Students in Miami University’s Department of Political Science might not have to check ratemyrofessors.com to find out if they will like the new instructors being hired. Instead, candidates for the job are presenting a mock lecture to their future students, according to Department Chair Steven DeLue.
Students enrolled in political science classes have been invited to see a presentation from each candidate for a position in American policy and politics, after which they will be asked to give their opinion on each potential professor, DeLue said.
The department followed a similar procedure when hiring a professor for public administration. The three candidates for the position presented a lecture to current public administration classes.
DeLue said gathering student opinions has been practiced in other departments, but not in political science. However, DeLue said the political science department intends to use the process in the future.
“It’s not really something we’ve done in the past,” DeLue said. ” … candidates primarily had come to give a scholarly talk to the faculty, which we still do.”
DeLue stressed the importance of hiring scholarly candidates and having students involved in the process.
While student input is only one factor in the hiring process, DeLue said what students think will be highly influential in overall decision making.
“If the students said it was the most boring person they ever heard, we would weigh that factor very, very heavily,” DeLue said. “We don’t want to bring into the department people that the students think ill of.”
First-year Marvin McPherson, a political science major, said including students in the hiring process is beneficial.
“I think it’s a really good idea because these are the people we have to learn from in the future, so it makes sense that students have a say in who will be teaching them,” McPherson said.
DeLue said students who have not been able to see a presentation still have a chance to voice their opinion when the final candidates for the American politics and policy position lecture at an undecided time in the coming weeks.
McPherson said he hopes allowing students to help choose their instructors becomes more common in other departments across campus.
“I hope they keep doing it in the future and that it’s something they spread into other departments because students learn so much better from professors they feel they relate to,” McPherson said.