TFs May Face Evaluations

Student Reviews of Troubled Teachers May Be Required

Teaching fellows and teaching assistants who receive poor ratings from the CUE Guide may be subjected to mandatory student evaluations of their performance. Dean for Undergraduate Education Lawrence Buell said at a meeting of the Committee on Undergraduate Education.

A proposal to require evaluation of "troubled" teaching fellows will be presented at next month's meeting of the committee, Buell said.

Under the current system of voluntary evaluation, teaching fellows who are given poor marks on CUE questionnaires receive letters from Buell urging them to find advice on teaching, he said.

This approach has definite problems with it, Buell said.

"With a voluntary system, it's entirely possible for troubled TFs to go their own way after an unfavorable evaluation, "Buell said. "And if their teaching is in a course where they aren't evaluated, we have no way of tracking their future careers."


Currently, because CUE reviews are optional, teaching fellows who receive poor reviews for a course can teach other classes in the future and bypass further CUE reviews. Professors decide whether their courses will have CUE evaluations.

"The proposal I would like to make is that it should become mandatory that a TF in trouble have his or her sections evaluated, no questions asked, "Buell said.

The student members of the committee reacted favorably to the proposal.

I think it's a wonderful ideas," said Brad W. Setser '93. "It provides strong incentives for TF's who do poorly to seek out help. I believe it will increase the quality of sections."

Many students are afraid to criticize section teaching, said Brandon C. Gregoire '95, but this new proposal would offer students a way of being able to evaluate teaching fellows candidly.

Buell did not offer a definite date for possible implementation of the new proposal.

Other Business

In other business, the committee briefly discussed proposals to change the academic calendar so that the year will start earlier and the first semester will end at winter break.

Buell expressed some doubt, however, as to whether this proposal will carry through.

"If the students and faculty support a change in the Calendar, I will support it also. But last time there was a referendum on this, opinion was divided, "Buell said