Student Assessment of Professors in Revolutionary Context. Case-Study: The History Faculty of the University of Bucharest (1989-1990)

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Abstract

Student assessment of professors emerged in the context of university democratization and increasing involvement of students in the management of the higher education institutions. It was institutionalized mainly as an instrument to gradually improve the quality of teaching, and only rarely used as an element determining the hiring and firing of the academic staff. In Romania, it came to the forefront only in the context of the Revolution of December 1989, when students started to question the competence of their professors and asked for the removal of those whom they considered unfit. The article focuses on the concrete case of the “black list” issued by the history students in the University of Bucharest, and on the way this revolutionary challenge shaped the institutional governance and the further development of the Faculty of History. The analysis refutes attempts to consider this episode as a politically-motivated purge and to integrate it in the master-narrative of post-communist lustration. While highlighting the particularities of this case, which allowed to professionally-motivated students to initiate a major reshuffle in the functioning of a higher education institution, the authors argue that such a synthetical evaluation pattern may in fact be one of the not so uncommon ‘revolutionary’ paths towards establishing a regulated system of student assessment of professors.

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