Harsh Bhasin, Visiting Professor of International Relations, Chair of the Dept. of Asian & Asian-American Studies

The current Chair of the Department of Asian & Asian-American Studies, Ambassador Harsh Bhasin has been a Visiting Professor of International Relations at Stony Brook University since 2001. Before joining Stony Brook, he served as a career diplomat for nearly four decades with overseas assignments that included China, Malaysia, the US, Hong Kong, Nepal, Botswana, South Africa and Denmark. Of these, he served as India’s Ambassador to the last three named countries.

1) How do you use the feedback you receive from your course evaluations?

All constructive feedback (many are frivolous!) that I receive is incorporated into my teaching the following semester and course corrections made wherever necessary.


2) What specific student feedback have you received that has been most helpful for you?

That there is avoidable duplication/overlap in the powerpoint presentations and my accompanying lecture. The proclivity to read off portions from a slide to emphasise an important point.


3) What advice would you give other faculty about incorporating student feedback in teaching?

To try and incorporate as much of the constructive feedback into the next semester — often on a trial basis in the first instance. Sometimes it does not work. For example I am often asked to post my powerpoints BEFORE the lecture rather than afterwards. This results —  as I found out soon enough — in reduced attendance because students feel that if they have the powerpoint, they can skip class at the slightest excuse. I emphasize that the ppt is merely a SUPPLEMENT and not a SUBSTITUTE for a lecture.


4) What strategies have you used to increase response rates on the course evaluations?

Painstakingly explain to students in every class that this is a both a moral obligation as well as a social duty to those after them who would like to choose (or otherwise) this class. I stress that peer advice is the most valuable form of advice they can offer at this stage of their academic career.

5) If you ask additional questions on your evaluations, what questions do you add that might be useful for other faculty?

I have not added any questions because I find the ones listed in the standard format as adequate.