Is anyone an instructor/admin at a college or university?
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > General Forums > The Lounge & Introductions


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-28-2012, 10:04 PM   #1
Silmarwen
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Silmarwen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Posts: 423
Default

Is anyone an instructor/admin at a college or university?


I'm curious as to what someone in a position of authority at a college might think about this course I'm taking, and the situation I've encountered in it. I've told friends, but most of my friends are also college students, and would naturally side with me thinking that this is patently unfair. Of course, others are welcome to weigh in, as well...

In one of my courses, we have been given the additional assignment of 15 hours of "Academic Service-Learning." This is not in place of the weekly readings, individual presentations, essays, and term paper, but in addition to it. It was not mentioned in the course description at all, nor was there any sort of email sent before the class began regarding the additional requirements.

It is only a 300-level course (I'd understand further work required in, say, a capstone, thesis, or graduate-level course, but not in a 300-level). It is a course that is required for my major, and it is the only section offered this academic year. The professor announced at the beginning of the class, "If you don't have time for the service-learning component, then consider taking another section or putting it off until a later semester."

I am actually quite furious at the situation, since my schedule does not have time for community service at either of the designation institutions (one of which is a 9-5 office). The professor, after I explained my problems with the requirement, informed me that she would not take off points for "being a few hours short" of the requirements, but that she was "Afraid the quality of your final research paper will be affected." Given that she already took two points off of a 50-point essay for a single typo, I'm a little afraid that she will deliberately grade me extra harshly because of my situation.

I physically do not have any available hours open during my days to visit any of the other faculty in the department (including my faculty mentor), but I don't want to take it way over my professor's head and email the Dean or anything. It's stressing me out way more than I have the physical energy for, given other issues with school and work this semester. Does anyone have any thoughts on whether I maybe SHOULD take this to the dean? My professor herself was entirely unsympathetic even when I nearly cried in front of her trying to explain to her how impossible it was for me to finish the hours (it had been an already stressful day).
__________________
"Aquariums are like science, art, and hypno-therapy, all rolled into one," I insisted.
"You're not putting a hundred gallon tank in the living room," my roommate replied.


10g "Community" of nothing but Danios - 2g (barely) planted Betta - 2.5g Betta - 1g Pond Snail Repository

My aquascape style tends towards 'tall in the back, short in the front, lots and lots of green and stuff. And maybe a rock somewhere...'
Silmarwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 10-28-2012, 10:18 PM   #2
mistergreen
No more Bow ties
 
mistergreen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (13/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 13,880
Default

I used to be an adjunct professor.

I'd just take the course from another professor later. If that's not possible, talk to the head of the department about the unexpected work load not outlined in the syllabus. Don't go to the dean for these matters.

Or do the community service. We're talking about 1 hour per week of service.
mistergreen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2012, 10:33 PM   #3
kevmo911
Planted Tank Guru
 
kevmo911's Avatar
 
PTrader: (32/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 3,895
Default

I'm not, and have never been, in a position of authority at a school of higher learning (though I did graduate from college ...eventually). However, there are a few thoughts that crossed my mind:

One, a 300-level class is an advanced class. I would definitely expect extra work, possibly including work that involved traveling beyond campus. There are few situations which require students to take 300-level classes outside their major or minor, and I would expect to possibly have to go "above and beyond" in 300- or 400-level courses.

Two, I can understand the extra 15 hours of "academic service-learning" outside of normal homework, if those 15 hours were (on paper, anyway) in lieu of 15 hours of normal assignments. A semester is maybe 4 months. That means an extra 4 hours a month, or maybe 1 hour a week ...in the vast majority of circumstances, given some planning, this is not much to ask. The head of the department probably knows (and definitely should know) something about this, as it's slightly outside the norm. And they probably signed off on it.

Three (on the other hand), springing this on students after they signed up for, and paid for, and arrived at class, is unfair. Especially since many or most students, depending on the school, work as well as go to school.

And four, if you don't physically have time to take it up with anybody, including your mentor (who I think you implied is in that department?), you're screwed. Make time. If it continues to be unresolved, the department head is next. Unfortunately, if your teacher, your mentor, and your department head disagree with you, then going to the Dean will be totally useless.

And five: You have certain periods of time, during the day, or week, or month, that you can choose to devote to whatever you wish. I understand you have very little free time, but there's rarely any such thing as an inability to make time for something you *have* to do. If the suggested times for this off-campus learning don't coincide with the times you can make available, then why not do a bit of research into institutions which will allow you to do service when you *do* have time? There are still places which function in the wee hours of the night, for example. Or one four-hour Sunday afternoon per month. Then, bring that proposal to your teacher, and see what happens.

Good luck!

*edit* ^+1 to mistergreen. If you can avoid the issue without annoying any of your instructors, all the better. If you're at a big school, switching classes between semesters should be fairly easy. If it's a small school, maybe not so much, but still worth investigating. I went to a small school (<2000), so I pretty much sucked it up when I had to, even after I became an adult student, which is when "life" and "school" didn't overlap nearly as much.

Last edited by kevmo911; 10-28-2012 at 10:53 PM.. Reason: agreement with mistergreen
kevmo911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2012, 12:10 AM   #4
Silmarwen
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Silmarwen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Posts: 423
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
I used to be an adjunct professor.

I'd just take the course from another professor later. If that's not possible, talk to the head of the department about the unexpected work load not outlined in the syllabus. Don't go to the dean for these matters.

Or do the community service. We're talking about 1 hour per week of service.
We were actually only given about 5 weeks within which to complete the hours; the hours are due tomorrow, so it's more or less done with. I have to continue with another hour (min) a week because of the program I switched to when I couldn't finish at the first location, which is frustrating because I offered to switch programs instead of begging off the hours, thinking she'd be glad I tried to take responsibility in finding an alternative, instead of berating me for "not planning well"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
I'm not, and have never been, in a position of authority at a school of higher learning (though I did graduate from college ...eventually). However, there are a few thoughts that crossed my mind:

One, a 300-level class is an advanced class. I would definitely expect extra work, possibly including work that involved traveling beyond campus. There are few situations which require students to take 300-level classes outside their major or minor, and I would expect to possibly have to go "above and beyond" in 300- or 400-level courses.

Two, I can understand the extra 15 hours of "academic service-learning" outside of normal homework, if those 15 hours were (on paper, anyway) in lieu of 15 hours of normal assignments. A semester is maybe 4 months. That means an extra 4 hours a month, or maybe 1 hour a week ...in the vast majority of circumstances, given some planning, this is not much to ask. The head of the department probably knows (and definitely should know) something about this, as it's slightly outside the norm. And they probably signed off on it.

Three (on the other hand), springing this on students after they signed up for, and paid for, and arrived at class, is unfair. Especially since many or most students, depending on the school, work as well as go to school.

And four, if you don't physically have time to take it up with anybody, including your mentor (who I think you implied is in that department?), you're screwed. Make time. If it continues to be unresolved, the department head is next. Unfortunately, if your teacher, your mentor, and your department head disagree with you, then going to the Dean will be totally useless.

And five: You have certain periods of time, during the day, or week, or month, that you can choose to devote to whatever you wish. I understand you have very little free time, but there's rarely any such thing as an inability to make time for something you *have* to do. If the suggested times for this off-campus learning don't coincide with the times you can make available, then why not do a bit of research into institutions which will allow you to do service when you *do* have time? There are still places which function in the wee hours of the night, for example. Or one four-hour Sunday afternoon per month. Then, bring that proposal to your teacher, and see what happens.

Good luck!

*edit* ^+1 to mistergreen. If you can avoid the issue without annoying any of your instructors, all the better. If you're at a big school, switching classes between semesters should be fairly easy. If it's a small school, maybe not so much, but still worth investigating. I went to a small school (<2000), so I pretty much sucked it up when I had to, even after I became an adult student, which is when "life" and "school" didn't overlap nearly as much.
Unfortunately, our professor gave us a choice of two institutions to work with, one of which was the 9-5 office hours (I attend class from 9:30 until noon, and then work 2 until 8pm most weekdays), and the other of which involved intensive one-on-one interaction, which I wasn't comfortable with. She would not consider other institutions--another student asked in class about it.

As I noted in my above reply there; we had 5 weeks to do it in.

I take my understanding of 300-level work from a number of courses I've taken at that level in Japanese, Psychology, and other Anthropology courses, most of which had extra projects and presentations, but none of which required me to go off-campus. My university isn't huge, but it's large enough campus that a significant portion of students have to get by without vehicles, and professors generally understand that, I thought.

I assume I'm overreacting to all of this, but with everything else that's gone on this semester, wrestling with the school over other things and so on, my stress-level has been through the roof. I've gotten sick twice just because my immune system is crap right now, so I'm dreading how thinks are going to be around the end of the semester with finals and so on. This is just one of the few large things that I can pin stress on, you know?

Thanks for your input, though. I do appreciate it. I'm trying to rationalize all of this and it does help hearing other points of view.
__________________
"Aquariums are like science, art, and hypno-therapy, all rolled into one," I insisted.
"You're not putting a hundred gallon tank in the living room," my roommate replied.


10g "Community" of nothing but Danios - 2g (barely) planted Betta - 2.5g Betta - 1g Pond Snail Repository

My aquascape style tends towards 'tall in the back, short in the front, lots and lots of green and stuff. And maybe a rock somewhere...'
Silmarwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2012, 12:36 AM   #5
kevmo911
Planted Tank Guru
 
kevmo911's Avatar
 
PTrader: (32/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 3,895
Default

Okay, I understand your position a bit better now. I would not change my previous suggestions, but I would add that:

If you're really sure this is a problem for you, go immediately to your mentor and/or department head. I would still suggest that you go to your instructor with a concrete alternative (something you've discussed with the potential recipient of your service) and see what he/she says. If he/she doesn't agree with the alternative, and that alternative seems to be in line with exactly what the professor wants, then I'd suggest you go to your mentor and/or department head.

A 300-level class, as I said, is an advanced class, regardless of your experiences. In many, or most, cases, being uncomfortable with 1-on-1 interactions may be an acceptable reason to petition an instructor for an alternative assignment. However, in many other cases (sociology, anthropology, psychology, or any civil service or education field, for example), 1-on-1 interaction is (or should be) necessary for graduation (a case worker with zero social skills, for example, is utterly useless to any society). I don't know what your major is, so that inclusion may help.

One more time: drop this class and retake it with another professor if it is at all possible.
kevmo911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2012, 12:55 AM   #6
Silmarwen
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Silmarwen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Posts: 423
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
Okay, I understand your position a bit better now. I would not change my previous suggestions, but I would add that:

If you're really sure this is a problem for you, go immediately to your mentor and/or department head. I would still suggest that you go to your instructor with a concrete alternative (something you've discussed with the potential recipient of your service) and see what he/she says. If he/she doesn't agree with the alternative, and that alternative seems to be in line with exactly what the professor wants, then I'd suggest you go to your mentor and/or department head.

A 300-level class, as I said, is an advanced class, regardless of your experiences. In many, or most, cases, being uncomfortable with 1-on-1 interactions may be an acceptable reason to petition an instructor for an alternative assignment. However, in many other cases (sociology, anthropology, psychology, or any civil service or education field, for example), 1-on-1 interaction is (or should be) necessary for graduation (a case worker with zero social skills, for example, is utterly useless to any society). I don't know what your major is, so that inclusion may help.

One more time: drop this class and retake it with another professor if it is at all possible.
It's not going to be offered again until next fall, and I'm supposed to graduate (already two years late) in May... So dropping and re-taking is NOT an option, or I would have done it at the very beginning...

That being said, although my major IS Anthropology, I'm more interested in ethnology (compilation and interpretation of research) than ethnography (the stuff you spend years in other countries talking to people for). My real interest is cyber-social constructs (in-game clans and guilds in MMORPGS and such), but that's not a "thing" yet, so I'm doing what I can. Truly, one's major means nothing anymore.

Anyway, the "project" is over (my 4-page reflection about--due tomorrow--is kind of what prompted this post), and all that's left is the 10-page paper (which isn't horrible by any stretch) due at finals. I'm just concerned that, given the tone of her voice when she bequeathed upon me the privledge of being a tiny bit short on hours, she's going to grade my paper somewhat unfaily.

I already have one teacher who hates me (Long story short, she singled me out in a silent classroom to inform me that I was distracting her by smiling at my computer in the absolute back of the room), whose class I'm afraid for my grade in (despite acing the quizzes so far). I don't really need another. I HAVE been trying, honestly--I could have dropped everything, slept away my Wednesday afternoons, and forged my hours sheet. I'm trying to be honest about this, and I feel somewhat punished for it, plus the threat of "not having a final paper up to par" is just sort of killing my soul a bit.

I keep telling myself "I can do this," but after six years of emotional, financial, and academic stress, I'm ready to give up and become a hobo or a zombie or a bank robber.
__________________
"Aquariums are like science, art, and hypno-therapy, all rolled into one," I insisted.
"You're not putting a hundred gallon tank in the living room," my roommate replied.


10g "Community" of nothing but Danios - 2g (barely) planted Betta - 2.5g Betta - 1g Pond Snail Repository

My aquascape style tends towards 'tall in the back, short in the front, lots and lots of green and stuff. And maybe a rock somewhere...'
Silmarwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2012, 01:36 AM   #7
mistergreen
No more Bow ties
 
mistergreen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (13/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 13,880
Default

Well, you're 5 weeks in. It's too late to have issues with it now. You signed up for the class and have an obligation to finish it or it'll be a waste of money.

Usually having a group of students with the same issue to confront the prof usual helps. If you're the only one, it's tough.
mistergreen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2012, 02:02 AM   #8
Silmarwen
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Silmarwen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Posts: 423
Default

Nobody in the class was expecting or is liking having to cope with the project, but we're actually eight weeks into the semester (we didn't get full info on the project until week 3 anyway), so nobody really has a choice.

I'm coping. I'm just really, really unhappy, since I was told by people who have taken the class before that it was an easy course, which complimented the two 400-levels I was expecting to be (and which are) quite intense. Prof told us this was the first class to have the service-learning requirement, though, so ugh.
__________________
"Aquariums are like science, art, and hypno-therapy, all rolled into one," I insisted.
"You're not putting a hundred gallon tank in the living room," my roommate replied.


10g "Community" of nothing but Danios - 2g (barely) planted Betta - 2.5g Betta - 1g Pond Snail Repository

My aquascape style tends towards 'tall in the back, short in the front, lots and lots of green and stuff. And maybe a rock somewhere...'
Silmarwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2012, 02:24 AM   #9
mistergreen
No more Bow ties
 
mistergreen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (13/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 13,880
Default

Profs have the right to change the course of the class to what they think is best to teach the course. I did it all the time.

We had to do 10 - 15 hours of community service (political campaigning) in high school history class. I thought it was great in hindsight.
mistergreen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2012, 03:11 AM   #10
mach_six
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: North NJ
Posts: 660
Default

Sounds like you need to change schools.
mach_six is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2012, 01:36 PM   #11
Silmarwen
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Silmarwen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Posts: 423
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
Profs have the right to change the course of the class to what they think is best to teach the course. I did it all the time.

We had to do 10 - 15 hours of community service (political campaigning) in high school history class. I thought it was great in hindsight.
I would understand changing a book, topics, etc.; but something that adds so much extra work (because all of this is in addition to weekly article readings/discussion, plus our papers and individual presentations) should be offset or balanced by reducing something elsewhere. I suppose that's just me, though?

If I had been given enough warning to plan properly, I think it's a fine project. High school, though, I'm curious as to how that worked out. Then again, I went to a tiny high school in a relatively poor rural area, so a project like that wouldn't be really feasible, perhaps.
__________________
"Aquariums are like science, art, and hypno-therapy, all rolled into one," I insisted.
"You're not putting a hundred gallon tank in the living room," my roommate replied.


10g "Community" of nothing but Danios - 2g (barely) planted Betta - 2.5g Betta - 1g Pond Snail Repository

My aquascape style tends towards 'tall in the back, short in the front, lots and lots of green and stuff. And maybe a rock somewhere...'
Silmarwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2012, 03:17 PM   #12
Silmarwen
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Silmarwen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Posts: 423
Default

Furthermore, I feel like a total ass now, since after hours of angry writing, my classmate informs me that the paper is due NOVEMBER 28, not October 28. Not sure how I did that.

So. My entire argument crumbles around my ears. I'm still concerned about my final paper, and it's still too late to do anything further regarding changing the assignmnet. Blegh.

Still stressed, but now I'm also angry at myself for flipping out over something that wasn't worth flipping out over at the moment. Yay.
__________________
"Aquariums are like science, art, and hypno-therapy, all rolled into one," I insisted.
"You're not putting a hundred gallon tank in the living room," my roommate replied.


10g "Community" of nothing but Danios - 2g (barely) planted Betta - 2.5g Betta - 1g Pond Snail Repository

My aquascape style tends towards 'tall in the back, short in the front, lots and lots of green and stuff. And maybe a rock somewhere...'
Silmarwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2012, 05:59 PM   #13
etgregoire
Planted Member
 
etgregoire's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 280
Default

Sorry that you have to deal with all of that - it doesn't sound like fun. If I could be so bold to share 2 thoughts I was having though...

1 - You said it turns out this thing wasn't worth flipping out about. I have been finding out lately that actually most things in life aren't worth flipping out about. Someone said to me yesterday "I have been through so many life threatening and dangerous situations in my life and none of them have ever happened to me." I know it's not always that easy... but if it's any help.

2 - I have found that in hindsight school was actually a lot easier than the real world can be. Somehow it just feels worse at the time. We did projects that we had a week to work on in school that I have a half day or day to do at my job now, and it's actually easier than when I was in school. It will all come together, I'm sure!!

Good luck.
etgregoire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2012, 05:34 AM   #14
MCHRKiller
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
MCHRKiller's Avatar
 
PTrader: (40/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 812
Default

I work randomly as an adjunct professor...I will say that some specific requirements of the course are mandatory and I cannot waive the requirement for any student or change the details on the requirement. For each course we have 3 mandatory "signature" assignments, these are non-negotiable for me and the student. We also must also incorporate a few additional assignments depending on the course.

I am a believer in field work, for my graduate degree I did over 1000 hours of non-paid volunteer based work relative to my chosen area of study. It sucked...full time student, full time employee, and doing 1000 hours of volunteer work. The thing is...it was hard, but you learn how to manage your time and you get a lot of first hand experience and knowledge that you would never get sitting in a classroom. Class work only barely skims the surface of what you will need to learn to be proficient at a skilled profession...first hand experience is where you learn. Even if your volunteer work is not specifically what you want to ultimately do you can still take a lot of experience from that and apply it in the future.
__________________

150G|100G|50G|20G|10G|10G

~Jenn
MCHRKiller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2012, 08:49 AM   #15
Silmarwen
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Silmarwen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Posts: 423
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by etgregoire View Post
Sorry that you have to deal with all of that - it doesn't sound like fun. If I could be so bold to share 2 thoughts I was having though...

1 - You said it turns out this thing wasn't worth flipping out about. I have been finding out lately that actually most things in life aren't worth flipping out about. Someone said to me yesterday "I have been through so many life threatening and dangerous situations in my life and none of them have ever happened to me." I know it's not always that easy... but if it's any help.

2 - I have found that in hindsight school was actually a lot easier than the real world can be. Somehow it just feels worse at the time. We did projects that we had a week to work on in school that I have a half day or day to do at my job now, and it's actually easier than when I was in school. It will all come together, I'm sure!!

Good luck.
Well, I've always figured that the "real-world" is going to suck worse than college, but at least there you're getting paid instead of paying to be overworked... It will all come together eventually, I guess, I just can't see it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MCHRKiller View Post
I work randomly as an adjunct professor...I will say that some specific requirements of the course are mandatory and I cannot waive the requirement for any student or change the details on the requirement. For each course we have 3 mandatory "signature" assignments, these are non-negotiable for me and the student. We also must also incorporate a few additional assignments depending on the course.

I am a believer in field work, for my graduate degree I did over 1000 hours of non-paid volunteer based work relative to my chosen area of study. It sucked...full time student, full time employee, and doing 1000 hours of volunteer work. The thing is...it was hard, but you learn how to manage your time and you get a lot of first hand experience and knowledge that you would never get sitting in a classroom. Class work only barely skims the surface of what you will need to learn to be proficient at a skilled profession...first hand experience is where you learn. Even if your volunteer work is not specifically what you want to ultimately do you can still take a lot of experience from that and apply it in the future.
I understand that courses are REQUIRED to have something to grade (Otherwise, my entire CHL137 course would have been just random Harry Potter discussions), but the "Service-Learning" wasn't anywhere in the course description. That's mostly what gets me, I guess. It was sort of sprung on us out of nowhere.

I know classwork itself does nothing really to prepare you for anything, but I don't feel that the projects we're doing is really valuable experience anyway. One of our options would have had us answering phones, "fundraiser prospecting," and stuffing envelopes, and the other (the one I switched to) has us meeting with some random international student once a week to (as in my case) bake cookies.

I guess I've always had this vision in my head of myself doing some sort of solitary, mind-numbing data-entry for the rest of my life, none of which really requires a whole lot of "experience" dealing with much.
__________________
"Aquariums are like science, art, and hypno-therapy, all rolled into one," I insisted.
"You're not putting a hundred gallon tank in the living room," my roommate replied.


10g "Community" of nothing but Danios - 2g (barely) planted Betta - 2.5g Betta - 1g Pond Snail Repository

My aquascape style tends towards 'tall in the back, short in the front, lots and lots of green and stuff. And maybe a rock somewhere...'
Silmarwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:19 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012