Thursday, January 22, 2009

ABC's 20/20 Says College is a Ripoff

I was flipping through the television channels last week and landed on the ABC show 20/20. Before I could continue my ritualistic channel surfing, I heard the phrase "college is a ripoff." This certainly caught my attention and I watched the story by John Stossel. His reports are usually provocative and this one was no exception. This report raises many questions and issues that are directly relevant to the future of higher education in terms of its role in providing students a liberal arts education and/or providing them the skills they need to directly enter the job market. It is no secret that our own institution is trying to increase enrollment and this report might make some high school students think twice about obtaining a college degree. If we feel that this report is misleading, how do we do a better job promoting the value of a college degree? What role should faculty and staff play in this process?

I invite you to view John Stossel's story on YouTube (or watch it above) and click COMMENT at the end of this post to give us your thoughts or reaction to any of the issues raised in this report.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Faculty Beliefs about Student Ratings

Dr. Maryellen Weimer, Editor of the Teaching Professor Newsletter, maintains an excellent blog that addresses many issues associated with teaching and learning. A post in April 2008 raised the issue of a potential disconnect between faculty beliefs and research on student ratings (end-of-semester student evaluations of faculty teaching). I think the most striking part of the blog post is a quote from a research paper on student ratings: "Teachers will not likely improve their evaluations from students by giving higher grades and less course work." (Centra, J., Research in Higher Education, 2003, 44(5), 495-519)

To many faculty members, this is certainly a "hot" topic as the value of student ratings of courses and teaching has been debated for many years. I invite you to read the blog post mentioned above and provide your comments on this blog (click comments below this post) about student evaluations of faculty teaching, a potential disconnect between faculty beliefs and research on student evaluations and/or the role student ratings should play in the evaluation of faculty performance (tenure, promotion, merit, etc.).