It seems as if teachers always have the upper hand in class, never considering that their job or even reputation could be compromised. They assign homework, teach lessons and give tests and quizzes. It never seems like the students have any power – until now.
Visit the new “Professor Ratings” feature on the newly designed castletonspartan.com website. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on the “Professor Ratings” link and rate your professor.
The page allows students to anonymously critique or compliment a professor by rating them on a scale from 1-5 on clarity, helpfulness, and easiness. There is also an additional comment box where students can vent or communicate with fellow students or professors about their personal feelings about the class or teacher.
Professor Tom Rutkowski in the business department is one of the professors with the highest ratings, although sample sizes are small to date. He is going onto his 18th year of teaching at the college and said he still enjoys it.
“I frankly love what I’m doing,” he said.
With a full five stars, Rutkowski according to one student is, “by far the great instructor at the school by a mile.” Another wrote “great prof…my favorite at Castleton.”
“It’s important for students to have feedback,” said Rutkowski. “We all live in a world where everybody is going to critic everyone else … we critique you guys, and it’s not anonymous. It’d be nice if all that stuff is done in a professional, constructive matter, but I understand that people are just allowed to speak their minds and it’s kind of cool.”
Junior Katelyn Curtis visited the page and said it’s nice to have a place for students to learn more about their professors.
“It is a good source to be able to get an idea of how any of your future professors might teach. I think it would also be helpful for the professors themselves if they looked at this so they could reflect on what their students have thought of their teaching style. All of the ratings are pretty consistent with the professors I have had so far and I think more people should participate,” she said.
Professor Peter Beyer in the English department also had high rating with 4 ½ stars. He too agreed that the website can be helpful. But when asked if he would recommend this site to students to use as a tool to help choose a professor, Beyer was not so sure.
“I have looked at this type of thing before and there are people I respect and admire as teachers but I see that from time to time students rank them low or have nasty things to say about them, but I see that that the teacher has something very good to offer and I don’t know exactly why there is a negative reaction,” he said. “It could be that the person is making the demands too much … I’d be uncomfortable suggesting that a kid go to this site. The kids will do it on their own.”
Some professors who were asked to be interviewed about having low ratings declined. Others claimed they could not find the page and therefore were unable to participate.
Professor Luther Brown in the in the Social Work department has not visited the page, and although Brown has low ratings of 1 ½ stars, but from only one posting, he said it does not necessarily reflect his teaching abilities fairly.
“Again, like all sites of this type, it’s a kind of a tool, and if used appropriately I could be useful,“ he said.
Junior Alden Bisson seems to agree with Brown. Bisson suggests the page is flawed.
“It seems pretty vague, and it seems to really only pertain to teachers who are excessively easy or obnoxiously difficult,” he said.