All Posts Tagged With: "Jim McCarter"
Prof. Pettigrew: student evaluations won’t help
A recent report from the Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter has got people talking about student teaching evaluations again. Hoo boy.
McCarter is concerned that evidence of teaching ability is not being taken into account when it comes to granting tenure and promotion to faculty. It’s a legitimate concern in theory. The problem is that this report takes student evaluations as a key method by which quality teaching should be measured. That’s trouble.
As the report rightly points out, the research on the usefulness of student evaluations is a subject of much disagreement. In fact, it’s actually even more hotly contested than the AG’s report admits. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) insists, for instance, that such surveys cannot be taken as a measure of teaching effectiveness.
CAUT may be trying to protect the jobs of its members. Still, student evaluations, from the outset suffer from a basic flaw which is that they often fail to meet a very basic standard for any evaluation. That is, an evaluator should be qualified to evaluate. More specifically, the evaluator should be an expert on the subject, should be motivated to take the evaluation seriously, and should be a disinterested third party.
Former health minister in the spotlight again
Former Ontario deputy premier and failed Toronto mayoralty candidate George Smitherman made $158,833.32 as a “special adviser” to the president of Ryerson University last year, reports the Toronto Star. Adam Kahan, a Ryerson vice-president, told the newspaper that Smitherman’s work included introducing university officials to “senior decision makers in various industries.”
Smitherman, the Liberal Minister of Health from 2003 to 2008, became well-known after dogged criticism of his management of eHealth Ontario. Auditor General Jim McCarter said in 2009 that the province had wasted $1-billion on the eHealth agency over the previous decade. When the report was released, the leaders of both opposition parties asked for Smitherman’s resignation.