NLS students turn tables, rate their faculty. NLS students turn tables, rate their faculty.

At NLSIU Bangalore, only 6 out of 15 ad-hoc professors scored more than 60% in a student evaluation commissioned by the NLSIU Student Bar Association (SBA).

It is understood that the report 52-page report, which has several pages of commentary and feedback on each of 15 professors, has been submitted to the vice chancellor.

The SBA declined to comment when we contacted them.

In the introduction to the “Ad Hoc Faculty Report” prepared by the SBA, it has stated: “To ensure that student feedback is taken into account in the recruitment process, the office bearers of the Student Bar Association have commissioned this Report wherein the opinion of the student body on each of the ad-hoc professors presently teaching at the University is presented.”

Nine NLSIU fourth-year and fifth-year students part of the SBA had prepared a Google form to circulate among at least 60% of the students taught by each of the professors being evaluated.

The form allowed respondents to rate from 1 to 5 the following fields for each professor: course goals, course material, teaching, projects, course instructor and course output. The committee then collated all numeric responses and calculated a mean score and a median score for each professor.

The overall score for each professor was the mean of all the means and of all the medians.

One professor scored 4.4 out of 5 and five professors scored above 3 but below 4. Four other professors scored above 50%.

The lowest score was 1.7 out of 5 (pictured above).

The forms also gave space to the respondents to fill in comments on each professor. Some of the comments received were:

The only abiding memory I have from the few classes she taught us was that [...] (incorrectly) taught us how to activate ‘Do Not Disturb’ on our mobile phones. She chose to teach us DND over 4 hours instead of covering essential material.

didn’t like me because I am a foreign student and [...] believed that I don't deserve to be here. Two other foreign students also felt the same way. One day during attendance, [...] refused to mark me present after I had missed my roll call, though I was in class. However, when another class mate missed [...] roll call, [...] gave her attendance without any hesitation.

While the course was supposed to be on [...], most of [...] project topics dealt with [...], an area explicitly excluded in the course outline. Further, these topics were never touched upon in class, and aside from being irrelevant to the course, were also insufficient to teach the student any useful information regarding the subject in general. But most importantly, the viva was conducted inside the office of the instructor, with no witnesses present.

The NLSIU SBA managed to convince the administration in April to renew its faculty recruitment drive, as a result of which the law school advertised for faculty positions after an hiatus of 8 years.

Sample report

Full sample questions for the highest-ranked professorFull sample questions for the highest-ranked professor

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1
Like +10 Object -3 Groundbreaking, eh? 23 Jun 17, 21:48  interesting
While this is a great initiative, there already exist almost identical faculty feedback systems at NLUD, JGLS etc.
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Like +5 Object -2 Mistborn 23 Jun 17, 22:08
It is a standard practice in multiple private universities, including Jgls Nirma Manipal. Though I am sure that they are never made public.
Slow news day is understandable.
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Like +3 Object -1 Darkseid 23 Jun 17, 22:31
Faculty feedback from students are collected by many top-tier NLUs on a fairly regular basis from what I am aware of. NUJS, for example, has been doing this from almost its inception. The question is more about what action is taken on the basis of such feedback, for there the administration of NLUs (unless headed by no-nonsense stalwarts like Menon) have failed to act decisively. I was surprised to see only ad-hoc faculties being evaluated and not the permanent ones, but that is probably in the light of the impending recruitment where these people would apply. Students are almost always the best judge of a teacher, but they also need to wield this power responsibly. As you can see among the comments, alongside relevant and useful ones, there are also comments such as the teacher not conducting viva in the presence of witnesses! I've never heard of such requirements anywhere, but it also shows the breakdown of trust between the teacher and the students, which is not at all healthy (especially in the country's best law school). Moreover, at times, a lot of students (if not all), have been known to provide good feedback to teachers with dubious taching skills, but lenient in marking, attendance etc. If those practices can be curbed, the feedback system and action taken on the same can go a long way to improve the quality of teachers in law schools.
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Like +4 Object -1 NLS 24 Jun 17, 22:56
1. We fill elaborate feedback forms for every course instructor at the end of the course, which is anonymous and is administered by the Exam Department. This (a review of ad-hoc faculty via Google forms) is a purely student initiative to review ad-hoc faculty and list collective grievances - a common example being that many professors don't read the projects that they grade. The report emphasizes why we need demo classes, etc. before faculty is hired. It has been made into a comprehensive report. It signals that a significant number of students genuinely care about the quality of classroom instruction. I hope this answers 2 of your queries - how it is different from the usual feedback forms, and why it only has Ad Hoc profs.
2. Our Academic Regulations require that each viva be conducted in the presence of at least 4 witnesses. Usually this would mean that the viva-voce component has a short presentation of the research paper in front of other students scheduled for the day. Hence, violation of this rule (taken seriously by most faculty) is serious.
3. Except for 3-4 professors, most of them have poor reviews despite their general affability.
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Like +4 Object -2 Nls Hypocrisy 27 Jun 17, 15:40
Please guys! Isn't it common knowledge that the academic rigor at nls has fallen drastically most importantly because of the students. Passing exams by filing for bogus revaluation, submitting plagiarised projects, mass copying and the list goes on. And the irony is that brilliant teachers like Sidarth Chauhan and Shreya rao who were once students at NLSIU have come out boldly to attest to these facts. I would not even bother you guys with the Justice Matthew committee report which speaks for itself. Look within before you go out and the change the world! The NLS that you are in was made by students who got their own act together first.
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Like +3 Object -2 Sidharth Chauhan 27 Jun 17, 17:08
Small correction. Shreya Rao studied at NALSAR (2001-2006). She was teaching Income Tax Law in a visiting capacity. Are you referring to the Justice K.T. Thomas Report which was published in 2009? That had some exaggerations as well. The real problems set in after that.
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Like +4 Object -8 Blah blah 28 Jun 17, 22:54
Studied at NLS in the late 90s/early 2000s: our seniors too used to talk about 'falling standards' at NLS and how everything was awesome when they were there. There is nothing new here (in fact, plagiarism was harder to detect due to handwritten submissions). So passe! While every law school (or institution) has issues, most of the faculty and the students were brilliant and we all learnt from each other. A rare combination of brillance, liberalism, attitude, critical thinking and fun. Obviously, I am biased but NLS education and experience has served me (and a number of others) well and I couldn't recommend it enough. Just like anything else in life, there will be issues and things will be far from perfect but you just have to work through them.
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Like +4 Object -0 Why make public 23 Jun 17, 23:08
We have similar faculty feedback forms in NLS as well. However, the teachers never seem to read them. That, along with faculty recruitment is the reason behind this report...
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Like +1 Object -1 Guest 24 Jun 17, 00:38
Can this report be sought under the RTI Act?
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Like +1 Object -0 Superman 24 Jun 17, 00:39
Prachi, surely you are aware that all leading NLUs two this? The real story is not this but the lack of action taken on feedback at the NLUs.
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Like +11 Object -1 Worried 24 Jun 17, 01:32  interesting
Whoever leaked this to legally India will be responsible for all the rage that will now be directed at SBA and legitimate student requests. How could they make our lives miserable like this?
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Like +1 Object -1 Guest 24 Jun 17, 14:31
LI had promised to do a survey on faculty quality at the NLUs. What happened? Along with placements and moots, this is an important factor in comparing law schools. We have already seen that NLSIU is not number 1 in placements and moots this year. Once the faculty survey is out we can have a serious debate on whether NLSIU is still number 1.
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Like +3 Object -0 NALSARITE 25 Jun 17, 10:42
NALSAR has been having this since last 3 years. Except it is circulated by the VC, not the SBC. And teachers being hired necessarily have to perform well in a demo class before students (after which student feedback in a similar form is collected and taken into consideration).
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Like +3 Object -2 Sidharth Chauhan 26 Jun 17, 21:13
I suppose the chap with the highest ratings must be Kunal Ambasta. We can only hope that V-C R. Venkata Rao will make the appointments based on proven teaching competence and not due to external pressure or considerations such as personal loyalty. In any case, NLSIU should have advertised for at least 10 regular positions for Assistant Professor (Law). They may be forced to expand the student intake for the B.A.,LL.B. programme owing to the domicile quota requirements brought in by the Karnataka Legislature.
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Like +1 Object -1 Right you are 27 Jun 17, 01:30
KA has the highest. Followed by another NLS alum, one year your senior. The rest don't compare.
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Like +0 Object -0 Stu 03 Jul 17, 16:42
The one with the second highest score (NLS Alum) took her very first course last year and students found it too demanding (but readily acknowledged the high quality of the reading material and instruction). Despite a lower score due to these, she has an extremely optimistic review (since she's actively trying to incorporate feedback). You're right, the rest don't compare, because they show no inclination to improve or frankly don't give a damn about what they're teaching.
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Like +0 Object -0 Rabbi 27 Jun 17, 10:15
Curious - did the ratings also include visiting faculty/ guest faculty? Did they fare better than regular faculty? Names?
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Like +1 Object -0 Darkseid 27 Jun 17, 21:15
It isn't probably entirely fair to compare a visiting faculty offering a credit course with a regular faculty. While some of the factors are certainly comparble, it is quite different teaching, say, 15-20 chosen students who opt for a specific credit course for 15 days, with teaching 100 students in a compulsory paper for a trimester.
Also, Kian, given your policy of censoring personal names and related matters apart from plain vanilla compliments, shouldn't even good things said about individual faculty members in a manner as stated above, have been edited? Because to anyone who knows other teachers, it will be clear who all got bad reviews.
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Like +2 Object -1 Guest 29 Jun 17, 15:33
Height of Hipocracy. The members of SBA who have backlog of papers, repeaters and failures initiate grading of faculty, that too near to appointment. "Since the The NLSIU SBA managed to convince the administration in April to renew its faculty recruitment drive",what for they have been waiting so far??? Had their intentions been genuine such report should have come much before the notification for appointment.It simply reflects like any other student union, SBA is engaged in its petty politics lobbying for selected candidates for vested interests. have faith in the system than being a judge in its own case.
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Like +1 Object -1 Darkseid 30 Jun 17, 10:06
I am fairly certain students have the right to pass judgment on teachers. As a matter of the fact, they are the only ones who do. Having said that, you are right in implying that this report cannot be the sole determining factor in the recruitment of the ad-hoc teachers, as students cannot be entirely bias-free either. But it should still be accorded some weightage. If a teacher passes all other requirements with flying colours, then I doubt his recruitment will be stopped solely because of this report. As you said yourself, keep your faith in the system.
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Like +3 Object -0 Lawyer Delhi 02 Jul 17, 03:57
This is what happens when you commercialise education. Students are the customers and consumer is the king. But, neither higher education is a commodity nor law schools are part of any market. This stupid exercise can not be expected from the students of India's leading law school. They have NIL respect for their teachers. Why Students or SBA should assess professors? This is the job to be done by University administration. If they are so incompetent, SBA must push them till thier VC agrees to do it in a fair/transparent and honourable way. Also, after collecting Google forms, leaking information to media is the worst thing to do. If it was genuinely for the betterment of law school, it should be used by NLSIU administration and should not be shared with media.

If you don't respect your parents, your kids will never respect you. If you don't respect your teachers and professors, you can never become one!
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Like +1 Object -2 Darkseid 02 Jul 17, 19:07
I agree with the gist of what you said about the trust component, but you also need to realise that is an utopian scenario. No NLU administration properly judges its teachers after Prof. Menon left. Plus, even if some do, there's diddly squat they can do after those teachers have been made permanent. One of the results of that is NLUs today are filled with people grossly incompetent, unable and unwilling to better themselves, but still getting the benefits of seniority and the like under outdated rules of Indian academia. Even under ideal scenario, students are the only ones who can assess teaching prowess, so long as they are being responsible with their power. I also don't approve of the media leak, but the NLS VC has clearly shown over the past years that he has lost the trust of the students, so I believe this was a ploy so that after this, at least none of the ad-hoc teachers who has been very poorly graded, does not get appointed using his personal connections. You and I may disagree with the tactics, but show me another way they could have prevented that, especially when the VC clearly does not have their trust, but still insists on clinging on to the chair. At the end of the day, respect needs to be earned, not given away in charity.
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