Student evaluations of instructors have come under significant scrutiny because of their tendency to promote unconscious biases. Unfortunately, evaluations might often tell you more about how popular you are (or how well you fit into normative identity categories) than how effective of a teacher you are.
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Though approaching your syllabus like a contract—a collection of policies and procedures—is a popular analogy in higher education, it is not the most effective way to create a syllabus. Instead, a syllabus, being the first contact our students have with us as instructors, sets the tone for the course…