Students rate professors on graduate’s site

Montana Hodges

Sacramento State students can breathe a sigh of relief while registering for classes taught by Professors they’ve never heard of, thanks to the free internet source, where students publicly evaluate professors.Users on the website can look up Sac State professors from an alphabetical listing and read the evaluations of the professor and the courses they teach. The site has no school affiliation and contains uncensored first-accounts of student opinions.

The evaluations include ratings of the overall difficulty of each course and professor along with course requirements, attendance policies, final exams and personal reflections from students who have taken the courses.

Sac State senior of Social Science, Patrick Gai, said that he looks up potential teachers every semester before enrollment.

“If I look up a teacher and see they have all bad reviews I won’t even take that class,” Gai said. He said that the site works for him and he highly recommends it.

The website was founded by then-student Mike Teske and a couple friends while attending Sac State in 1999.

Teske, known on the site as “President Mike,” said he began SacRate with personal funding, a dim light and poor programming skills. The team relied on a grassroots campaign to publicize their site. They advertised SacRate through sidewalk chalk, homemade fliers and depended on student word-of-mouth.

“The primary purpose was to take what was already happening on campus and make it available on a larger scale. Every semester students talk about their classes for next semester and gather opinions about professors from other students,” Teske said.

The site provides student ratings and comments that are posted instantly and are not edited. Teske said the absence of censorship allows students to freely voice their opinion.

In the four-year stretch Sac Rate has been online, Teske said there have been few complaints from Sac State faculty.

“If there are any complaints, we want professors to know that they are welcomed to provide a rating of themselves on the site” Teske said.

ESL professor Sandra Cohen said she has mixed feelings about the site.

“As a teacher SacRate puts a lot of pressure to teach to be popular rather than to teach to be educational. But then again, as a student I would have really appreciated that kind of a guide,” Cohen said.

SacRate has steadily grown since it came online, and Teske said that he continues to run the site even though he has since graduated with a B.A. in marketing.

SacRate is able to run at a break-even financial level and relies on private advertising for funding. Teske said that over time their sponsors have increased and their skills continue to improve. He said that SacRate has plans to grow and he will continue to work as “President Mike.”