CBS’s MoneyWatch website recently ranked Seton Hall University No. 16 out of 25 on their “Colleges with the Worst Professors” list.
Information compiled for the list came from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) and its annual ranking of America’s Best Colleges with Forbes.
The institutions were ranked in a descending order. The closer an institution was to No. 1, the worse their professors were.
“One (of many) of the factors we consider are professor evaluations from ratemyprofessor.com,” Matthew Denhart, CCAP Administrative Director, said.
According to Denhart, ratemyprofessor.com (RMP) is the only data source they are knowledgeable of that provides a uniform student evaluation system for the 610 institutions ranked this year.
“We believe that this is the best available data source to use for information about student satisfaction about their professors,” Denhart said. “Certainly the data are not perfect, but in the absence of any other information provided to the public, RMP is a fairly good alternative.”
Denhart explained that they take the average “overall” score for each professor at a school and negatively weight the professors “easiness” factor. All professors are then averaged for a school and standardized using a Z-Score system.
CBS MoneyWatch used only RMP evaluations to identify the 25 schools that perform the poorest, Denhart said.
Seton Hall was placed 16 on the list amongst schools like Drexel University, which was ranked 19, and New Jersey Institute of Technology which was ranked No. 5.
Darren Swan, a Seton Hall adjunct professor, is one of the many professors rated on RMP.
“I have checked my profile, but only for a few laughs,” Swan said. “It’s pretty interesting to see what someone has to say about you even though it’s my best guess that people who comment the most on the site are unhappy students.”
Despite some occasional bad comments, Swan still finds the site useful.
“Occasionally people go on there to write constructive advice for fellow students,” Swan said. “It can give someone a good feel about what a teacher is like and whether or not they would be a good fit in the class.”
According to Swan, no matter how “goofy” some of the respondents can be on the site, it can still be considered a fraction reputable for an inquiring student.
“They (students) should realize that when people complain or have a negative experience they are far more likely to post about it opposed to their happy counterparts,” Swan said.
Denhart also felt as though students should consider many other aspects of a school than just professor evaluations.
“Students should consider many factors,” Denhart said. “We believe that students should shop around to find the college that fits their individual needs and preferences, but do think that information about the expected quality of their instruction is one factor that many students will be concerned about.”
An article on CBS MoneyWatch.com reported the rankings were almost evenly divided between public and private universities. Thirteen of the universities were private while 12 were public. The article also reported 7 of the schools focused on the “brutally hard” major of engineering.
Seton Hall University professors with negative ratings or comments did not return request for comment by press time.
Ashley Duvall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org