On Vice

I've been told that it's now open season for grad students who have a desire to exact vengeance upon evil/disorganized Professors.

A bunch of us got unexpectedly low grades in the class that I hated/liked most last semester, the one which consisted mostly of translating and organizing an unending barrage of weekly e-mails and additional assignments that were sometimes in total contradiction of the course outline. There's a lynch mob forming.

I have no desire to have another professor read my essay, (which, as "creative" and fun to write as it was, is probably worth the B it got at best,) but the fact that there was no feedback or work returned for any other parts of the class (and the fact that the syllabus we got at the beginning of the year makes no mention of grading at all) is something that needs to be called to the attention of University administration.

So, I can be vindictive about the whole thing and write nasty letters to important people about the way the course was taught, and feel guilty because the prof. in question seems to be a very nice person despite any of her other failings...
Or...
I can bombard the prof. in question with letters asking for an explanation of my course grade until she agrees to change it just to make me go away, and feel more exhausted than when I was doing all of that meaningless work in the class...
Or...
I can choose not to say or do anything, and intensify the sense of emptiness that fills all of my University-related nightmares.

*Waugh*

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

tough call. but maybe there's a model for this...go to her first and ask for an explanation. if none is forthcoming, set up a meeting with her (there must be a [grad] student advocate on campus, no?). if that doesn't work go to the administration i.e. "over her head". in any case, in the future - if there are any warning bells - don't let it slide but address and clarify your concerns. after all, both of you have/ had responsibilities in this.

e

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, Dan. There is University protocol for this, but it all begins with making an appointment to see her and setting out your objections. After that, you see the Graduate Chairperson, and after that, the Associate Dean. In fact, in a case of real problems such as the ones you describe, I would make an appointment to see her, and then see the Grad Chair no matter what the outcome may be. You are, after all, not simply whining for more marks, but identifying a failing in the course organization which has an impact on other students as well as on you. If the Admin never hears about it, then the root causes can never be addressed. If several people from the class want to see her about this, you might want to go jointly to both her AND the Chair. If the Chair blows you off, then bring out the really big guns in the Dean's Office.
Prof. E.

Daniel Jackson said...

Thanks for the comments and encouragement, you two.
I know all about the protocol, but inevitably it comes down to one of the three outcomes I listed. There's a reason I was given the mark I got, and any kind of appeal to the prof. in question is ultimately a negotiation--s/he has the power to change something, and I've got to give him/her a reason to make that change. That takes time and energy that I have to steal from the other important things that my life is full of. Ultimately, it feels like begging/whining, and even if it's worth the effort (I'm not done with applications for PHD programmes yet...) I hate begging.

As far as my obligation to the administration, I've also already fulfilled that in the course feedback (which was as fair and descriptive as I could make it.) If the chair/dean have read the evaluations, I'm sure they saw this coming.
Stay tuned for further complications.