There are coat racks in the new science building, but there are still no pencil sharpeners in the building that houses the mathematics and statistics department. It is no surprise that our school is not a college of national prominence.
There are two reasons we’ll never be touted as one of the nation’s finest colleges. (Next week I’ll explore why it’s hard to be known and respected throughout the country, if all the students and faculty are from the same state.)
We’re simply not as smart as we think. Sure, everyone comes into this school with high SAT scores and in the top percentiles of their class, but by graduation, students leave without developing.
Though most of my conclusions have drawn upon anecdotes, I’ve seen much in my four years as a dual major and taking general education courses in most of the different departments.
I’ve seen students pressure faculty into giving open-book tests. I’ve seen students convince teachers to give less homework, push back tests and curve grades.
I’ve seen students unable to use the basic functions on their calculators, as well as those unable to understand simple elementary words. I’ve even seen papers that include constant misspellings and sentences that hardly flow into each other, abruptly ending every five words. I usually see even the worst papers with marks of B or higher.
It is the basic courses at our college that really leave students unprepared. The writing and speaking classes are often taught by adjunct professors trying to steal a paycheck. The curriculum of these first and second year courses is also vague.
Rhetoric didn’t even teach me how to write a basic research paper. Society, Ethics and Technology could be an interesting course, but focuses on history dating back to before there was technology. Athens to New York could have pertained to history and cultures, but instead drifted among only three or four specific cultures, so that nothing much could be gained.
I’ve heard these complaints from almost every student in the last few years, just expressed differently.
I also witnessed a lot of cheating in these courses. It is evident that some students think research is finding a Web site and copying the material, but professors don’t seem to care too much.
I’ve even seen a student plagiarize an entire speech. Apparently every word was exactly transcribed from a video that she proceeded to show us. The professor somehow missed this blatant wrongdoing and praised the student.
The student should have at least failed the course, if not been expelled from school.
I’ve also seen a student blatantly explain that her mother created her PowerPoint slides for her. Again, this practice is unacceptable at college.
I’m not too fond of PowerPoint for other reasons. We shouldn’t be taught to use it. It puts people to sleep. It’s also an easy way for professors to avoid teaching. Those slides are no different than reading the textbook – it’s a waste of class time.
Unfortunately, these teachers that usually bore students, also take attendance.
Most of our students are lazy and satisfied and do not develop their talents.
It’s also true that our leading department is the school of education. Therefore, significant student research, publication and recognition is rarely sought. Most majors at this school don’t require a major senior project or senior thesis. These papers, if well written, would help give the College more recognition outside the state.
The students sometimes lack commonsense. Often, they can’t perform basic computations or make basic deductions. Some members of the faculty aren’t well-educated.
Some of the professors don’t convey their thoughts well. The administrators are also to blame for setting up poor curriculum standards.
There is no science behind making our school one of the finest in the nation. Faculty must stop treating students like incapable toddlers and force them to work harder. The faculty must also determine better ways to instill knowledge in a captive audience of undergraduates.
The new four credit system is inane. It’s not the progress we need. Rather it’s an opportunity for students to get less work and learn less. I truly doubt it will correct the problems I have mentioned.
Then again, I truly doubt I will be able to sharpen my pencils before a math test this year at The College, which is not the State University of Rutgers nor Princeton University.
Our name and school isn’t really known outside of this fine state, but I suppose I will have to save those complaints for next week.