EDITORIAL: SOS forms should continue to stay public
Performance evaluation is key in any legitimate work environment. Those put into a position of being responsible for others deserve, and should be, evaluated on the job they do.
It’s no different here at Central Michigan University, where Student Opinion Surveys are distributed at the end of a course, allowing students to grade their instructors on teaching effectiveness and course layout. There seems to be bipartisan consensus that this is the way to go about it: it’s unanimous and considered the most objective way of going about it.
But that doesn’t seem to be the problem. The Student Government Association pushed, and later followed through, in getting professor SOS scores published online, which still have faculty, and even students, upset. In Wednesday’s edition of Central Michigan Life, sociology professor Mary Senter said instructor evaluations should be measured in an alternate way, and the “university, by making that one way available to students just by clicking, is sending students an incomplete picture and a university shouldn’t do that.”
Even SGA senator Andrea Thompson jumped on board, calling questions on the SOS forms “superficial” and saying students would rather give rankings to classes than individual professors.
And while those arguments are valid, pulling the SOS surveys from the Internet is not only a step backward in transparency, but also giving students the voice that they deserve. In comparison to ratemyprofessor.com, often filled with opinions nearing one side of the extreme to the other, most students actually fill out SOS forms, giving a more complete picture of what a professor can offer in their class.
Information will travel regardless. The answer in this information age isn’t to limit the scope of what we have access to, but to provide broaden it. Students should be given the opportunity to make their own decisions based on evaluations of a professor.
Sure, some students are more apt to take an “easier” professor, but most will look for one that is an overall good professor. It is without these evaluations being available that students wake up in the tenth week of the semester and realize they are stuck in a classroom with someone that doesn’t care about their learning and when approached will not help them facilitate it.
As students, we deserve the opportunity to make the choice between a tenured professor and someone fresh out of graduate school. We are paying significant sums of money to be here and deserve to decide if we want to spent 16 weeks in a vulnerable state with an authority. Because learning is vulnerable. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and venture to professors office hours. Some students like to email their professors and receive a quick response, and others want to know if the professor they’re about to pay to teach them will give them the same time a student is willing to give to them.
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