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Harvard Law School Student Government Works to Improve Course Evaluation Site

Harvard Law School Student Government is the body which advocates on behalf of HLS students for improvements and policy changes.
Harvard Law School Student Government is the body which advocates on behalf of HLS students for improvements and policy changes. By Naomi S. Castellon-Perez
By Michelle G. Kurilla, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard Law School Student Government Co-Presidents Princess Daisy M. A. Akita ’15 and Daniel M. Egel-Weiss are working with University officials to change the Law School’s current course evaluation to make it more similar to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Q Guide.

The Law School’s current evaluation system is heavily quantitative and exclusively asks students questions that they can answer on ranking scales. Akita and Engel-Weiss said they are hoping to redesign the evaluations to better meet the needs of law students.

“We have very few helpful questions,” Akita said. “We have a question like ‘How many hours do you spend on the class?’ But obviously, it’s always a wide range.”

FAS’s Q Guide, however, asks students to answer qualitative questions and provide open-ended feedback to their course heads. Students are asked to share the number of hours spent on the class and the amount of money spent on course materials. They also have the ability to rank their professor’s timeliness in handing back assignments and to rank their section.

At the end of the FAS Q Guide evaluation, students can write a paragraph about what they wish to tell future students about the class. The information is then posted to a website that is accessible alongside course listings.

Akita and Egel-Weiss said they are most interested in changing the Law School’s system to include a qualitative option for students to write a paragraph describing their experiences in a course. They said they want to provide an option for students to be able to share their experiences with individual professors’ styles of class participation.

“It’s very frustrating not to be able to have a qualitative list of reasons — why to take the course, why not to take the course,” Egel-Weiss said.

Akita and Egel-Weiss said they hope to have the change in place before they graduate.

“This is a fight we’re going to keep pushing on,” Akita said. “My personal timeline for getting this done is to at least get it up before we are no longer here. So that’s like a ticking time bomb of May 2020.”

Correction: Oct. 12, 2019

A previous version of this story misspelled Daniel M. Egel-Weiss's name.

—Michelle G. Kurilla can be reached at michelle.kurilla@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @MichelleKurilla.

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