Emmanuelle Maher/The Paisano

Emmanuelle Maher/The Paisano

If professors who are beloved by students are expendable to the university, then the university’s teaching needs are not compatible with the needs of students.

Professors, whether on the tenure track or not, have a significant impact on their students. Semester after semester, our professors are invested in our academic success and our growth from awkward first-day icebreakers to the “good luck on the final” statement. Professors cultivate the next generation of leaders and deserve to be treated well and with respect.

Not only do our professors need to be supported by their students, they need to be supported by the university. The university can’t expect students to feel supported while they are witnessing their professors being treated as disposable.

Currently, professors may be constrained by job insecurity. For some professors, such as those not on a tenure track, the fear of not being rehired lingers and carries over into the classroom – sometimes for decades.

A healthy learning environment for students is fostered when the university supports its faculty members. If the university truly wants the students to have a healthy learning environment, then the university should not ignore the course evaluation responses from the students themselves when determining the continued employment of a faculty member.

The culture across academia is teeming with professors who feel each semester might be their last. If consistently strong reviews from course evaluations can’t secure their future, then what can? A value of the university should be to encourage professors to be at the forefront of thought in the same capacity that they encourage students.

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