Evaluation, Assessment, and Student Feedback

Northwestern Faculty Honor Roll

Each Spring, Northwestern students vote to nominate teachers who have had an outstanding impact on their time at Northwestern, writing a brief paragraph about why professors deserve to bet honored. Those with the most nominations and best narratives are then chosen to be on the Associated Student Government Honor Roll. I was honored to be selected for the 2016-2017 academic year for the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Student-invited Speaker: Wesleyan Thinks Big

I was one of five faculty members campus-wide to be selected by students to address the student body of Wesleyan University on a “big think” issue, an opportunity to speak to a large audience on a socially and culturally relevant topic.  The speech encouraged Wesleyan students to think broadly and across traditional disciplines, focusing on the importance and meaning of tolerance and how the lack of it creates both explicit and implicit inequalities on college campuses. “Tolerating Tolerance” addressed the importance of engaging with people with whom we disagree; fostering respect for difference; and avoiding selection bias and motivated reasoning in information processing and attitude formation. It also served as a call-to-arms for Wesleyan students to be mindful of the assumptions and stereotypes that exist on campus and how they can be alleviated.

Weinberg College Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award

During graduate school, I won the Weinberg Outstanding Teaching award, naming me as the top teaching assistant in all of the social sciences at Northwestern University. Each year the College selects three teaching assistants to receive Weinberg College Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Awards, one per Division (social sciences, humanities, math and science). A student-faculty Committee on Teaching Awards evaluates nominations from departments and the Student Advisory Board and recommends candidates to the Dean.

Sample Comments from Student Evaluations
[Complete teaching assessments available upon request].

1. “Professor Harrison is incredibly smart, passionate, and engaging. He created the kind of environment where I made an effort not to miss class- purely because I enjoyed being in the room and learning from him.”

2. “Professor Harrison’s class is a true example of why I chose a liberal arts college: I had thought provoking conversations that will stay with me long after the class has ended with a small but amazing group of individuals.”

3. “The passion [Professor Harrison] has for American Politics is tangible and he tries his best to infuse the same love for the subject into his students. I have found that I now think about government in a whole new way, which is exciting and provides me with new insight into the political process.”

4. “Professor Harrison was always well prepared for the course and consistently came into class with a positive and magnetic attitude that inspired his students to be as excited about the material as he was.”

5. “[Professor Harrison] clearly enjoys teaching and is very good at it. He was knowledgeable and was able to answer clearly any and every question any of us asked of him. His passion for the subject combined with his passion for teaching made my experience in his class a pleasure.”

6. “Prof. Harrison is possibly the best professor I’ve had at this school [Wesleyan]. His ability to create a positive class dynamic which encouraged intellectual risk-taking and growth was impressive. He was the perfect mix of approachable and professional.”

7. “Professor Harrison is not only a great teacher but also a great person. He promotes both enthusiastic learning and self growth in the class. He’s passionate about the subject and teaches it in a way that makes every student passionate as well. He talks with the students, not at them, and makes classes interesting and engaging.”

8. “[Professor Harrison] also is very honest about the course material, often times providing alternative, less-biased interpretations of data we see in class. He is incredibly organized, easy to talk to, and very knowledgeable about public opinion and voting behavior.”

9. “Professor Harrison is an outstanding professor. He is an overall engaging and enthusiastic person who was not only willing to meet out of class to discuss the content of the course, but was also willing to provide his advice and perspectives on any issues or questions students may have.”

10. “Professor Harrison has a unique way of helping his students to relate to the course material. He pushes us to engage with the texts in ways I did not anticipate. I especially enjoyed the way he incorporated public speaking into the curriculum; it was a challenge for most of us but also formative and essential for both our academic and personal lives.”

11. “Professor Harrison was always very prepared for class. He continuously asked his students questions that were supposed to intrigue their interest and facilitate open discussion. He is very good at leading class discussions; he is clearly very comfortable with being in front of the classroom. He is clearly very enthusiastic about this subject and really enjoys teaching students. He would often play devil’s advocate in order to facilitate discussion and there was a high degree of intellectual stimulation.”

12. “The instruction was fantastic. Preparation was clear, and the instructor had a great ability to lead discussion and involve many students.”