Posted by: crudbasher | July 19, 2011

More On Reputation in the Classroom

I wrote a post last month where I spoke about how the new generation of students have different ways of assigning worth and status to people. I speculated that they wouldn’t be as impressed if their teacher had a Ph.D as generations in the past because they have different experiences such as in video games. Their ways of measuring success and worth are different now.

I came across this interesting survey done at a University. The question asked in the survey was what do college students find most important in their professors.

I don’t have any more details unfortunately, all I managed to find was this chart. If it’s true, it does tend to confirm my earlier argument. Does anyone have any details on the survey itself?



  1. Andrew, this is interesting. Funny thing, to me this survey confirms that the things that matter most DON’T change. Go all the way back to Socrates, or Jesus for that matter, and what shines in exceptional instruction ability. One of the things I constantly remind proponents of online learning is that the face-to-face classroom still is and ALWAYS WILL BE the most dynamic learning environment. Students regard skill in the classroom as more than twice as important than digital wizardry. Do the attitudes of administrations reflect the same priorities? I don’t think so. We shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

    • Hey Gregg, you bring up a really good point. It seems evident that many administrators would rather fund technology for the classroom rather than faculty development to improve pedagogy skills. Perhaps that is because the return on Investment is more easily quantifiable? I read stories all the time about new high tech classroom that sit empty because there was no thought about how they were to function and how to use them.

      I do completely agree that face to face CAN BE the most dynamic way to learn, but I think often times it isn’t. I had a history teacher in high school who just wrote his notes on the chalk board and we copied them down as he did it. So for more than 30 minutes at a time, there was no talking or interaction at all. Such a waste.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, you always add great stuff to the discussion! šŸ™‚

  2. Now compare this to the fact that Finland, one of the best countries in the world at educating their children, requires teachers to have a master’s degree in the subject they want to teach. Yet, that ranks way down near last. So this again has more to do with student attitudes, rather than actual ability. I don’t care how exceptional a teacher’s ability may be. If they don’t know the material, then they probably won’t make a good teacher. Well, up to a certain degree of quality. However, I also know that people who have PhDs don’t always make good teachers.

    • I wonder how much of Finland’s success is due to cultural value placed on education? I feel that it’s “uncool” sometimes to learn in the US.

  3. I would like to know whether “exceptional instructional ability” was defined for survey participants or if each respondent was allowed to decide for him/herself what that meant. A lot of students think “exceptional instructional ability” means “the teacher entertains me” and some think it means “learning takes place in the teacher’s classroom.” There’s a huge difference between the two.

    “Accessible to students” has a similar problem. Do they mean that the professor likes to chat after class, or do they mean that the professor has exceptional out-of-class availability to help give students the extra help they need to succeed?

    Having “Diverse” at 45% implies the expected political divide (although there may be other explanations); left-of-center students would name it as important and right-of-center students wouldn’t. The number for this category would have to deviate pretty far from the 50% mark to be meaningful.

    “Practical real-word experience” would need to be divided up among different majors to have any meaning. How many of the 43% were in business school or another preprofessional program? How would this rubric be relevant for philosophy professors?

    Long story short: there’s not a whole lot of specific information in the upper end of the chart when you look at it closely.

    • Hey Lou I was hoping you were going to chime in. Welcome back!

      I agree that some of the categories are somewhat subjective. Without more info on the study, it’s hard to draw conclusions about some of these responses. I also thought the exact same thing you did when I saw the Diverse line. That’s the number I would expect definitely.

      The reason I used this chart however was because of how low the Degree Achieved question rated. Did you have any thoughts on that?

  4. Actually, yes.

    I think that number suffers from the same problem as “real-world experience.” In preprofessional programs, “highest degree in field” will often be seen as relatively meaningless. The same goes for a lot of basic courses like French 101. Students in the senior seminar for history majors might have a different take on their professors’ highest degree.

    It just feels like there are too many course types being thrown in together for the number to have much meaning. And since the proportion of degrees being awarded in preprofessional programs (compared to liberal arts fields) has shifted so dramatically in the past couple of decades, seeing that number change over time isn’t going to mean much unless the survey responses are broken up by major.

    • Well you have a good point Lou. You really can’t draw any hard conclusions from just one graph without any context. That’s why I was looking for the original survey.

      It doesn’t prove my original thesis I don’t think, neither does it disprove it. Thanks again for contributing to the discussion!

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