Monday, December 10, 2007

This school was here before you came, and it'll be here before you go.

To sum up once and for all, the big problems in academia, as I see them are:

1. Money-pit sports programs,
2. Top-heavy organizational structure,
3. Over-reliance on temps, adjuncts, and grad-student teachers,
4. Massive, widespread Grade inflation,
5. Tuition inflation,
6. And a widespread belief that #5 justifies #4.

Here a Woman of Color PhD details just how difficult it can be to buck the grade inflation trend and reap the whirlwind of aggrieved students in return. Ah yes, the joys of grading. I remember one student who came to my office hours every week for an entire semester to try to convince me that his essay on how the fall of the Roman Empire was the result of the Industrial Revolution (seriously) was worthy of an A+ and I was just too blind to see it.


Holly said...

the fall of the Roman Empire was the result of the Industrial Revolution

I don't suppose you have a copy of this essay?

Rufus said...

No, the student has it. I assume he's somewhere in a bar right now trying to convince the drunks that it's brilliant.

prof black woman said...

Just as I am sure the drunks and possibly his parents & the dean he went to told him the same thing.

Rufus said...

Yeah, who knows? He might have been the student who got me in trouble with the gen ed admins for, supposedly, "caring too much about teaching World Civ". That was the actual complaint- you just can't make this shit up.

Holly said...

That's a shame, I'd really like to see that paper. I'm sure it is brilliant (comedy, that is).

Whatever happened to the good old days, where it was a mark of professionalism to give a shit about the explicit task at hand? When did that become some kind of moral failing??

Rufus said...

You get this sort of general lowering of expectations at a number of universities. The instructors don't really want to teach and the students don't really want to work hard and the administrators don't really want to upset the status quo. Act like this stuff actually matters and you piss 'em all off.

gregvw said...

This anecdote was is a compelling argument for corporal punishment.

Rufus said...

Yes, I have something very special planned for these students... Nyah-ha-ha!!