that Dartmouth’s term-end course evaluations would be opened up to student scrutiny in a vote at the faculty meeting yesterday, but the motion was put on hold. The “death by a thousand cuts” folks faced off against the “let not the best be the enemy of the good” group.
Criticisms of the proposal included possible negative effects on faculty of color, details of the evaluation form itself, concerns about pressure on reluctant faculty to opt in to opening up their own evaluations when they were actually reluctant to do, the fairness of not allowing faculty to see evaluations that students could see, and various procedural concerns.
Supporter took a different tack: they simply noted that releasing the information in the present evaluations would be a great leap forward as compared to the present state of affairs at the College, where ad hoc student course evaluation sites and sometimes malicious word of mouth communications serve poorly to educate students about faculty and courses.
The discussion was wan, and my sense is that a good deal more preparation should have gone into the meeting on the part of the administration. Faculty members will always pick nits; that’s their job. But the President and his staff should have forcefully asserted that opening up evaluations — as is done at most other major institutions — would be a good thing for the College. That did not happen.
The proposal will now disappear into committee. Let’s hope that it re-surfaces one day.
Addendum: A young alum writes in:
Very disappointed to hear that course evaluations were not opened up to undergraduates. The former course guide (hosted by Student Assembly for many years, and then by the Computer Science Club) had a significant impact on how I chose my classes and professors. It would be an enormous help to have this type of information available for all courses.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own interviews, a review of…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…