Spring 2012 Student Evaluations

I’m always a little apprehensive to read the student evaluations for my courses. I think I’ve mentioned this before (here, here, and here, for instance). There’s this part of me, I suppose, that fears for the worst every time.

Last Friday was the day I finally had a chance to open up the evaluations from my spring and summer courses and enter the data in them into the spreadsheets that I use to track my performance over time. 

The news, thankfully, was quite good. The students, when asked whether or not they disagreed (=1) or agreed (=5) with the statement “I would rate my professor as an excellent teacher,” gave me a 4.96 out of 5. Not bad.

And very happily, not one student strongly disagreed with the statement.  So over the course of my career here I’ve still only had 2 students do so.  That comes out to 0.28% of my students. I don’t have anything to compare that to, but it strikes me as a pretty decent rate.

The raw numerical data is probably what tends to get noticed by an administration, of course, but some of the written comments were fantastic. My favorites:

From my Tolkien course:

  • “Best class I’ve ever had.” [Except for the next one of mine you take!]
  • “Very enthusiastic and makes this course extremely interesting. He makes you WANT to come to class.” [I love that all-caps there!]
  • “He is the shit.” [In the parlance of our times I understand this to be a good thing, not a bad thing.]

From the Viking class (the harder-to-please Honors students):

  • “It was a clinic in badassery.” [Because it was about Vikings, you see.]
  • “Awesome professor. Easily one of the best + most enthusiastic in the school.” [From an Honors student this is high praise indeed. Very gratifying.]
  • “He is smart, clever, and challenged me to think.” [I swoon just reading that last bit: I challenged thinking!]

All in all, it’s a relief.

And now that the semester has begun, I can only hope to do so well with this crop!

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