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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


‘Hot’ profs don’t appreciate label

When students across the nation begin searching for classes at the beginning of the semester, many look for certain traits in their professors. Level of difficulty of the class, previous commentary from other students and overall quality are pieces of vital information — but what about hotness?, a teacher-evaluation website, has an entire judgment criteria where students can rate a teacher on their “”hotness.””

Students looking to get a “”hot”” teacher need only look for a chili pepper by the professor’s name.

“”I can’t imagine students choosing a class based on the ‘hotness’ of an instructor. When I heard of the site and visited it, I was more concerned about my rankings in terms of ‘clarity’ and ‘helpfulness,'”” said Derek Honeyman, a Ph.D. student who teaches classes at UA South. “”Am I good at communicating the material and helping students to learn it? Am I approachable? I’m more concerned about those traits than hotness.””

It isn’t a compliment to all, however, and some professors feel it gets in the way of what truly matters.

“”Apparently my students think I’m attractive and don’t care about my teaching quality,”” said Katie Angus, a graduate teaching associate for the French and Italian department. “”If you want to find out about your teacher’s hair or clothing go to, but if you want teaching then go somewhere else.””

Kendal Washington White, associate dean of students, said she visited RateMyProfessors to view students’ comments and found it to be “”a mixed bag.””  

“”Whether or not the site is helpful to students in selecting an instructor is debatable,”” she said.  “”I would advise students to speak with their academic advisers about instructors, and to ask students who have take the instructor’s class.””

Some students rely on the website for their class decisions.

“”I use it every semester,”” said Louie Benitez, a junior systems engineering student at UA. “”I’ve actually switched classes for other classes that have had better-rated professor.

Not all students use the chili pepper to choose classes once they reach their major-specific classes.

“”I don’t really pay attention to it,”” Benitez said of the chili pepper symbol. “”I’ve noticed it before but it doesn’t affect my decision-making at all. In the engineering major there’s not as many professors with those ‘hotness’ ratings.””

Regarding the hotness factor, Washington White feels it is irrelevant to the professor’s knowledge and their ability to teach.  

“”The website relies on student input to represent their opinions of instructors,”” she said. “”I’m not sure how the hotness of an instructor impacts the student’s learning experience.””

However, she adds, one must have a sense of humor about it as well.

“”I personally know several instructors who have received a ‘hot’ rating, and gave them some good-natured teaching,”” she said.

As useful as it is to students to receive first-hand advice from other students who’ve taken the same class as them, the website’s ratings are also beneficial to professors.

“”I think students need to have the opportunity to ‘shop’ for classes and this website is just one way for them to find good professors, instructors and teaching assistants,”” Honeyman said. “”Students have different learning styles, but instructors have different teaching styles. I think getting a good match with an instructor is a positive thing.””

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