Culling the Iowa Faculty

Of all the bad ideas from those attacking higher education this one has to be one of the stupidest! In Iowa a bill was proposed to evaluate a professor’s teaching performance based on student evaluations and “If a professor fails to attain a minimum threshold of performance based on the student evaluations used to assess the professor’s teaching effectiveness, in accordance with the criteria and rating system adopted by the board, the institution shall terminate the professor’s employment regardless of tenure status or contract. ” And “The names of the five professors who rank lowest on their institution’s evaluation for the semester, but who scored above the minimum threshold of performance, shall be published on the institution’s internet site and the student body shall be offered an opportunity to vote on the question of whether any of the five professors will be retained as employees of the institution. The employment of the professor receiving the fewest votes approving retention shall be terminated by the institution regardless of tenure status or contract.”
These people obviously know nothing about teaching or, more importantly, the relationship between teaching quality and student evaluations. Teaching evaluations often reflect the likability of the teacher and whether or not the student enjoyed the class (either because they liked the subject or because it was easy). The easiest way to improve your course evaluations is by making the course easy. I can just see it now. If this was implemented it would be a race to the bottom as professors worried more about making their students happy, rather than educating them! Yikes!

ACADEME BLOG

This proposed bill in the Iowa legislature reaches far past the abilities of my ‘word horde’: Senate File 64 – Introduced

SENATE FILE 64

BY CHELGREN

A BILL FOR An Act relating to the teaching effectiveness and employment of professors employed by institutions of higher learning under the control of the state board of regents.

 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:

Section 1. Section 262.9, subsection 25, Code 2015, is amended to read as follows:

a. Require that any professor employed by an institution of higher learning under the control of the board teach at least one course offered for academic credit per semester. (1) Collaborate with the institutions of higher learning under the board’s control to develop and adopt the criteria and a rating system the institutions shall use to establish specific performance goals for professors and to evaluate the performance of each…

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