Opinion
Students Should Play a Larger Role in Faculty Hiring
Old Gold & Black
By
Editorial Staff
Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wake Forest is currently in the process of hiring new faculty members in various academic departments. Many students have been given the opportunity to sit in on mock classes and evaluate how prospective professors teach and to see if the candidate is a good fit for the university.

The editorial board of the Old Gold & Back believes that having student input in hiring new professors is crucial to building and improving the academic experience at Wake Forest. At the end of the day, the students are the ones who are directly impacted by the hiring of new professors: we are here to receive the best education possible.

We push the university to involve students even more than they currently are.

Professors have the ability to define our Wake Forest experience. Their capability to connect with and teach students molds students’ perspectives of not only that individual class, but the department as a whole.

One professor can make or break a student’s decision to continue taking courses in a department. Therefore, they indirectly have an impact on students’ major and minor decisions and career futures.

Student feedback is vital when it comes to the hiring process. Students know what does and does not work in the classroom, and sometimes, what looks good on paper does not work nor resonate with students and their learning.

While expertise is essential, having a Ph.D. does not mean that a professor connects with students or lectures well. This can only be determined by students in the classroom, not by administrators in an interview.

Having a Ph.D. is the expected quality for a professor, but there are also qualified individuals who do not have a Ph.D. who make good professors.

This is evidenced by the professors on this campus who are Professors of Practice.

Whether or not a professor connects well with students matters; professors with infectious enthusiasm for their field transmit that energy to students and inspire them to work harder and contribute to the fields themselves. Great professors who have good rapports with students can also be influental mentors and can lead students in research.

When it comes to the hiring process, the university should look at candidates that are personable and knowledgable, and they can best ascertain this with student input. Being able to make a class interesting and engaging is more attractive to students.