RateMyProfessors.com: blending social media and reality marketing
RateMyProfessors.com is a place that most, if not all, colleges and universites appear to wish simply didn’t exist.
- Yes, it is a form of social media where college students can share their experiences about their faculty with anyone who wants to read them. The site makes it easy to add new faculty evaluations and to share content with friends.
- And yes, it helps define the world of “reality marketing” by noting that not every professor at every college is a super-star dedicated to student success in the classroom.
At two recent conference presentations, I’ve asked the audience if any of their schools link from the official website to RateMyProfessors. I get the sense that people are shocked that the question is even asked. That’s no surprise. One response summed up the feeling: “I’d get fired for doing that!”
Few Faculty Rated as “Poor Quality”
Here’s what’s funny about the prevailing attitude. In every case where I’ve visited RateMyProfessors, there have been very few faculty who receive “poor quality” ratings. Most have either “average quality” or “good quality” ratings.
Consider my most recent venture to Boston University as an example to use in an upcoming webinar. The site makes it easy find faculty from an academic area of special interest. In this case, I checked the political science faculty at BU. Here’s what I found for 48 faculty members listed:
- 33 had “good quality” ratings
- 11 had “average quality” ratings
- 3 were listed as “below average”
- 1 had no ratings at all
That seems a pretty good peformance to me, maybe even higher than expected. All in all, these are professors held in high esteem by their students.
Students, especially those with high academic profiles, are keenly interested in academic majors. Imagine that the BU admissions page included a link to RateMyProfessors.com so that visitors could easily see the overall ratings as well as the comments available on individual faculty. That, it seems, would buy credibility in a world skeptical of the usual marketing language used in higher education and elsewhere.
The reality, of course, is that not all faculty are great. Personally, I’d be quite comfortable enrolling as a political science major at BU based on the RateMyProfessors reviews.
And yes, I understand that linking to RateMyProfessors.com from official websites isn’t going to sweep the land. But take some time today to check how your faculty are viewed at this site by your students. You just might find people that you’d like to highlight in some other way in your marketing efforts.
If by any chance your college or university indeed links to RateMyProfessor, let me know. That would make a great Link of the Week selection.
That’s all for now.