End of the Semester Evaluations

It’s that time of the semester to hand out the lovely SPOT evaluation forms (Student Perceptions Of Teaching) here at Virginia Tech. Students fill in the circles (number 2 pencil of course) as to how you rate as teacher, your knowledge of the field, the value of the textbook, etc. A box is available, though seldom used, for students to hand-write comments – to many of us, the most valuable part of the evaluation process.  So as I was distributing the scan forms, I was thinking about feedback.  It seems that in life, where feedback or comments are totally voluntary and no forms are forced upon you, the energy required to send a letter, email, or comment is often (not always) mustered only for negative feedback.

In the case of this blog (and many others), we have enjoyed amazingly positive and inquisitive comments, even if it’s just two or three for each post, as well as the occasional barb (just fine with me) . Our biggest "commentroversy" came with Linda’s post about International Ag Labs – the ensuing hoo-ha resulted in 102 comments due to a "defend the ship!" email sent out by the company, and many were decidedly in opposition to the post.

All to say: we’ve been at this Garden Professors thing for about 9 months now, and Linda, Jeff, Bert, and me would like to know what YOU, our dear blog-readers, THINK. Some of you  comment fairly regularly – thank you Jimbo, Deb, Hap, Paul, et al. But I also know that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Please take a moment, if you can, to weigh in: 

– Are you happy with the diversity of posts, or do you want "science and only science" e.g. less garden products/pantyhose posts?

– Do you enjoy reading about our work with students? No? Well, tough! (just kidding).

– What topics would you like to see addressed in future posts by our GP squad? Can be broad or specific. [More on perennials, you say? 😉 ]

– Overall thoughts? The value (or lack thereof) of this blog to you and your garden, nursery, or landscape firm?

Any and all feedback will be appreciated by all of us here at The G-Prof.

So go ahead and comment, even if you’ve never done it before!

Flounder barfs in 3...2...1...
Don’t make us summon you to the Dean’s office! (Note #2 pencils at the ready.)

Flounder throws up in 3...2...1... Flounder barfs in 3...2...1...

7 thoughts on “End of the Semester Evaluations”

  1. I am a regular reader who has never commented. I truly appreciate your science-based approach to the plant world and have learned a great deal from you. Please keep doing more of the same.

  2. Holly, for me, it’s all grist for the mill. My eyes tend to glaze over with some of the more technical science posts, but the upshot is worth it — I learn something, including how to think critically about claims for various products. Woody plant posts are my favorites, because I’m fond of woody plants, but I’m always happy to learn more about perenn
    ials and vegetables, and certainly about plant physiology and mechanisms by which plants survive and thrive. It was a treat to read about the wonderful conifer collection some months back, the quizzes are excellent, discussion about native/nonnative/ invasive/opportunistic plants is thought-provoking, and it’s a pleasure to read the funny bits in everyone’s writing (the term ‘feral teenagers’ skittered through my mind last week when a group of kids crossed in front of my car, and I have your class field trip account to thank for that). Thanks to all four of you for writing this blog!

  3. I am happy with the diversity of posts.
    If a subject is important enough to merit a blog, it is important enough for me to read. After all, most , if not all of your readers, take your site seriously.
    I enjoy reading about your work with students. It reminds me that horticulture is as science as well as a hobby and a business. It would be great if you would weigh in on perennials a bit more often. The blog seems to lean a tad too much into Trees.
    I rely on your blog to make me a more knowledgeable, and therefore, more effective garden designer.

  4. I rarely comment but always read your entries. This blog fills a niche that no other garden blog does, providing actual research in a subject area
    overwhelmingly dominated by people simply repeating advice that they heard somewhere without any evidence of its accuracy.

    I care much less about the specific format (quizzes, product reviews, etc.) you use in your entries than about the simple fact that the entire blog continues to offer a research-based perspective. As long as that perspective continues to inform the blog (and I can’t imagine how it wouldn’t, what with your being professors), I’m happy with any direction you choose to go.

  5. I wish that I had had a professor who didn’t show up on Monday AM like your blog does(doesn’t). Seriously, I do enjoy the whole thing except the very, very technical spots. Keep up the good work.

  6. Yeah, well, you people have been on DOUBLE secret probation all semester – didn’t know that did you?

    It’s a pleasure to see what Henry Mitchell, the long-time Washington Post garden writer used to call “horticultural muck and mysticism” addressed as you folks have done here.

    It reminds us all, no matter how long we’ve been in the garden or in the trade, that we all have much more to learn about the simple arts of gardening.

  7. Personally, I don’t think much is left to be desired in the diversity of posts that are covered on GP blog. I like the marriage of comprehensive, informative and practical approaches to horticulture reflected here. And to be frank, I love the fact that so many gardening myths are discussed in such an accessible, yet informative way.
    I’m at a point where I’m leaving my university days and beginning a proper horticultural job, but I would desperately love to hear more about the student projects at all the universities affiliated with the blog. I love studying horticulture, but I also love learning about how other institutions are teaching the subject as well. Student projects are a great way to showcase the pedagogy of various teaching institutions.

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