Teaching Evaluations should be Abolished
Inaugural Council Chamber Debate - Thursday 14 December 2006
Chair: Professor D. Gareth Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International)
Timekeeper: Chris Stoddart, Quality Advancement Unit
Professor Mark Henaghan, Law
Professor Nicola Peart, Law
Associate Professor Lyall Hanton, Chemistry
Dan Connor, OUSA
Dr Lesley Procter, Anthropology
Profesor Thomas Rades, Pharmacy
The debate was organised by the Higher Education Development Centre and the Quality Advancement Unit. The affirmative team defined teaching evaluations as the current teaching evaluations used at Otago, and suggested that these were unreliable and open to manipulation, that students could not always be trusted to provide serious feedback, that they focused too much on teaching and not enough on learning, that they promoted a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching, and that there are better ways of measuring teaching effectiveness. The negative team argued for the value of evalutions from the standpoint of students, staff and the institution, while rejecting the criticism of the current system offered by the affirmative team.
The negative team triumphed by a small margin.
A discussion with comments and questions from the floor followed the debate.