Oh goodness.  From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

January 11, 2009

Professors Question Texas A&M’s Plan to Award Bonuses on Basis of Student Evaluations

The chancellor of the Texas A&M University system wants to give faculty members bonuses of up to $10,000, based on student evaluations, but some professors are raising concerns about the plan, saying it could become a popularity contest, The Bryan-College Station Eagle reported.

Faculty members can decide whether to participate in the pilot program, which is being offered at the system’s flagship, in College Station, and at its Kingsville and Prairie View campuses. Though details are preliminary, officials said, the goal is to offer awards starting at $2,500 to the top 15 percent of participating instructors.

Martha Loudder, an accounting professor and a former speaker of the faculty senate at College Station, questioned the fairness of basing the awards “solely on student evaluation.” Ms. Loudder, who has received the university’s most prestigious teaching award, said she feared that “some very good teachers will be left out.”

Administrators counter that the purpose of the program is to measure student satisfaction, not teaching effectiveness. “This is customer satisfaction,” the chancellor, Michael D. McKinney, told the newspaper. “It doesn’t have to do with tenure, promotion, status. It has to do with students’ having the opportunity to recognize good teachers and reward them with some money.” —Charles Huckabee

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