Students have the power to determine the course of a teacher’s career at the end of each semester, and they may not even know it.
Student course evaluations, given out at the end of every semester to gauge a teacher’s performance, are a key factor in determining whether a faculty member is worthy of promotion to a higher level of tenure. Roughly 49 percent of SF State’s faculty members that are in tenure track, or have full tenure, stand to benefit from larger salaries, health care and retirement if they receive positive student course evaluations.
“The purely quantitative comments are more troublesome because it’s not always clear to students the effect and the use of the data that’s being made,” Green said. “Often students have a tendency to take these evaluations lightly as one more thing that’s wasting their time.”
Natalie, a senior psychology major who declined to give her last name, has been through four years of student course evaluations and feels apathetic about them.
“I don’t really care about student evaluations,” Natalie said. “It’s just something I have to do. I fill in the bubbles and get it over with.”