OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Saturday, December 28

#5627

QUESTION: How do you email a prof and say "I think you should try to be better at your job" or "I think your teaching this term was not your best work" nicely?

6 comments

  1. Through the prof evaluations. Telling a professor that without anonymity will not serve you well.

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    1. This. Exactly this. It's not just the profs that see this -- their department chair reads them too. The course evals also play into bonuses and who gets tenure/hired for another year/let go.

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  2. You don't.. Unless it's through course evaluations, or you're well through University, and no harm can come about to you from doing so.

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  3. Never say this to a prof unless anonymous. My mom tells me about how all the faculty in her department will warn each other of problem students. For example, when a student goes to my mom saying that they should be given free marks because they pay tuition (happens more often than you would think) she will tell the prof teaching the next level of that topic to watch out for that student. All unofficial of course, and they don't talk specifics in most cases, just a general heads up.

    Basically, faculty talk, you won't get any masters positions at UW if you go around telling profs they are horrible, or causing trouble. And none of them will give you a recommendation for another university.

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    Replies
    1. You describe a different situation. Asking for free marks is idiocy and should be punished. Giving constructive feedback to a prof. should be encouraged.

      It does depends on the prof though. I've given feedback in 1-1s with profs but they knew who I was and that I liked their course so there was no negativity. I simply shared some observations I made in class and suggested a somewhat different presentation model.
      If you think your prof will be OK with it just send a polite letter and explain everything.
      If you think they will be unreasonable and try to cause trouble for you, submit a letter anonymously.

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  4. Don't say they're doing a bad job- be specific and just say what they can improve

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