Grebner's latest 'Grade The Profs' goes above, beyond past offerings citing 200,000 surveys
Mark Grebner deserves an "A" for effort. The East Lansing-based political consultant's most recent publication of "Grading The Profs" is considerably better than average.
After a dozen editions since 1975, Grebner's 2003 pamphlet is the first to incorporate the Student Instructional Rating System, or SIRS, and the Student's Opinion of Courses and Teaching, or SOCT, forms distributed by the university at the end of each semester.
Grebner, an Ingham County commissioner, used to rely on his own survey for his data and previously could only gather about 10,000 sources of data.
For this year's edition, however, he filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the university to obtain SIRS and SOCT information. Grebner's efforts yielded about 190,000 more results.
"Grading The Profs" contains an alphabetical list of MSU professors and provides ratings such as average, worse than average or considerably better than average. It also notes whether a professor ranks among the top 10 percent or bottom 10 percent at MSU.
While the information could be more complete by offering more specific information, Grebner's efforts are appreciated. We understand he works with limited resources since he isn't working for profit.
Copies are available at the Student Book Store, 421 E. Grand River Ave., for $5 each. Grebner said he would have to sell 1,300 copies to break even.
"Grading The Profs" is another useful tool for students hoping to see what their peers have to say about MSU's teaching corps.
Of course, in an ideal world, MSU would do more to allow for student critiques of teaching to be posted on university Web space. While the university does post SOCT results, online SIRS forms are not available.
MSU should do more to allow for student evaluations of professors to be open for student review.
The fact is that there are a number of professors on this campus who are excellent scholars but are not worth their weight as teachers.
Some professors, who rate in the bottom 10 percent at MSU according to Grebner's survey, might say students aren't the best judges because they rate according to the grades they receive.
But that is a cop-out answer. Students are indeed the best judges since they are the product of each class.
Granted, like any survey, Grebner's should be taken with a grain of salt, but that doesn't dismiss the fact that students want the best teachers to aid them in their pursuit of higher education.
MSU officials should do more to allow for students to have that dialogue. The university should strive to maintain the appropriate balance of considerably better-than-average scholars and considerably better-than-average teachers.
As for the validity of Grebner's survey, student's will be the judge of that.