June 5, 2007

· Sociology · Teaching

Despite being a contributor to this OrgTheory blog, my dirty little secret is that this past semester was the first time I ever taught a Sociology of Organizations course. Shocking, I know. It went OK for a first-time effort. Quantitatively my ratings were a bit below my average, but not worryingly so. Today, though, I got back the specific (anonymous) comments of the students, which always make for interesting reading. I broadly subscribe to Fabio’s view that evaluations are pretty informative. To see ourselves as others see us, etc. Arizona asks for freeform comments on two questions: What did you especially like about this course? And, What suggestions would you make to improve this course? Past highlights (from my Social Theory course) include, “No more tucked-in shirts without a belt” and “This course would be better if it wasn’t required.” As expected, the comments from the Orgs course cover a range. Some of the better ones:

Edifying: “Instructor knows his shit.” Woo, I am down with the kids. “Actually interesting!”

Possibly misguided: “[Please provide] More suggestions for my own life with regard to my business decisions.”

Praise or not?: “Professor was ironic.” “[I liked] the ability of the instructor to make a not so interesting subject somewhat interesting.” “The teacher had his own way of teaching.”

Campus identity politics scandal narrowly avoided: “Don’t insult the Scottish. We may not have preserved the written word during the Dark Ages but we are a proud people none the less.”

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I am Professor of Sociology at Duke University. I’m affiliated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Markets and Management Studies program, and the Duke Network Analysis Center. Learn more.

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