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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 18, 2024

How to stalk a prof

\God! How much are they paying this guy?!"" 


Everyone has had this thought while some professor has rambled incoherently on the importance of wavelet analysis or the modern day analogies of the work of Hans Christian Andersen. 


What most people don't know is they can find out exactly how much their professors are paid and more. 


Gone are the days when the only way to find out something about your college professor was to randomly ""Google"" them. With just a few clicks on a keyboard a student who really wants to find the dirt on an instructor, whether out of hate or boredom, can get an address, property value, home phone number, salary, previous criminal record and student ratings. 


The Internet has taken transparency of government to a new realm of effectiveness and professors and other UW System administrators, as employees of the state, have a large part of their personal information out in the public sphere. 




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The Madison city Web site allows visitors to search for the property value of any building in the city by name or address. The assessor's Web site is 


Want to know if your liberal political science professor who complains about the disparity in living situations of third world countries practices what she preaches? Or does she live in a quarter of a million dollar home on Madison's west side? 


Or how about trick-or-treating at UW-Madison's hockey Head Coach Mike Eaves' $267,100, two-bedroom, three-bathroom home? 


City Assessor Ray Fisher said the system is in place so people can make sure they are getting a fair deal from the government, since property taxes are based on how much a house is assessed at. 


""The main reason for the system is to ensure transparency in the government,"" he said. ""It's an excellent system."" 


When it comes to how much your professor makes, the UW System lays out its whole budget, including teacher salary in its annual ""Red Book."" The material can be found online at  


UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley makes more than $250,000 per year, while Dean of Students Luoluo Hong is paid $113,834. 


Professors are paid anywhere between the upper $30,000 to more than $100,000.  


""I think for people who are paid with tax dollars it is perfectly reasonable for the public to know how those tax dollars are spent and on whom,"" said Robert Drechsel, UW-madison journalism professor, who himself is paid $84,064. 


""It's all just part of the overall importance of government being open and transparent as possible. It facilitates the public in making judgements,"" Drechsel said. ""It used to be that you had to go the library to see who got paid what, now a lot of it is on the Internet."" 






Want to find out if your professors have any skeletons in their closets? The Wisconsin Circuit Courts provides an online answer to your questions at 


Anything illegal that anyone has done in any Wisconsin county is recorded here.  


Speeding tickets, civil law suits, battery charges, providing alcohol to minors, literally anything and everything is listed. 


This is especially fun to do even on non-university related individuals or simply a good precautionary measure to undertake before going on a blind date. 


Though it would be fun to list individual professors' past sins, there would be no way to effectively randomly select just one or two to display, so we'll leave it up to you to search this yourself. 






Remember those glorious days toward the end of the semester when your professor had to leave the room and you got your chance to write what you really felt them? 


Well those evaluations were not just thrown in the trash afterwards. In fact, departments use them to help with deciding which professors will be tenured and which teaching assistants will be rehired. 


But more importantly, the results can be found online on the Associated Students of Madison's Web site at 


Though the last accessible evaluation is the fall of 2003, the site breaks down information by class and professor; and then ranks how stimulating the class is, how available and organized the professor is and the overall benefit of the course. 


ASM has been posting the information since the late 1990s, using open record laws to gain access to the information. And though they would love to be more involved in the actual writing of the evaluation, they are happy to keep students up to date on their peers' opinions, according to Ashok Kumar, ASM Academic Committee Chair. 


""Here's this open book of information that's being done regardless-Why shouldn't students be able to look at them?"" he said. 


Although departments do not give up the material easily, because they believe students will automatically rate harder instructors lower, Kumar said the data shows this is not true. 


""They say, 'Oh, if the professor is easy they get a higher score.' And that's just is absolutely not the case,"" Kumar said. ""It really matters who connects better and what type of professor you're really into."" 


So if you swear you have the best teacher in the world, you can check out what your peers thought and compare your perspectives. 






So you used all the Web sites and found out your teacher was a saint with no criminal record, average pay, a modest house and the best ranking of any of your other instructors, and now you want to tell this wonderful person exactly what you think. 


To find a professor's phone number and e-mail is as simple as hopping on UW-Madison's Web site at 


If that does not provide you a home number use You should already have the address from the assessor's Web site if you wanted to send a real letter. 


Just remember thank you letters are just as important sometimes as hate mail.

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