The initiative of certain universities to reward the professors who have been distinguished either by stellar student evaluations or because their academic research has contributed to the reputation of their universities is laudable for many reasons.
It is useful because despite the feverish efforts of ruling SYRIZA to besmirch the concept of excellence, these universities have shown that they retain their autonomy as institutions which have excellent academics that pursue knowledge and thought.
It is also useful because the academic community demonstrated that it does not fear evaluation even by the toughest critics, their students.
It welcomes evaluation as part of academic life and as an element that is integrally linked to improving the quality of studies and of the university’s operation more generally.
Moreover, evaluation is beneficial because it contributes to democratisation and equality. Professors judge the performance of students even as the students evaluate their instructors’ performance.
It would be well if universities around the country were to heed the example of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and of the Athens University of Economics and Business, both for the substance and the symbolism of the initiative.
In this manner, state universities demonstrate that they are not imbued with a nonchalant civil service mentality, that they are not afraid of being judged, and that they are dedicated to a perpetual quest for knowledge, which is their proper role.