Academic evaluations do make an impact


Editorial Board

Issue: SDSU students fill out 38,000 to 40,000 academic evaluations each semester to assess faculty.

As the weather warms, the thoughts of summer escape permeate through a student’s psyche. We may be chomping at the bit to get out of here, but there is one more order of business – academic evaluations. While class is delayed to fill out the surveys, we see plenty of students filled with indignation. Seen as a waste of time, some students feel their opinion isn’t heard and the survey is worthless. Others think there are too many questions that are not relevant to the class.

While there could be departments on campus that do not take stock in these evaluations, we have found proof only for the positive. The worth of these surveys is undeniable. Besides direct action or voicing opinions openly, we as a student body do not have a systematic, anonymous method to speak for or against a class and its professor. In our experience, there have been serious career decisions made through the opinions shared in these evaluations. Faculty members have been withheld from promotions while others are rewarded for hard work. We feel that the work placed in the evaluation process is justified with a reciprocated amount of change.

The method behind the survey is inherently broad in manner. The fact that certain questions do not pertain to the specific class does not mean the alternative would be any more streamlined. Just imagine filing a specific survey per class or department and being tasked with processing said results into a usable form. The amount of work needed to facilitate a program like that would be far more costly and involved than needed. While we agree that online academic evaluations could be more convenient, would everyone take it? The beauty of taking the survey in class is to snare those who would be too elusive or too lazy to take it. Plus, we aren’t complaining about a break in our class.

Academic evaluations are not going away. They are a viable part of campus by granting the student an opportunity to give his or her opinions about the class and professor. Without this survey, faculty members cannot gauge the success of a class. Students are, in fact, the number one consumer of class material on campus. Our opinion is worth a lot, so everyone involved needs to take these surveys seriously.

Stance: Like it or not, the current academic evaluation system works. Faculty members are assessed on their job performance and offer a unique opportunity for students to offer advice or criticism on a class. Both the faculty and student body need to take these evaluations seriously.