Rate My Professors – Helpful Tool or Useless Toy?

“Unclear, difficult, frustrating, depressing, deceitful and terrible.”

It sounds like a negative review for a new film or novel, but this kind of feedback is arguably much more important: it’s for a professor, whose skill and teaching style could directly impact your education.

Each semester, students are faced with the unknown when they begin a class with a professor they’ve never had. Rate My Professors is a website that wants to help solve that issue.

Calling itself “the best college professor reviews and ratings source based on student feedback,” Rate My Professors allows students to give the grades for a change. The website has an impressive amount of information, too, with over 19 million reviews for 1.7 million professors.

Rate My Professors is simple enough for students to use. Students can search by school name or professor name, and it’s easy to leave a comment for one or both.

With over 200 reviews, UMKC’s overall “quality rating” is 3.4. According to the website, the worst aspects of UMKC are the food and social scene. The best? Campus location and university reputation.

Students who want to rate a professor need only go to the website and search for the instructor they want to review.

Creating an account isn’t mandatory, and all reviews are completely anonymous—but don’t think that you can get away with anything. Rate My Professor’s guidelines prohibit students from using profanity or slander, and administrators regularly delete reviews that seem false or biased.

When rating a professor, students can select up to three “tags” that best describe their teacher, including “tough grader,” “respected,” “test-heavy,” “inspirational,” and more. A more detailed, personal message is optional. Finally, users are asked to reveal the grade they received in the class before posting a review.

Although Rate My Professors sounds like a useful tool, its reputation isn’t all good. In June, the website removed its “hotness” score after teachers across the country waged a social media campaign against it. Some professors claim that the most attractive teachers receive the highest ratings, while others view Rate My Professor as a place for students to air all of their frustrations.

In total, there are only two professors at UMKC with a 5.0 rating. Dr. Stephanie Marquez, who teaches Spanish, is one of them.

“Dr. Marquez is by far one of the best professors I have ever had! It is very obvious that she is passionate about what she does,” one student writes. “It’s clear that she cares about her students.”

The second UMKC professor with a 5.0 rating is Dr. Shawn Zembles.

“Professor Zembles’ classes were some of my favorite classes in the [nursing] program,” writes a student. “I felt like my success as a student was his priority.”

While Rate My Professors may not be the most credible source of information about that teacher you’ve never heard of, it does seem like a good place to start. Students across the country have taken advantage of this site, which places the power back in the hands of the pupils.

 

skayt7@mail.umkc.edu

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