Saturday, October 04, 2008

Learning from students

Here is a tip from the New York Times to you... You want to know about the culture and climate of the campus where you are applying to work? Check out

Unigo is a website collection of students' reviews of different colleges. Students submit written reviews of their campuses, outlining problems (parking and food are the common complaints) and strengths (e.g., attractive campus, school spirit, diverse campus). There are also pictures from campuses and video interviews with students.

Developed for students trying to decide where to go to college, the Unigo website is a good resource for academics. Administrators can find out about issues on our own campuses that we might want to address, and prospective applicants for positions can learn about schools before we apply to work there.

After a quick review of comments from my current and former schools, I would say that many of the comments are on the mark. And you can actually search for specific kinds of students (by major, race, gender, political leaning, and whether the student was a transfer student), if you want to know more. Further, you get a sense of some of the students you will be teaching.

My interest in this website may reflect my own predilections. I also like reading "rate my professors" entries for schools where I have worked, and those I am considering, as well. While I know that students who have gripes are more likely to write on RMP, I have found that there seem to be themes that tend to reflect accurately on the faculty. These student videos and blog entries on Unigo offer some real insights into student life, beyond the marketing brochures and catalogs offered by the school and the rosy pictures offered by current faculty who want you to take the job. If you can overlook some errors in grammar and spelling, you ought to add this tool to your job search process. All information is useful, right?

Check it out!

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