Quality teaching?

By Gus Bode

Dear Editor:

Last Monday, a faculty member finally returned to me three of the five assignments (one not graded and two graded) from a class I took from her one year ago. I completed REHB 521, Vocational Development/Placement in spring 2006. I asked for my graded papers twice – once by e-mail and once in a visit to her office with another student in June 2006. She said she did not have them available to give to us, nor did she have her grade book with her to tell us our grades.

On Aug. 2, 2006, I met with the interim director of the Rehabilitation Institute to ask for his intervention in the return of my graded papers. In defense of the faculty member, he questioned my motives for wanting the papers. His comment to me and the two other people present in the meeting was, “Why, I know professors who haven’t graded papers in years.” I sent him an e-mail on Sept. 7, 2006, asking about the status of my request, and his reply was, “You may certainly see your graded materials.” So, several more letters and e-mails later, and seven months after September 2006, I received my papers.

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The vast majority of the faculty with whom I have been privileged to work and learn have been exemplary teachers. However, I believe my experiences with the teacher of REHB 521, a few other faculties and the director of the institute raise the following questions:

– Doesn’t a professor have an obligation to grade and return assignments to their students in a timely manner?

– Where are the teaching responsibilities of faculty to students documented? Examples of shirking responsibilities include inadequate or lack of preparation for class; testing students on materials taught from a previous textbook, by another teacher, with different course content and objectives; consistently dismissing students an hour early in a three-hour graduate course; and assigning student projects for an entire semester to obviate the need to teach.

– What prevents a faculty person from watching students complete course evaluations, and then collecting them and delivering them to the departmental office?

The course syllabus states expectations and requirements for students, as does the Student Conduct Code. Where does one find the description of reciprocal responsibilities?

Emily Timpe

graduate student in rehabilitation counseling

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