ASUCI Academic Affairs Vice President Charlene Manalo received official support from the ASUCI Legislative Council to have student evaluations of UCI faculty made public through the TEACH program.
‘We’re all here to get a good, quality education.’ Manalo said. ‘we asked Legislative Council to help us.’
According to ASUCI’s At Large Representative Gabriel Ayass, students already support making evaluations accessible. Bringing it up to legislative council simply makes the support official.
‘The legislation is more of a symbolic way to support the initiative,’ Ayass said. ‘All associated students support this … every part of legislative council supports this.’
Ayass added, ‘[Students] do fill out those evaluations at the end of the year, but they’re pretty much meaningless if they don’t serve the students as well as the administration.’
Angela Chou, director of the TEACH program, feels that an online version of TEACH will address this issue.
‘We decided that we’re [going to] have WEBTEACH searchable by either course or professor,’ Chou said. ‘The purpose of the Web site is to serve as a supplemental aid to students for course selection, provide the instructor’s goals, aims or commentary about the course and to provide a representation of the student evaluation of the UC Irvine curriculum.’
Ayass feels that this type of access to teacher evaluations would be very helpful.
‘After the fact, after the students have already taken the class it doesn’t matter,’ Ayass said. ‘If they don’t want to take [certain professors] again, they just won’t take them. The students know, but nobody else knows.’
Ayass said the availability of teacher evaluations to students interested in their classes may also improve the performance of teachers and teaching assistants.
‘This is important because it basically would push professors and TAs to watch what they say and maybe to revise their curriculum a little better,’ Ayass said.
This is a common concern among students and has led to the growing popularity of Web sites such as RateMyProfessor.com and Anteater.com
Manalo said sites like these do not represent professors and their classes accurately and fairly.
‘It’s just such a low number of students filling out the evaluations,’ Manalo said. ‘If it’s a class of 400, and usually 300 fill out these evaluation forms, there will be a better depiction of the class itself.’
Manalo believes ‘getting those departmental evaluations are really important in giving good quality depictions of the professors and the courses.’
Robert J. Doedens, associate dean of the school of physical sciences, feels that he has ‘no reason not to’ release the information contained to the students of the school of physical sciences, noting that the evaluations are available at the Student Affairs Office.
‘We have [had] them available at our Student Affairs Office for a number of years back and students will sometimes drop by to look at them,’ Doedens explained. ‘I can’t say how much it really benefits the students, but some feel that it’s useful.’
Not all deans feel this way. Some are wary of the spread of such information over the Internet despite assurances from TEACH coordinators that the information would be accessible only to UCI students through a password-protected Website.
Associate Dean of Biological Sciences Michael Leon expressed reservations about having information accessible on the Internet.
‘In theory I think it’s a good idea,’ Leon said. ‘I haven’t heard anything about that yet, so I will wait for a request … it would depend on the way they would use them.’
Leon also stressed that the school of biological sciences did make the evaluations available in the past.