Well, I guess my record is going to be there, but I have no clue how to find it yet. Not sure what they are going to rank me on during my first semester. I’m going to guess I won’t make an appearance there until next year.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. As I still don’t completely understand how these rankings are made, it’s tough to comment. However, I can say that I’m not too enthusiastic about the idea of a university ranking its professors. Actually, I’m not really into rankings in general. I don’t see them as useful.
The stated purpose of this policy is to provide prospective students with information on the quality of professors at the university, which currently seems to only be available with student/staff ID and login, so I’m not sure how prospective students will access it. I can see how one would be tempted to rank faculty for this purpose, but what does ranking really tell us? It tells us only how these professors ranked (on yet unknown criteria) against other professors at the school. The only reason I can see to do this is to increase competition and to shame non-performers into action. And this, in the end, is not going to increase overall quality.
What this type of ranking system will do is encourage professors to play to the numbers. Student evaluations low? Give less homework. Need more publications? Push out low-quality research to boost your numbers? This reminds me of the overall education system, geared towards ever-better test scores. Quality be damned, just get a good score. When the tail wags the dog, we should all be scared.
What I would like to see is not a ranking system, but simply a public reporting on professor performance in the same areas that they measure for the rankings. In my opinion, that would be much better. Let people determine for themselves the overall quality of the faculty. This method would also allow people to better compare faculties between schools. A ranking within a school, does allow for this.
In the end, this post may be all wrong. Like I said, I haven’t seen the rankings and I don’t know for sure how they are calculated and presented. However, any use of rankings is not only an affront to academic professionals, it is a cold, meaningless measure of a professors worth.