NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ897936
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2946
MacDonald, Gail Braccidiferro
Academe, v96 n4 p40-42 Jul-Aug 2010
What qualities are the essence of a top-notch university professor? "Enthusiastic." "Fun." "Interesting." "Cares about students." These attributes are listed in student reviews of America's number one professor for 2009, as determined by the Web site Other students made these comments about the same instructor: "Very easy A," "Class can be boring," and "Open book quizzes." The site, which has just released a free iPhone application, gave this professor its top honors based on 123 reviews, including a handful that appeared to be exact duplicates. The number two slot went to a professor about whom one student wrote, "I didn't learn a thing, that class was the worst." This article discusses the nebulous and sometimes contradictory nature of professor-rating Web sites. Since about a decade ago, when such sites became the Internet version of the time-honored student-to-student advice grapevine, some faculty members have worried about their implications, others have chuckled at their absurdities and shallowness, and still others have sought revenge in video rants on YouTube or mtvU's "Professors Strike Back," also viewable at At least one of these sites,, an offshoot of the now defunct site, has transformed itself from a vehicle for student gushing or venting to an extensive database of college-planning information. Other sites have popped up to provide similar services focused on individual institutions. As online evaluations thrive, colleges and universities are relying more heavily on nontenured, short-term, graduate student, and part-time instructors. They also are giving more serious consideration to student evaluations of teaching, particularly those that use internally produced evaluation forms, when making decisions about hiring, teaching assignments, and promotions.
American Association of University Professors. 1012 Fourteenth Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 800-424-2973; Tel: 202-737-5900; Fax: 202-737-5526; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A