My Teaching: Statistics and Quotes
It was late afternoon of January 2, 2003, when I returned to my office, numb with the knowledge that I had just been given a terminal appointment. I then saw the most recent set of student evaluations on my desk and collected my thoughts and wrote that very evening back to Henry DeMoor, with a copy to Neal Plantinga—a memo to which neither has ever responded.
After showing how students ranked me statistically on the various questions, I wrote the following:
"I think it is significant that my two lowest scores—more than 20 percentage points below anything else—are in the area of grading and feedback on papers and other class work. Unlike some professors, I do give students B, B-, and sometimes C, and an occasional C-. Those students often express some anger about that toward me, and, in light of that, it is possible that my other scores might be higher if I gave students higher grades. I was used to a tougher grading system at Trinity, but I’m not defending myself on that account."
Regarding personal comments from the above evaluations, here are quotes, all from different students:
“Your [sic] the best professor I had in seminary. You know what I think; other professors should follow your style of teaching. You’re organized, well prepared, and so knowledgeable. . . . Thank you!”
“Appreciate her willingness to help me. . . .”
“Good job teaching. RT knows a lot about history & missions.”
“I liked this class—I have a greater love for those who have gone before—Good to hear theother side of the characters & personal lives.”
“Professor Tucker showed genuine interest and often excitement for her lectures, adding many interesting sidenotes of contrasting viewpoints. I also appreciated her continual comparison to events of church history to the church today—made appropriate challenges.”
“I think this class really provided good useful and meaningful [sic] for church history survey & appreciated Dr. Ruth A. Tucker’s academic high quality.”
“Overall, I learned a lot and grew spiritually and intellectually in this class. Thanks. Great class.”
“Your honesty and transparency are refreshing. I also appreciated your ability to lead class discussions. Great job.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the class & I give credit for this to the professor who made it fun, engaging and formative.”
“Textbooks! Super duper! Wide range of material was also great. Thanks for being a caring and passionate teacher.”
I ended that letter with the following sentence paragraph.
"In light of what I have written above, I am asking that you reconsider your recommendation, and that I be re-appointed as full professor."
There was no response to the content of my message and there is no indication that my request was ever considered.