Stanford University's final exams have professors nervous.
No doubt about it, the end of exams and winter quarter are a nerve-wracking time at college. But at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., it's not just the kids who are sweating. It's the teachers, too.
As part of an ongoing effort to hold teachers accountable for their classroom performance, students are filling out "course evaluations" -- online surveys in which students rate their classes (and their teachers) in exchange for the chance to receive their winter grades early.
For many professors and teaching assistants, a student review can determine the fate of their careers, particularly their shot at a raise, promotion or tenure. Professors who are being evaluated for a raise must submit all their course evaluations since their last promotion, says Patricia Jones, the vice provost for faculty development and a biology professor. After which, the dean decides whether or not to promote the teacher or hire the teaching assistant full-time.
"Teaching is an important part of faculty work," Jones says. "It is expected that our faculty are good teachers."
While the notion of students in part determining their professors' careers is not commonplace, websites such as RateMyTeachers.com provide an honest platform for teachers to find out what their students really think of them. The site boasts over 11 million ratings for public and private schoolteachers in four countries.
Tell us: Do you think students have the right to weigh in on their teachers' academic futures?