Have one on me, Professor!
Wow. Having high standards will apparently get you yanked from teaching your own course at Louisiana State University (h/t Inside Higher Ed). Yes, that’s right: an introductory course (!) for which the faculty member volunteered (!!!). Well, as they say: no good deed goes unpunished, right friends?
Dominique G. Homberger won’t apologize for setting high expectations for her students.
The biology professor at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge gives brief quizzes at the beginning of every class, to assure attendance and to make sure students are doing the reading. On her tests, she doesn’t use a curve, as she believes that students must achieve mastery of the subject matter, not just achieve more mastery than the worst students in the course. For multiple choice questions, she gives 10 possible answers, not the expected 4, as she doesn’t want students to get very far with guessing.
Students in introductory biology don’t need to worry about meeting her standards anymore. LSU removed her from teaching, mid-semester, and raised the grades of students in the class. In so doing, the university’s administration has set off a debate about grade inflation, due process and a professor’s right to set standards in her own course.
But, “[t]he class in question is an entry-level biology class for non-science majors!” Who said that–a complaining student? An outraged Sophomore who’s sure this grade is going to screw her chances for med school? No–it’s a quote from a statement by Kevin Carman, dean of the College of Basic Sciences at LSU! Awesome! Who the hell thinks that “entry-level” classes for “non-science majors” should mean “gut class?” If low expectations weren’t a clearly articulated expectation of the biology deparment and the College of Basic Sciences for their entry-level courses (which of course always have more non-majors than majors), then I call bullcrap on this. Continue Reading »