Dimitris Politis writes: Many IMS members are educators, and thus care about improving and evaluating teaching. In the last three decades, student evaluations of classroom teaching have played a prevalent role in the US, although opinions are mixed on whether the overall effect has been positive. It goes without saying that such feedback can be very important. But sometimes university administrators interpret student evaluations as if they were customer responses; that can be problematic because education serves a higher cause, and students are not clients. One typical administrator faux-pas is disregarding all information in the student questionnaire except the (last) question: “Would you recommend the instructor to other students?” Of course, ignoring valuable information provided by the other questions is inexcusable from a statistical, or just common-sense, viewpoint. Even more importantly, the effort by an instructor to score good evaluations may result in student pampering and an inadvertent lowering of the level of the course—a long-term loss for society as a whole.
Welcome to the new and improved IMS Bulletin website! We are developing the way we communicate news and information more effectively with members. The print Bulletin is still with us (free with IMS membership), and still available as a PDF to download, but in addition, we are placing some of the news, columns and articles on this blog site, which will allow you the opportunity to interact more. We are always keen to hear from IMS members, and encourage you to write articles and reports that other IMS members would find interesting. Contact the IMS Bulletin at firstname.lastname@example.org
With this new blog website, we are introducing a new feature, the Open Forum. Any IMS member can propose a topic for discussion. Email your subject and an opening paragraph (send this to email@example.com) and we'll post it to start off the discussion. Other readers can join in the debate by commenting on the post. Search other Open Forum posts by using the Open Forum category link below. Start a discussion today!
The Institute of Mathematical Statistics is an international scholarly society devoted to the development and dissemination of the theory and applications of statistics and probability. We have about 4,500 members around the world. Visit IMS at http://imstat.org