Students rate professors online

By Lauren Reilly
October 30, 2003

Cecelia Francisco

“He is hotter than me. I gave him the rating,” Dr. Jim Hedtke, political science chair and history professor, said as he looked at his colleague’s hotness score. “A four? It should be higher than that,” Dr. Jolyon Girard, history department chair, said. Girard may be better known as ‘eye candy’ by one of his students on Rate my Professor is a website that offers a public review of university professors across the United States and Canada. Since its debut in 1999, the site has accumulated over 240,000 ratings for professors of about 3,400 schools, with thousands of new postings a day. Currently, Cabrini has 64 professors ready to be critiqued by their students.

Students can create additional postings for existing professors and even add on teachers that are not already on the list. This can be done free of charge; however, the site only posts the ten most recent ratings and in order to gain access to additional ones, you must become a gold member, which will cost you $6.95 a year. Is it worth the extra money? As the website states, “you spend a tremendous amount of time and money on your college education. Isn’t worth a few dollars more to get the most out of it?” Girard thinks that this option is most likely utilized by “the interested student, the insecure professor, or the curious administration.”

Teachers are judged on easiness, helpfulness, clarity and hotness. The site also provides the number of ratings a professor has along with an overall quality score. All of the categories are scored out of five except for hotness, which is scored out of 10. All of the ratings are supposed to be reviewed before they are posted, but that does not ensure that they will be constructive, in fact, the site reports that only 65 percent of the comments are positive. Sorry professors, but you’ll have to think again if you want to sue the Web site. Section 230 of the constitution allows the hosting of others opinions without being held accountable for defamation/libel.

The purpose of the site is for students to see what others think of the teachers at their school. Students can then use the information when deciding whether or not to take a class with that particular professor.

“I agree with what I’ve been reading and a lot of these comments are true,” Christina Shelley, a Biotechnology major, said. Shelley said that she would consider using this site as a reference when scheduling her classes. Shelley is not alone, many Cabrini students view the site as being helpful. “I never knew they had anything like this. I think it could be useful to most people,” Lou DeFrancesco, a junior and Internet computing major, said.

There are many students who disagree. “It’s like one of those ‘Am I hot’ sites. It’s just people’s opinions and that isn’t credible,” Joe Bradley, a junior graphic design major, said. Girard and Hedtke point out that many of the teachers that have negative reviews on the site receive better ratings from the course evaluation forms that all students fill out at the end of each semester. “There are better ways for students to assess their professors,” Girard said.

Some teachers actually find the site to be useful because it can help them improve their teaching style. Hedtke feels that the site can be good for students who have trouble communicating their appreciation for a professor in class. Hedtke also believes that it “may be a good release for a students’ frustrations.” has stirred up quite a bit of controversy in many institutions across the country. Recently,, the site for high school students, has been blocked by as many as 500 school districts in the United States. The Student Press Law Center reports that districts have prohibited the use of this site from school computers not due to free speech issues, but because the administration does not want the “students using computers inappropriately during school hours.”

Should students consider this site valid? “Not really. They are listings of opinions and should be judged as such,” admits the site. Basically, it is the decision of the reader whether or not to find the statements plausible, but in all seriousness, who does not find Dr. Jerry Zurek, English/communications department chair, “drop dead sexy?”

Posted to the web by: Cecelia Francisco

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Lauren Reilly

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