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SRTEs: They’re Actually A Big Deal

It’s that time of year again: SRTE season. Which means that your professors have been hounding you to find time between the chaos of group projects, term papers, and cramming for finals to fill out an evaluation about their performance as instructors.

Chances are that you’re one of many students who either doesn’t bother to fill this form out, who completes it hastily without putting thought into your answers, or who writes a bunch of angry bullshit because you think your professor is an asshole for having the audacity to assign you so much freaking work in a course that it’s clear you’d prefer to skip or sleep through. I, like many of you, have spent my time at Penn State so far thinking that these practices were normal and perfectly acceptable, because who gives a shit about SRTEs, amiright?

Nope, I’m not right. SRTEs are actually a big deal, apparently. The reason that all of your professors are annoying you about filling out these surveys is because they can play a big role in the careers of instructors.

Sure, they tell you that it’s because your evaluation of course material will be crucial in improving the course in years to come, and that’s true.

“The result of the surveys, particularly the written comments made by students in a class, form a basis for making changes the next time the course is taught,” said Penn State spokesperson Lisa Powers. “Students should take this opportunity to express themselves and play a meaningful role in their own education and in the education of others.”

However, beyond improving the course for generations to come, students should know that their SRTE responses can also affect their professor’s position at Penn State, as well as their income.

“SRTE scores for all courses taught by a faculty member, along with peer evaluations of teaching, are a primary consideration in promotion and tenure decisions,” said Powers. “They are also used in annual performance reviews and determination of salary increases.”

So the next time you sit down to fill out an SRTE for a professor, remember that the responses you provide could potentially cost your instructor a salary increase or a promotion — then if you still want to rip them to shreds for assigning you a group project during the last week of classes, by all means, bitch away.

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About the Author

Alicia Thomas

Alicia is a senior with majors in Print Journalism and Spanish and a minor in International Studies. Chances are that she's somewhere talking about her semester abroad or ranting about sexual assault prevention right now. She can be reached via Twitter (@aliciarthomas) or email ([email protected]).

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