A philosopher writes:
My colleagues and I are conducting a job search for a tenure-track position. Several of the dossiers submitted to us have included letters of recommendation written by the job candidate's former students and speaking highly of the candidate's teaching ability. This is a new phenomenon to us; we have conducted several searches in recent years and have never before encountered recommendation letters written by students.
Among my colleagues, opinion has been divided, with some feeling indifferent about the letters, and two feeling quite displeased about them. (I suppose the negative reaction stems from worries about the job candidate cherry picking class favorites and soliciting letters from them, or even pressuring them into writing one.)
I wonder (a) how often your readers who have served on recent job search committees have encountered letters like this; and (b) what they have felt about such letters (did they hurt the candidate's chances, help them, or make no difference)?
My inclination is that it is a bad idea to include student letters of recommendation, since their probative value is extremely limited, certainly when compared to anonymous class evaluations. What do readers think?