TEACHING BUSINESS WAS ONE OF THE WORST EXPERIENCES OF HIS LIFE.
“What they don’t grasp, and what I desperately try to communicate to them is that…yes, there are jobs. But at those jobs, they are expected to work and have mastery over their subject areas. Many of my students seem to simply hate the work. This mystifies me. While I don’t expect every day to be sunshine and roses, I can’t imagine studying something that I hate so much…and then embarking upon a career in the area.”
Yet another commenter, who says he taught business calculus at a university in the southwest, claimed that his experience was among the worst of his life. “I was appalled at the disinterest, lack of motivation and unwillingness to learn that the majority of students exemplified. When asked to perform on exams and demonstrate competency in mathematics many thought it was unfair. Many got angry and challenged me in class. Many never came for help during office hours. Some complained to the administration when they never in fact applied themselves.”
And still another person identifying himself as a “former full-time professor who has taught both graduate and undergraduate students” wrote that the issues in the article “are far more pervasive than inferred. From disconnected and unmotivated students who can come with a false sense of entitlement to faculty who teach the same PowerPoints, read from the same chapters and administer the same tests, higher education is definitely struggling.
STUDENT EVALUATIONS CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROBLEM, CLAIMS A FORMER PROF.
“But there is one other ‘dirty secret,’ which is often overlooked in this formula. That is, the use and widespread misuse of student course evaluations. Schools increasingly use these instruments to manipulate, target and intimidate professors and departments without considering context or the strong research being done on their irrelevance…For schools who hold the career (and income) of a given faculty member in their often unpredictable and agenda-driven hands, placating students to better anticipate their ‘support’ for the faculty on course evaluations has become a huge problem.
“Faculty who encourage thought, challenge their students to move out of their comfort zones, assign challenging assignments and conduct class in a way where students who don’t read or study stand out are punished by way of course evaluations. Those whose assignments are minimal and require less time and whose classes are formulaic are rewarded,” the former professor wrote. “Students are more likely to fill out these forms when they have a complaint rather as opposed to wanting to reward and support a challenging and well-prepared professor.”
IT’S NOT MERELY A U.S. PROBLEM, BUT ALSO AN ISSUE IN INDIA, ACCORDING TO A PROFESSOR.
The issues raised by the article seemed to resonate far and wide. A reader identifying himself as Mahendra Singhvi in Pune, India, said he teaches MBA classes at the Institutes of Business Management and has “personally witnessed a sense of drift in the way the business students perceive their education.” He wrote that “the standards have declined tremendously. There is a sense of decline in interest in the topics of their own chosen specialization fields, and there is a high degree of apathy and indifference. There are too many things competing for the students’ time and energy…and the all-pervasive goal seems to be pursuing corporate recruiters for placement as if this is the only reason for their existence!
“The last semester invariably turns out to be a wash-out experience because the students and the Institutes are both busy chasing the placement artists; the faculty is advised to be sympathetic because the placement of the students is important, regardless of the academic requirements of rigorous thinking and application. It was shocking to know that the situation in the U.S. is now no different from what is happening in India currently,” wrote Singhvi.