April 30th, 2008

diarmuid

In continuing the "college is not for some people" thread

Teaching in college is not for some people

I understand that her spewing "postmodern" this-and-that in her speech means she's unemployable except at liberal arts colleges/universities, where she'd be expected to teach, but at this point the proper response is not a lawsuit (I wonder if/how she managed to get a lawyer to file this for her) but a re-evaluation of career.

Yes, honey, you have a Ph.D. in uselessness, and the world might be better off if you worked at Starbucks.

Of course, if you page down that post and start reading the comments, you will see a few other stories of incompetent college teachers. Luckily, I had only one of those at State, because it was a required course for my major (and the teacher was a senior tenured prof in the dept) - I don't even remember his name at this point, but as the scores were pretty abysmal for everybody, I still ended up with an A. I almost got stuck in another crap class, but I realized it quickly, and dropped it the first week.

The lawsuit angle is a new twist, but the crappiness of the lecturer (Ph.D.!) is not new. Because in most colleges (not all, of course), they don't give a rat's ass how well the undergrads are taught. They certainly don't care how the tenure track faculty teach (it's all about the publications/grants), and how well the grad students teach is only marginally cared about. I had to report a couple of TAs at NYU who weren't showing up to lead their morning recitation sections, but as far as I know, nothing happened to them.

Tenure decisions have nothing to do with teaching evaluations. Accreditation has nothing to do with the quality of education you get either. Accreditation measures only inputs, but it doesn't even measure the input of teaching quality. You get what is measured: how many tenured faculty, how many faculty with Ph.D.s, number of credit hours required for a degree, number of boos in the library, yadda yadda. Caveat emptor.