How about Assessing professors!!
Last week we talked about how we as professors assess our students and gauge how much knowledge they acquired from our courses. An important question here arises. How professors are being assessed themselves?
Probably the most widely known method of evaluating university professors these days is this survey given to the students at the end of each semester to evaluate their instructors. While I believe this to be an effective way of evaluating whether the instructor has achieved the aspirations of his students in making them understand the content, I think other evaluation methods should be available to have a more complete picture. What about monitoring instructors? The department can hire an evaluation committee composed of 3-5 faculty members who are selected anonymously. A new committee should be hired each academic year and each faculty could only participate in this committee once every 3-5 years so that all the faculty members in the department can take their turn and join the committee. A camera should be installed in each classroom and each instructor should sign a consent form that he is agreeing to be monitored. Only 4 or 5 lectures are randomly recorded and selected to be used in the evaluation, but the instructor doesn’t know which lectures are being recorded. This selection strategy is to ensure that the faculty members in the evaluation committee are not overwhelmed as they have their own research and teaching responsibilities. The evaluation should be fair and any conflict of interest (i.e. one professor from the committee is working on a project with an instructor) should be clearly reported to the department. While reviewing the recorded lectures, the evaluation committee should evaluate the instructor according to how he treats his students, the effort he exerts in making his students understand the content he is trying to convey, whether his knowledge is up to date, and other factors that the department feels necessary. Finally, the committee should submit an evaluation report to the department for each instructor. I know this may have some ethical problems but I think it may be one of the additional ways that can be used beside student surveys.