In my college, the typical role allocation is 40% teaching, 40% research, and 20% service.
On average, student evaluations make up approximately 20% to 30% of the faculty member's overall annual evaluation.
In my view this weighting is a little high, but current students should have some say.
Having said that, I would prefer a different evaluation metric to dominate in my teaching evaluations.
Perhaps the following weighting scheme could be used to evaluate the teaching part of my job: (1/4) current student evaluation; (1/4) peer evaluation [faculty member]; (1/4) outside evaluation [perhaps a local alum who wants to give back to SIU]; (1/4) former student evaluation [poll recent graduates who are 3 or more years out].
Admittedly, this suggestion would be expensive relative to the current system. However, once in place, and if used widely, could be feasible. Former students and alumni would be involved, and therefore, remain attached and interested in how the university is performing.
I believe the benefits would outweigh the costs.
I'm not claiming that this idea is the best idea possible, but it is far better then what SIU is doing today. I have written, back in my "first, fire all the chairmen" orbit, that the chairmen should go into the classroom and watch a class unannounced (like they do at every other level of school). I also suggested that in classes that have common finals, you could easily check final scores against grades to see which teachers are giving a free letter grade or two away (yes, they exist and are considered top teachers based on student evals).What an idea, do a little more work and try to get better results. Great comment Anonymous, you are the first professor who has written an idea of how to improve the situation.
It is hard to disagree with the comment's last line, "I believe the benefits would outweigh the costs."
Your comments are always welcome.