Volume 95, Issue 73

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

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"Excitement can only spread"

Website rates profs

Jimmy Flaherty cases Western for voters

Drunkards steal squash trophy

Lobby groups lack self-esteem, bicker for friends

Website rates profs

Dr. Mike deemed "sexy"

By Daren Lin
Gazette Staff

A growing website allows university students to rate their professors on integral qualities like helpfulness, clarity and sexiness.

RateMyProfessors.ca lets university students rank their professors and comment on their teaching, said website administrator John Swapceinski. The site has been up since 1999 and now boasts over 85,000 ratings from over 1,300 schools from across the United States and Canada, he added.

The site offers reviews of a number of Western professors.

One comment about psychology professor Mike Atkinson reads, "Made me want to pursue psych. He's kind of like a movie star on campus."

Another said, "A great prof with great hair."

"That doesn't bother me I'm glad somebody likes the hair," Atkinson said when informed of the comment.

Professors can also be ranked on a scale of one to five in three categories: easiness, helpfulness and clarity, Swapceinski added. While he acknowledges the easiness category causes a lot of controversy, he feels it has merit.

"There are some classes, like electives, that people might have very little interest in, but they need to fulfill a requirement," Swapceinski said.

While the existing instructor evaluations at Western do not have an easiness rating, vice-provost and registrar Roma Harris said the Western evaluations do allow students to state what grade they think they will get in the course that in turn can be used by students to figure out what courses to take.

Unlike the RateMyProfessors.ca site, the Western evaluations play an administrative role, Harris said. "They play very heavily in the tenure process and the annual performance ratings for professors."

Swapceinski said the site also has a sexiness category a good-looking professor would get a red chili pepper next to his or her name.

Atkinson was lucky enough to receive one such chili pepper.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002