Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.
• ‘Tis the season, not just for holiday tidings, but also for teacher evaluations. And, according to a Des Moines Register article, about one-third of students were found to have lied while filling one out. (found via Inside Higher Ed)
That’s important, because the evaluations factor into tenure and promotion decisions. And — as the research from the University of Northern Iowa shows — students occasionally lie in favor of professors they like, but more often, they say professors they didn’t like were worse than they actually were.
I’ve often wondered how seriously professors themselves take these things, especially after tenure is granted. One of the things I remember most about interviewing the late KU economics professor Harry Shaffer after he retired was when he took me to a desk in his home and pulled out a big stack of teacher evaluations. We sat at his coffee table, and read a bunch of them, both positive and negative, from across his career. I put some of the best ones in the story.
Is there anyone out there like Harry, who saves these things? Why? Feel free to share a few student comments if you’d like (no need to use your name, of course), or just offer a few general thoughts on the whole process. I can’t imagine the problem of students lying on the forms is unique to Iowa.
Comment below or e-mail me, and if I get good stuff, I’ll see if I can include some responses in an upcoming post.
• I’ve read enough filings from lawsuits alleging workplace discrimination to know that it’s hard to know what the truth is while only hearing one side of things. In fact, it’s usually hard after you hear all sides, too.
I don’t envy the jobs of the attorneys and judges who have to sort these things out.
That’s largely because of passages like this one, which I found while reading the discrimination suit being filed by former KU IT administrator Dilawar Grewal. I’m sure everyone immediately dove into the court documents right after reading fellow cube mate George Diepenbrock’s story. But for those of you who didn’t, I present the following from Grewal’s allegations against KU.
To set the scene, Grewal is referring to a meeting with KU administrators leading up to his eventual dismissal.
I’m just going to pass this along without any other comment:
“[Grewal] was told there had been 'complaints' by employees about his 'menacing looks,' and that some employees were frightened to the point of developing 'eating disorders' because they had to work with someone who 'looked like a terrorist.'"
KU officials have called Grewal’s claims “unfounded,” and, again, I’m glad I’m not the one who has to sort all that out.
• KU’s website placed 21st in the country (and second in the Big 12 Conference) for its accessibility for students who are blind.
Jon Gunderson, coordinator of assistive communication and information-technology accessibility at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, reviewed sites at 183 institutions and ranked them on several different criteria.
KU scored well overall, but its lowest ranking was for how it formatted information tables on the site. It got highest marks for its overall website design. More information is available from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
• A quick welcome to Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham, who appears ready to step into the AD's office at KU.
Like any plugged-in job searcher these days, it looks like Cunningham has a LinkedIn profile. The profile isn't very complete, and he only lists one person he's connected to, and I don't have a premium account, so I can't see who the connection is. It must have been a doozie.
• I heard that there was a fellow in and around the Kansas Union Tuesday with a piece of cardboard offering “Free Hugs.” Makes me wonder if he was affiliated with this campaign, or just trying to help others overcome some finals week stress. Anybody spot him?
• I only give hugs to people who e-mail me tips for Heard on the Hill. Once you send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, we can set something up.