A Bad Student Evaluations Hall of Fame
posted by Dave Hoffman
Eugene Volokh has a good post up about whether students have a privacy interest in evaluations they give to professors at the end of the semester. It is a response to the University of Georgia’s disciplining of a student who wrote “”[Professor X] is a complete asshole. I hope he chokes on a dick, gets AIDS and dies. To hell with all gay teachers who are terrible with their jobs and try to fail students!” in response to the prompt “What aspects of the course could use improvement or change?”
Now the first-amendment and privacy law implications of disciplining the student are outside of my area of expertise. [Given that disclaimer, unlike Eugene I think a reasonable person reading the comment would think it was an implicit threat of physical harm.] But the post does prompt me to put up a project I’ve been thinking about for a while: a hall of fame for bad student evaluations. The idea is for you folks (commentators!) to give examples of the most ridiculous, funny, and insightful negative evaluations you’ve gotten in courses you’ve taught. Why? Because student evaluations are a form of creative writing. If we’re going to notice and reward exam questions and answers, why not this, the only other form of creative writing from law students we read?
Anonymous submissions will be encouraged – indeed, I’ll likely be policing the comments in case students take the opportunity to continue vendettas against professors who they disliked. Ignore and avoid passing along the personally nasty, uninteresting, comments – like the Georgia student – and just use the ones that demonstrate that someone thought about the problems of the class as they saw them.