James Miller, a Smith econ professor, has a modest proposal for rewarding teaching excellence: Give graduating seniors $1,000 to distribute to the professors of their choice.
What tools should colleges use to reward excellent teachers? Some rely on teaching evaluations that students spend only a few minutes filling out. Others trust deans and department chairs to put aside friendships and enmities and objectively identify the best teachers. Still more colleges donâ€™t reward teaching excellence and hope that the lack of incentives doesnâ€™t diminish teaching quality.
I propose instead that institutions should empower graduating seniors to reward teaching excellence. Colleges should do this by giving each graduating senior $1,000 to distribute among their faculty.
Most academics commenting on Inside Higher Education are horrified. However, one suggested waiting till students have been out in “the real world” for a few years and have more perspective on which professors really helped them and which were fluffmeisters.