College professors...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 16, 2008 7:33 PM GMT
    This is a general advice concern...
    So I'm trying to finish up two of my courses for my degree next semester. I finally get an email back from the professor saying that her course would require too much time and work for me so she won't let me in. She tells me that I wasn't willing to invest the time into my thesis so why would I be willing to invest time into another class of hers.

    Working on my thesis with her...Yes it was hard. Yes I did slack somewhat. I think that if I set up a time to meet with the professor they should take the time to read over my work before I see her. Every meeting I had with her consisted of me taking two hours out of my work day to drive to school and meet with her because she couldn't meet with me at night or the days I had class. We would sit in her office while she printed off my paper that I emailed at least three days in advance.

    So, I was going to meet with her after I graduate to explain to her my point of view. Now I'm kind of upset that she isn't letting me into one of her classes. What should I do?
    It's an extremely small program (I think three of us have this major out of 60,000). I don't want to piss anyone off. Do I talk to the director about it?
    He already knows my concern with some of the faculty, hence, he is more than helpful with any of my needs. Hmmm...
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    Nov 16, 2008 10:30 PM GMT
    Well, I'm not a college professor, but I think you should speak with her. If she's just being a bitch, speak with the director. But just remember that it is at her discretion. It's an unfair part of higher education - the power they have - but there is a reason. There are numerous applicants for colleges or universities and those that make it in need to consider those that didn't. That's why teachers can get demanding and upset at times when they don't see what they consider is your best. I think, no matter what you decide, you should just consider that in your tone and requests of her, or the director. Good Luck!
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    Nov 16, 2008 10:52 PM GMT
    I agree. I would just follow the chain of command. Respect her first, and go to her with the problem. If both parties cannot solve the problem, go the next level up.
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    Nov 16, 2008 11:12 PM GMT
    Well the good thing is that the director knows my frustration that's why he's told me to just bypass them on other matters. It's a very tight, political program. You step on someone's feet the wrong way and you're going feel it until you graduate.
    i.e.)My old professor had seen me at a recital with a guy I was dating. My next lesson he said, "Who was that you were with?"
    Then he went on to say that I was looking very tan and I don't have time to date people. I'm a performer that should be devoting all of my time to practice not to other people or frivilous activities.etc...I left that professor shortly after.

    So, this is the mentality of the program. They expect all hours of everyday spent devoted to studies. Thanks for the advice and reading.
  • spinningguy

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    Nov 16, 2008 11:42 PM GMT
    I am a college instructor and my advice to you is to go back to the professor and ask her what you will need to do to show her that you are dedicated to your degree. She will be the only one to be able to let you in. I promise going to the director first will not get you in where but in bad with her. Start with her explain your goal for graduation and explain that you are willing to put in the effort. You might also suggest that she let you start the class and if you are not making satisfactory progress that she can withdraw you from the class.

    Just my two cents from inside the beltway!
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    Nov 17, 2008 12:25 AM GMT
    Is she tenured?
    If so, is she associate or full professor?

    If not, is she tenure-track?
    Or is she Adjunct?

    Would help me tell you what to do. While I am not a professor I do teach at a university so I know how these things work and I have seen it.

    Like it has been mentioned, talk to her and give it to her straight forward. It is good to be confrontational but it is bad to be caustic. Go in and tell her your side but don't be accusatory, just state the facts.

    "Yes I could have done X better; however I didn't appreciate what appeared to be your lack of interest in my thesis in that you printed it off during our meetings and ..."

    As a teacher, we do things called the Oreo Critique or the compliment sandwich. Your critique of whatever comes in between two compliments. For you, you might want to sandwich your critique of her aide and refusal to allow you in her class with a self-critique or compliment.

    GL
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    Nov 17, 2008 12:47 AM GMT
    Thanks so much. . . These are really good thoughts.
    I'm still working one on one with the director. Don't worry I'm very polite about the situation and professional. He's actually seeing if we can just waive the credits. This would be my ideal, but I'm not counting on it.

    Both of these professors are great teachers but something must have turned them off from me. I think my lack of showing up to class with one professor years ago. I tend to do this with most of my theory classes because it's my major. I still get A's. The one A I did not get was with the stubborn thesis professor.

    Both are also tenured. One is a full professor and the other is associate.

    I'll see what happens this week with all of my efforts.
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    Nov 17, 2008 1:15 AM GMT
    One of the guys I date is a prof and we were just talking about your post. One thing that he pointed out is that two of your professors have told you that you are not applying yourself enough. Also, if this professor doesn't want you in her class, won't she just make your life more miserable if you try to insert yourself into this class? Maybe you should just work on figuring out another option. I mean this in the most constructive way...hope it helps.
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    Nov 17, 2008 1:55 AM GMT
    trainerkp saidOne of the guys I date is a prof and we were just talking about your post. One thing that he pointed out is that two of your professors have told you that you are not applying yourself enough. Also, if this professor doesn't want you in her class, won't she just make your life more miserable if you try to insert yourself into this class? Maybe you should just work on figuring out another option. I mean this in the most constructive way...hope it helps.


    I have to agree

    I have frequently been a contract instructor, and I just completed my own Thesis this past summer.

    If two of your profs have given you the same criticism - especially in a 'small program' - you REALLY need to pay attention and address the problem.

    Find another way to do what needs to be done.

    R
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    Nov 17, 2008 2:02 AM GMT
    debussy81 said I think my lack of showing up to class with one professor years ago.

    There is nothing I hate more than students who don't come to class. It really is rude for us.

    The other thing is that if you are a 'theory' major and are not going to your theory classes, you might want to reevaluate some things.

    I have one student this semester who has missed 9 weeks of school. I called his two English profs (he is an English major) and he has been to class every single day.

    GL
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    Nov 17, 2008 3:34 AM GMT
    First, I am a full professor at San Francisco State University, and I was also Chair of my Department for 8 years. I also was on the Student Grade Appeals Committee as the Chair of that. So I am very familiar with all the stories both students and faculty members tell.

    Something seems to be missing in this one, but I can fill in the blanks.

    Debussy directs our attention to this one professor, yet he states that the Director (I assume he means the Chair of the Department) is familiar with his complaints about other faculty. In short, it's not this one professor....debussy has problems with others. I can believe that one professor might have it in for the OP, but if it seems that there are systematic issues with others, then I am suspicious.

    Second, I also have thesis students. No one is allowed to remain an MS student with me unless they have taken the prerequisite courses. It doesn't matter if they arrive at my office door the semester they are expecting to begin their thesis work....if they have not taken the prerequiste courses, and if they have not passed some of them with a grade of B or better, they can't proceed. That's because the thesis works depends upon the knowledge they had to have mastered in these other courses. I suspect something like this is going on here.

    Third, a faculty member is required to maintain regular office hours and there is a formula for how many hours have to be available for students. In addition, the faculty member is expected to be flexible if a student can't make that office hour. However, a faculty member who has regular day hours is not required to return at night to meet a student, if there really is a good faith attempt to have a wide variety of office hours available (and other discretionary hours).

    Those are the things that occurred to me.

    Now, if there are really unfairness issues at work here, then the student should indeed speak to the Chair, and if the Chair is not responsive, there is the Dean of the College. But.....I am suspicious that there are important facets of this story left out.
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    Nov 22, 2008 2:08 AM GMT
    Here's my update......
    After another week of endless and no response emails, the director emailed me today and decided to just waive the credits. He agrees with my frustration to non cooperating faculty after I forwarded copies of all the emails I have sent to the faculty.
    So the credits are waived.
    Yes I still have class with one of the professors; I'm excited. All in all she's a great professor.

    The other professor I will not have to deal with again. I believe I might email her after I'm finished with my program to explain my need for the professor to be prepared for discussion.

    About coming to class. If there was an attendance policy of course I would go. The thing is I show up to class on test days, set the curve, and my homework is always, always, always done weeks ahead of time. These professors know it's not challenging for me. I don't need to sit in class to listen to a recording of a Beethoven sonata I played ten years ago.

    It WOULD be insulting to me as well. I have taught music for some long years and it is insulting to show up unprepared or not at all. The thing is I would rather spend time in another class that challenges me. This is exactly why I'm not pursuing theory in graduate studies.
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    Nov 22, 2008 2:45 AM GMT
    sounds like you burnt a bridge. that happens... some people- especially professors- just suck. and in some cases, its simply impossible to hide your distain for them. that, in turn, wounds their corpulent egos. happens to us all- i suggest you cut your losses and just find a different class to take... or a better university with more options in the course listings.
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    Nov 22, 2008 2:57 AM GMT
    After being in college for way too many years I've met very different professors along the way. I've come to learn that with some of them you just have to learn how to handle them for how ever long you have them as your teacher.