What is a Professor Review?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 01 January 2019
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A professor review is a review of a professor's job performance. There are a number of contexts in which a professor review may occur, ranging from a professional job evaluation conducted during a tenure application, to an informal review on a website from a student who has taken a course with the professor. Professor reviews are used as tools to monitor performance and progress, and to provide professors with positive and productive feedback to help them be better instructors.

Many colleges and universities conduct periodic reviews of their staff to make sure that they have the most current information about job performance. These reviews can include a performance evaluation meeting with members of the professor's department, and sometimes someone will sit in on a few classes to see how students respond to the professor, and to get a feel for the professor's teaching style. For professors who have not earned tenure, these reviews are very important, as the outcome can determine whether or not the professor will be considered for tenure.


Professor reviews in the form of student evaluations are also extremely common. Evaluations may be given out to students once or twice a semester to fill out. They commonly include some basic multiple choice rating questions, such as “Would you take another class with this professor?” and “Did you feel that this professor adequately covered the material?” The professor review may also include a section for handwritten comments, in which students may leave notes about how the professor can improve. Results and typed versions of the notes are turned over the professor after the grading period is over.

Online professor review sites gather reviews from thousands of students and publish public ratings and feedback information. These sites can be used by students to rate and review their professors, and to look for professors they might enjoy taking classes from in the future. Whether a student has a choice of professors for a required section or is looking for some fun electives, such websites can be very useful. Some professors also like to read their reviews to identify areas of potential improvement.

There are some problems with online professor review websites, and some members of the education profession are opposed to them. Students do not have very much accountability on such sites, and a professor could get bad reviews for grading harshly, but fairly, for example. Students might also turn an interpersonal conflict with a professor into a poor ratings vendetta. People looking at the site may not be aware of the history behind the person writing the review, and could get the wrong impression based on the words of spiteful or frustrated students.



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