Professors respond to 'Rate my Professor' reviews

University of Alabama professors read their own reviews from the website ratemyprofessor.com.

For University of Alabama students and college students across the country, the website Rate my Professor is used as tool for choosing the perfect class. Students have the ability to access the information about professors online and use it to decide whether or not they should take the class. But what do UA professors have to say about this site?

John Beeler, professor of history, was selected by Princeton Review and named one of the “Best 300 Professors in the Country” in 2012. Beeler said Princeton Review used rankings on Rate My Professor to choose these top professors.

“I believe that the fact I don’t take attendance and I send students notes who miss class has something to do with my high reviews on Rate my Professor,” Beeler said.

Although Beeler said it might be great to have high reviews, he said he would like to be reviewed on his teaching style and what students thought of the class rather than how easy it might be to pass his class.

“Sometimes there are those occasional comments about how I changed a student's opinion about history and how I am one of their favorite professors, and that’s what I like to see,” Beeler said, “Unfortunately Rate my Professor worries more about how I dress and how easy my class is rather than how I have influenced the lives of many students.”

Dianne Bragg, professor of journalism, said a lot of high rankings are based on how easy the class is, but, she said, a 400-level mass communications class won't always be easy.

“I have seen a lot of comments that my class is hard, you need to study and that you have to come to class, and, ironically, I love to see that, because yes, my class is hard, you do have to come to class to succeed and you are in college, so I don’t expect anything less,” Bragg said.

Although she said she finds herself looking at Rate My Professor occasionally, Bragg said she finds that the Student Opinion Surveys are a more efficient way of finding out what students truly think about her class.

“Anyone can go on Rate my Professor and write a comment, but with these end-of-the-semester surveys professors have a better opportunity to get a true evaluation of their class,” Bragg said.

Douglas Klutz, professor of criminal justice, said he used to use Rate my Professor when he was an undergraduate.

“Back in college, I used Rate my Professor all the time,” Klutz said, “ [Rate My Professor] is a great tool for students to use when it comes time to scheduling classes.”

Klutz said that although he doesn't use the website as often as he used to, he is glad to see that the website is still running and aiding students through their class selection process.

“When looking back at my comments on the site, I am just really pleased as a professor to be making an impact on so many students lives,” Klutz said.

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