Saturday, May 16, 2015

Professor Gives Christian A Hard Time…Admin Doesn’t Care.

By Professor Doom

     So, last time around, we saw a professor give a student zero after zero on writing assignments, in an era of higher education where it’s extraordinarily rare to give out such grades.

      It’s very clear the professor has an agenda of indoctrination into his own particular mythology, one I won’t honor with a discussion of here. That said, I concede the professor totally has the right to grade as weirdly as he wishes.

     Administration doesn’t care about this sort of thing, what it wants are happy customers, providing those sweet, sweet, student loan checks.

       Are the professor’s customers happy, outside of this one, un-indoctrinated student?

According to the website Rate My Professor, Russum has an overall quality rating of 4.3 and the average grade of an “A.” His page is also adorned with a chili pepper to indicate his physical attractiveness. One student labeled him a Marxist and feminist in 2011.

     Oh, well, there it is, then. A decade ago, I’d get a chili pepper or two, but, alas, those days are past for me (discovering a local grocery store with extraordinary butter cream technology hasn’t helped). I’m a little hit-and-miss on Rate My Professor otherwise, I admit. While Rate My Professor is hardly scientific, neither are the in-class student evaluations. Let’s take, along with a grain of salt, a look at what some of the students had to say:

This professor is great! I took the 12 week course online, It is an easy class if you do the assignments, make sure that you write the acquired amount of sentences if you do not, you will get an F.

--I want to clarify here: all you need to do to pass is write the appropriate number of sentences. And agree with the professor, apparently. This is education?

He spent our first 3 hour class belittling religions and even atheism, while glorifying his beliefs. He says we should "discuss". He just wants us to adopt his contradicting ideas as he shuts down our own.

--anyone get the feeling this student didn’t pass the course?

Took 6 week online summer course. VERY easy as long as you read the chapters, watch the movies and do the essay at the end of the week. He's very particular on # of sentences you write. So make sure you count. Final with 5 pages (for a B) is brutal since its essentially 5 pages on your opinion so make sure you have one.

--again, we’re seeing the same idea here as to what exactly is required of students: write a certain number of sentences, and you’d better agree with the professor. Or else.

He was totally crazy, but as long as you did the work and showed you opinion you got an A,

--Again, definitely seeing a theme.
It's not very difficult to get a good grade in this class. Just show up and do all your work and participate. However, his lectures are very unclear. He tries to push his views on you and dislikes it when you disagree with him. He talks about being a Marxist and a Feminist and makes it seem that everything else is wrong.

--Yeah, ok, we get it. Student evaluations are a pretty feeble tool for judging teaching, but when you see the same issues come up year after year, you have to at least consider that there’s some accuracy to what students are saying.

     I’ve cherry-picked the responses here, but it’s clear this is a relatively easy professor and course. Write a certain number of sentences, agree with him on all counts, and you’re set. A few of the responses make him seem a bit more balanced, but it’s tough to accept that balance when his own course syllabus is so belligerent about his beliefs.

     Despite the zeroes, the student still got an A for the course. The professor isn’t stupid, he knows admin only cares about passing students, after all, and education isn’t on the table.

      The fact still remains, he gave this student outright zeroes for her work expression Christian beliefs. She didn’t turn in blank papers, so he’s definitely being unfair by the standards of most institutions today. I emphasize, he totally has that right…but if admin will step in to protect a cheater against “unfair” treatment, surely they’d do so here. Right?

     So back to the real question: what is administration’s response to behavior towards a Christian student that is easily as unfair as the previous professor’s behavior towards a class nearly full of disrespectful cheaters? The latter were quickly protected by admin.

     Let’s take a look at Polk State’s core values, or so they claim:

Polk State College Core Values
  • Service
  • Integrity
  • Knowledge
  • Diversity
  • Leadership
      There’s that word, “diversity”, that clearly means whatever admin wants it to mean. The primary meaning is that certain groups will receive favored status over other groups, although the usual definition (i.e., the definition normal people use) is to allow and consider other elements, particularly people, cultures and ideas. Thus, the professor is free to have his belief system…but should be tolerant of other belief systems. Not doing so violates the core value of diversity.

     Will admin be doing anything about this odd advancement of a belief system on students, and odiously unfair treatment of other belief systems? Doing so would require leadership, another core value.

     Let’s take a look at administration’s commitment to their institution’s core values when it’s time to demonstrate. These guys are paid an awful lot of money, so I’m sure they’ll prove their worth:

Dean of Academic Affairs Donald Painter said that he had reviewed the materials presented in Russum’s Humanities 2020 course and “believe[d] them to be appropriate.” Painter apologized that the student and her family found the course materials to be “distasteful,” but said the materials would not be modified.

     Gee whiz, this is a 2000-level, 2nd year course, and all you need to do to get an “A” is write the appropriate number of sentences, and agree with the professor? And the Deanling is perfectly fine with this. Yes, that’s what higher education looks like today for many courses. I ask quite a bit more than that in my second year courses, for what it’s worth, but I accept that things are different on the indoctrination side of campus.

     The Deanling finds nothing wrong with the course, despite serious issues with diversity there for all to see. But what about persecution of a Christian? Maybe we’ll see some leadership in that regard? Let’s see:

“Polk State College officials said the school's legal counsel is reviewing the issue but declined to comment…”

      This is an interesting counterpoint to previous professor’s act of unfairness. Students can be insulting and cheat, and admin will immediately swoop to the rescue if it feels the cheaters are being treated unfairly, while another student with Christian beliefs can’t be spared unfair treatment without administration first consulting with lawyers. Hmm.

      The lawyers did respond, in detail, to the allegations. It’s a pretty thorough response, roughly summarized as “shut up”. The lawyers (and administration) agree with me that the professor totally has the right to grade however he wishes, and that absolutely includes practices that are distinctly unfair. The legal precedent for this is very strong…odd that it didn’t seem to apply for the previous professor, however.

      I’ve often been told that higher education has been taken over by people with an agenda, an agenda that has nothing to do with education. I don’t know if I’m ready to agree with “taken over”, but it’s tough to look at what’s happening and not concede that, yeah, there’s plenty of indoctrination going on here, and the above shows that, when it comes to doing anything that might interfere with indoctrination, there’s a distinct double standard going on.

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