The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Professors should learn how to teach

By Adam Kirk

College is expensive, which is why I was confused to find the quality of teaching less, in many regards, than that which I experienced in high school.

With little supervision and teaching assistant students who do all of their grading, many so-called “professors” apply a fraction of the effort their students do to get through the semester.

“I admire how much they know, but I think that many teachers lack the skill of sharing their knowledge with others effectively,” a Weber State University student said.

My other fear is that many quality teachers forget their purpose entirely. On many occasions, I have heard professors say, “The average on this test was too high, which means that it was too easy.” I wonder if the possibility ever crossed their minds that they actually taught the material well and the students learned well.

I have observed teachers paying careful attention to grading statistics, which makes me wonder if a mob of men in suits will come in and haul our teachers away if they hand out too many A’s.

TheU.com, which has conducted 50,000 surveys online of enrolled college students, gave U professors a D+. Yale, of course, was given an A+, Stanford an A and Harvard an A.

According to The Princeton Review, the average GPA at the U is approximately 3.52 and our faculty-to-student ratio is about 14:1. Brigham Young University’s average GPA is about 3.73 and its faculty-to-student ratio is 21:1. Why do we have more teachers per student, but lower grades? The Princeton Review ranked the U No. 11 in schools where “Professors Make Themselves Scarce.”

Seventy-three percent of the U’s full-time and part-time faculty hold doctorate degrees. I don’t think the problem is a lack of knowledge. The teacher training program is where the weakness begins.

The ability to unfold and simplify comes naturally to some. Others need training to teach powerfully and effectively. Should the U reconsider the training required to teach at our school? I think so, and the thousands of dollars I’m paying for my education think so.

Faculty regulations in the U’s policy state that university professors should “carry special recognition of extraordinary skill in university teaching, which crosses conventional boundaries.”

This needs to be a standard, not a dream.

The policy further states that “Individuals considered for appointment to the rank of university professor shall have demonstrated exceptional ability in challenging and stimulating the intellectual curiosity of undergraduate students.”

Professors at this school fit that description in some regards. Many teaching strengths are present, but the ability to inquire into the current understanding of students, then modify and adapt the teaching to penetrate that understanding, is one thing that is lacking.

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