Ben Pettis

Observations and Evaluations


Summary of Comments:

Fall 2019

Observed by Dr. Tom Dunn, director of the Basic Course in Public Speaking
  • Pre-class: quiet (day after Halloween); attendance improved as class went on
  • Began with preview of class and addressed general questions
  • Used a lot of reframing of questions and points to elicit class participation
  • You deliver a significant amount of course content in the conversation about the TedTalk clip. This is advanced teaching at work - bravo!
  • Good mix of concepts and practical advice
  • Nice job thinking and adjusting in the moment to make the most of teaching opportunities

Spring 2019

Observed by Dr. Tom Dunn, director of the Basic Course in Public Speaking
  • You start the class off with a bang – getting people’s attention, presenting the day’s agenda, laying out upcoming deadlines, and raising the energy in the room. This works well! And your students really appreciate how you keep them on track.
  • You teaching persona is excellent: conversational, friendly, knowledgeable, engaging, and encouraging. And you clearly know the course content and assignments inside and out.
  • Your brainstorming activity was quite well done. It had a clear aim, connected to the students’ needs and the day’s topic, moved progressively, included individual and group work, and asked students to report out. Bravo!
  • Students asked questions freely and sought clarification as necessary. You created a welcoming and supportive space to do so and answered questions with genuine concern and good answers.

Student Evaluations

Average Scores and Selected Written Comments:

Fall 2020

Overall average: 6.41 (out of 7) with 49.25% overall response rate
  • I think he was super engaging and respectful of each of his students opinions. I always feel very welcome in his class to share any answer even if I am unsure of it and he would help guide you in the right direction if you're a little off.
  • Very enthusiastic and encouraging toward students' contributions to class. Made class objectives and expectations clear which was really helpful when preparing for discussion section each week.
  • I felt that Ben did at great job at initiating interesting discussions and allowed us to think more in depth on the material we were studying. He was also very helpful whenever we had questions
  • Great! Really friendly and good at connecting our thoughts to the class material, the way a discussion ought to.
  • Ben's engaging and encouraging nature made me (and likely other students) feel very comfortable contributing ideas to discussion

Spring 2020

  • Ben was very good. I felt like his teaching and speaking styles were very good and he handled the transition to online very well. He improved my confidence in public speaking and I appreciate his instruction in this course
  • He always made sure that we had all our resources, and he understood that the class is something that most people are not comfortable with. Even though it was a class that you had to grow in, the expectations were reasonable and comfortable as well.
  • When the whole pandemic thing went down, he was very kind and flexible about everything. You can tell that he wants the class to succeed and truly get something out of it.

Fall 2019

  • I believe he wants us to know what the university has planned for SPCM 200. He knows that this class isnt one most people want to take and I appreciate that he attempts to make it more interesting and engaging and try and relate it into our future.
  • Having feedback as quickly as possible is critical in classes like this as if there is no feedback or it doesn't happen before the next assignment and I received a bad grade on the last one I don't know where I went wrong and how to do better. Therefore, how quick feedback in this class was was truly appreciated and critical to my success
  • Ben was very responsive to the class and showed a genuine interest in the class, the students and in being there.
  • Ben Pettis was an amazing instructor that made me feel heard, understood, and valued. Whenever anyone would speak up, he would validate their perspective and continue the discussion with their thought in mind.
  • Ben understands the student experience and translates that to his grading promptness and lecture style.

Spring 2019

  • Considering that our class was at 8 in the morning and a public speaking class is difficult to help motivate students (especially college students) to participate and come to class, Ben did a fantastic job. I had no issues with Ben and the way he taught and if I was to rate his instructing ability I would give it a 10/10.
  • Ben made it very clear and was very helpful with providing the information that was needed and walked us through and helped with some examples. Like when we would look at the sample speeches and grade it ourselves was really helpful to know what we needed to do and what we needed not to do.
  • Instructor communicates all information we need to know. He provides an inclusive environment and grades fairly on speeches. He is very approachable, so it isn't intimidating when coming to him for help. Provided a really good environment for the type of class it is.
  • This overall is a good course. Ben really made this course great though. He was welcoming and fun and recognized that we are students and emphasized [sic] with that. He was the reason there were so many strengths.

Fall 2018

  • Ben was a great professor and had a great sense of humor. He taught this course well.
  • I am glad many students have to take this course. Public speaking not not always the easiest thing to do when surrounded by strangers. Ben did a great job at helping each of us (those who asked) become a better public speaker and achieve a good grade. Pop quizzes suck but they helped me understand and made me read the book, I know other instructors did online quizzes so the students really didn't have to try. Again, I am glad Ben was my instructor and hope he can teach classes in the future.
  • Ben was a great instructor. Class sessions were informative and his feedback on our speeches was fantastic and extremely helpful!