Teaching Evaluations

Quantitative Evaluation

Below is a table that compiles student evaluations of my teaching from the four most representative courses I have taught at the University of Tennessee and Murray State University.

Qualitative Evaluation

I strive to design my class for students to collaborate with me and each other to create a stimulating learning environment. In this section, I have collated a selection of students’ comments, including some negative ones that helped me to improve my teaching. For example, in response to complaints about certain students dominating class discussions, I took steps to share that challenge with students and formally prohibited students from monopolizing the conversation (see comment below under instructional delivery). Also, in response to criticism of lectures that included too much information (see comment under the learning atmosphere), I took steps to re-organize my lectures.

Comments from Students

Instructional Delivery and Discussion

  • Nikhil is one of the coolest teachers ever!! In a setting that usually relies on rigidity and coldness, Nikhil brings warmth and flexibility to his class. He encourages debate in the class (even against him), and he’s an extremely down to earth sort of guy.
  • I could not have asked for a better sociology instructor [Introduction to Sociology] my first semester on this campus! Nikhil was thorough in all of his lectures, while also being steadily-paced whenever we were in bit of a rush. He was also very, truly understanding when it came to expectations and suggestions of the class as a whole, which was, and still is, very much appreciated.
  • His lectures always connected to something that we could relate to. Dr. Deb was an excellent lecturer and always asked questions that made us engage in conversation. I really enjoyed having him as a professor and I wish I could have him again as a professor in the future.
  • Nikhil Deb is fantastic. By the end of the class [Globalization and Justice], each student was raising their hand to provide their unique take or position on these controversial debates. And to invoke that much passion in the students—with this student culture to just sit and be quiet is remarkable.
  • Try to have something that would increase class participation (not a few students monopolizing). I really liked the way you taught otherwise, you were one of the more laid-back and chill teachers I’ve ever had.
  • Deb was great at explaining and giving us opportunities to talk as a class and listen to different opinions other than our own. This is one of the best ways to stretch thinking.

Learning & Workload

  • Not only was there such a great stimulant towards discussion and thought, but the topics, the topic of this class [Globalization and Justice] was fundamentally awesome. Both in it being controversial, but also of the fundamental curiosity it provoked in our students. Much of it was helpful in reexamining our perspective and how we see the world. To be blunt, both Deb and the content was absolutely fantastic. I think our class understands that. And due to Deb and the content, I have never worked harder on a paper before than in this course. Based on me trying to be as comprehensive and that sound in this complicated realm of worldview. Just thoroughly fantastic.
  • He was one of the nicest professors that I have had. I enjoyed coming to his class. He was always very welcoming to all of his students. He was an all-around good guy who cares for his students. His students are his number one priority in the class. I would for sure take other classes with him.
  • Workload as far as the reading are way too long need more class about the readings.
  • Created an atmosphere of no judgment and did not try or show his political opinions when there was an opportunity that he could have. He challenged you to think outside the box and consider both sides.
  • His willingness to attempt to cater the class towards what the students’ want is great.

Availability and Responses to Students’ Inquiries

  • Professor Deb makes himself very accessible to students and answers emails in a timely fashion. His classroom is always a great environment for discussion, and it is great.
  • Mr. Deb is very quick to reply and help with problems. Probably the best at UT. Also, very interesting class and liked class discussions.
  • Helpful and always responds to emails quickly. Sometimes even within couple of minutes.

Use of Technology

  • His PowerPoints were very helpful in understanding the material and I like how he gave us little quizzes that just went towards participation because then we knew what types of questions he was going to ask on the test.
  • Technology was good and stimulating. He showed helpful documentaries and gave good visual representation of what we were learning.
  • The readings were supported and clarified by a few video clips we all watched in class. The documentaries were eye opening.
  • While it is only an introductory course, I definitely learned a lot with Nikhil’s teaching. He taught topics that we could relate to and always strived to make the course interactive and interesting by using documentaries, articles, and group discussions.

Comments from Professors

As an instructor, Nikhil is first-rate.  Nikhil won the Department of Sociology’s [UTK] graduate teaching award and the Graduate Student Senate Excellence in Teaching Award.  The department’s award is given to a graduate student serving as the instructor of record who posted the highest teaching evaluations for the year.  According to the Century Foundation and other research institutions, instructors of color like Nikhil—particularly those with an accent—typically score much lower than equally competent white, native English-speaking instructors.  Despite this endemic bias, Nikhil still received the Department’s highest teaching scores in a department with exceptionally good teachers.  His written comments from students attest to the genuine concern he has for his students, the respect that he has for them, the care with which he explains complex concepts and his generally warm personality. Stephanie Bohon, Professor and Chair of Sociology, the University of Tennessee.

Nikhil cares about sociology and teaching. He is very comfortable lecturing to a class. He allows questions from students and answers them with sincerity. I must point out that he invites students to ask for clarification if they have trouble understanding anything he discusses. His PowerPoints are very well-designed and consistent with the content and objectives of his class. He will do great as a teacher. His take-home message at the end of the lecture was very useful. Cynthia Anderson, Professor of Sociology and Director of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Ohio University. (This comment was part of evaluations required prior to assigning graduate students to the instructional role at Ohio University)

He started with an opening multiple choice question related to the topic for the day. It soundslike he does this every class period, which is a nice way to have some regular/consistent structure to each class period… way to pique their interest. He got responses from students both in person and via Zoom, which was good to see…discussing the answer to this question, he also referred back to material from a previous class session, which I also thought was nice — showing connections between course material…[then] The lecture/class session moved from an overview of some “basic concepts”, to theories/debates about globalization, to “recent research.” I thought that the content presented was all relevant to the overarching topic of the day, and Dr. Deb clearly is knowledgeable on the subject… He spoke clearly, at a good pace, and repeated himself for clarification/emphasis as needed. His eye contact with students in the classroom was good. He remained at the podium the whole time, but I think that was because he was using the camera on his laptop and trying to also monitor the chat box in Zoom…He repeatedly sought participation from students and checked for their understanding. Alexandra Hendley, Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Political Science & Sociology, Murray State University (from the observation note of my teaching)