RateMyprofessors.com: mixed reception from campus community

Rebecca Jordan

Staff Writer

“Even if we didn’t like RateMyProfessors.com, it’s not going away because it has basically taken on a life of its own,” said Gregory Sausville, professor of history.

Students at Hudson Valley use the website to varying degrees and sometimes rely on RateMyProfessors for input in putting together their course schedule. “Before every semester, I live on [RateMyProfessors]. You need it. It’s literally the only way I’ll choose a teacher,” said Erick Sarrion, biological sciences student.

On RateMyProfessors, students are asked to give instructors a ranking from one to five in several different categories such as clarity, helpfulness, easiness and the amount of interest students had prior to attending the class. A professor’s overall rating only takes into account clarity and helpfulness, equally weighting each of the scores for both.

Students can also rate their schools as well as their teachers. Universities are rated based on separate categories, including reputation, happiness, and opportunity. Based on 102 ratings by Hudson Valley students, the college has earned a 3.7 overall quality rating.

Hudson Valley has an average professor rating of 3.76 out of 5. Forensics professor Carla Gunderman attributes her 4.9 rating to her love of teaching. “I adore my students, and I hope they get as much enthusiasm from the topics that we talk about that I do when I teach them,” she said.

The highest rating of any teacher at Hudson Valley goes to Linda Scoville, a part-time English professor. Students have given her the most ratings, 26 within the perfect score range of 5.0.

While Scoville believes RateMyProfessors is generally a good tool for students, she also considers the site  not a top resource for professor evaluation. “I’m certainly not teaching for RateMyProfessors.com; that’s not what’s on my mind as I’m teaching. I focus on the individual [students], and I’m not thinking of ‘what’s my rating going to be.’”

“People that go and use it either are extremely positive about the professor or extremely negative,” said Jake Zembruzuski, liberal arts student. “If you’re going out of the way to review on there, you’re going to be in one extreme camp or the other.”

“Some of them are helpful, the bad feedback you get and some of it is just mean and the good stuff, some of it’s too glowing. It’s like, wow, I walk on water,” said Sausville, who has 124 ratings – the most of any Hudson Valley professor. “Depending on which ones you read, you either want to shoot yourself or your head gets giant,” he said.

RateMyProfessors.com has become popular with students from across the globe. The site boasts information on 1.4 million professors from 7,000 schools in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom and more than 16 million ratings.

Individual Studies student Alex Lemos takes a more reserved approach to RateMyProfessors. “I think you have to take everything with a grain of salt when it comes to the site,” he said.

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