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Study on Determining Teaching Effectiveness Wins Nationally
Kansas Ag Connection - 08/22/2019

A study conducted by two Kansas State University agricultural economics faculty members found that student evaluations are still likely the most common way to determine the effectiveness of education in ag economics classes.

Brian Coffey, assistant professor and Andrew Barkley, a professor in K-State's Department of Agricultural Economics teach undergraduate and graduate-level classes. To help them and their colleagues across the country understand how teaching is evaluated in general, plus criteria on how faculty members are evaluated for promotion, tenure and salary, they reached out to heads of ag economics departments at other universities.

For the article that resulted, Coffey and Barkley were awarded the 2019 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Jack Everly Journal Award. The paper was published in the March 2018 issue of the NACTA Journal.

Why is it important? Agricultural economics influences food policy, agricultural policy and environmental policy in any given country and around the globe, so it's important that students have at least a basic understanding of the principals of agricultural economics.

The K-State survey found that while imperfect, students' evaluations of their teachers' effectiveness is often the major method of evaluating teaching in departments of agricultural economics. Other factors such as evaluation by a faculty member's peers are considered but used more when faculty members are under consideration for promotion and tenure, for example when an associate professor is under consideration for promotion to full professor.

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