Talking about our work at the Rollins College Student Resource Center, Florida, USA

Posts tagged ‘journal 3’

Journal #3

  1. “Don’t take absences so seriously. If a student doesn’t come to class, it will show! They will fail themselves if too many missed.” I have never really had a problem with attendance policies at school, as most of my classes have had similar policies and I usually love to go to class. This semester, however I had a class that I hated, and felt like I was wasting my time in class. I knew I had my three grace absences (as most of the classes have), so I figured it wouldn’t kill me to skip a few here and there. Some of my peers, however, felt it would be better to ATTEND a few here and there and found themselves with way more than three absences at the end of the term. Our professor’ policy (which she didn’t tell anyone until the last day of class) was that a student would lose 1 letter grade per each extra absence. Of course, this created an uproar in the class, and one classmate tried to argue the point. She said that we are all adults, and it should be our responsibility to come to class. If we don’t come to class, and we do poorly, than it is our own fault. It shouldn’t be up to the professors to hurt our grade based on our attendance. If we do poorly on work that we turn in, than that should reflect in our grade, but often times, I think participation is something that should only help you, not harm you. 
  1. “Open Student Records for class changes BEFORE classes start.” I have a friend who goes to a big university….their student records office is insanely busy all year long, not just during add/drop or registration. The way their system works now, however, in order to accomodate the growing student body, is that it is now online. Students have access to their classes on a system like Foxlink, but are able to add/drop/change any classes they want, as long as there are no schedule conflicts and the class is available. An electronic notification is sent to their professors each time they change it (they can do it as many times as they want), and the professor just has to accept or deny the request. If the change is accepted, the student never has to stress out about getting papers signed, etc. Imagine all the time and PAPER we’d save moving to an electronic student records office!
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Journal 3 – PEP Academics

“Don’t take absences so seriously. If a student doesn’t come to class it will show! They will fail themselves if too many are missed.”

I find this to be completely true.  As a student, I despise the fact that some professors assign reading to the class, and then lecture in the next class as though none of the students read the material.   Students who both read the material and attend the lecture have the benefit of dual exposure to the material but in my personal opinion, the purpose of a class discussion on a topic that has already been read should be supplemental.  The discussion should analyze and delve deeper into the material rather than summarizing the text for those that did not bother to read.  Classes in which this is the case, in order to do well, a student must both read the text and attend class.  However, many classes are of the first type and offer no additional inisght into material.  If a student already has a full understanding of the text, it does not make sense in my mind to enforce a policy by which they are required to “learn” the material twice.  It baffles me that students who completely understand material could be given a grade similar to those who did not read or understand simply due to attendance.  If professors continue to summarize the texts, while there should be an attendance policy in place in order to prevent students from simply never coming, it should be flexible and to an extent, biased towards those who obviously understand the material.  However, the attendance policy is not what is at fault, the teaching style is what should in fact be remedied.

Another topic of hot debate among the suggestions is the foreign language department/requirement.  Some students ask for more funding and more opportunity to take classes whereas others simply want the requirement removed.  I tend to agree with an increase in funding and maintaining the reuirement.  A big portion of students who complain about foreign language requirements are most likely those who have been “burned” by the current situation.  A personal example:  I am currently in Japanese 101 with the intention of taking Japanese 102 this upcoming semester.  However, I also intend on taking advantage of the school’s study abroad program which will preclude me from taking Japanese 201 the fall of 2009.  Unfortunately, 201 is only offered in the fall therefore I will have to wait until the fall of 2010 before I am able to finish my foreign language requirement.  This means there will be a year of downtime between the classes in which I will most likely be forgetting a great deal of material.  For many students, who haven’t the time or inclination to continue studying independantly, this would be a huge handicap.  Another personal problem I have experienced with the foreign language department is that there is only one teacher available for my language of choice.  If a student has an issue with a professor or even learns in a style which they don’t necessarily teach well towards, that student will have significantly more difficulty and also does not get the advantage of hearing different dialects and seeing different teaching methods.  Therefore, it makes sense to me to continue to require a foreign language becuase it is an important part of education, especially a liberal arts one, but to make efforts to improve the quality of the languages being taught.

Journal 3: PEP Academics

1) Stricter selection for RCC professors: Available, Accessible, open, friendly

This is one that I helped come up with… since, as a peer mentor, it’s been on my mind quite a lot this semester.  Based on my experiences this year and last year, it seems that only certain types of professors can really thrive with an RCC class.  The current situation/problem is that it seems like anyone who wants to be an RCC professor can be.  While it is good to let everyone have the opportunity (and obviously those who have an interest in doing it should be better for the job), it still has the effect of students having very different experiences with their RCC class, and I think the whole point of having RCC at all is to provide a comfortable situation for the student to settle into college life; they’ll learn how to deal with other situations in all their other classes.  This can only happen, however, when you have an RCC prof who is available and easy to talk to, open to getting to know and helping the students, and friendly.  If the professor is not willing to take some extra time and do things outside of class with the students, then he or she should be teaching a normal course, not an RCC.  This, however, isn’t always the case.  One of the problems must be that there aren’t enough teachers who want to teach RCC.  Perhaps Rollins could make it mandatory for certain teachers (ex. new professors) and make it part of their job to do a few things a semester outside of class with their students (ie. fox fridays)?   If you force it on professors though, they might be even less likely to be excited about the job… Explorations does try to foster understanding between the peer mentors and the professors, but you don’t always know how the dynamics will work out between them or with the class.

2) More things like the colloquy WP institute, debates, discussions, lectures, forums

…The whole reason I agree with this one is to not only have such intellectually stimulating events, but to have them incorporated into classes more so that there is actually decent attendance when such events take place.  Right now, where large scale events are done by the school, people do generally show up… but the same is not the case for student-run and student-led events that are educational.  The opposite – if anything! – should be true.  Emphasis on learning outside the classroom needs to be enforced within the classroom; both aspects are important, and they should be intertwined to ensure that the students get the best of both worlds.  Teachers need to involve their classes in events on campus that relate to the field of study… and should perhaps even make some mandatory.  This way, education can start to be seen as something more than simply what occurs within class.  For this to happen though, it is also important for the professors to be up-to-date and involved in campus life.  I think that if we can get the students with their outside activities and the professors with their classes to work together to put on events and bring attendees to them, we will be able to help this college take a step in the right direction to becoming better both in academics and service/extracurriculars.

The current problem is a disconnect between class and other activities, and the fact that hardly any students show up for intellectual outside events that are put on.  I’m not sure what has made it that way, and I can’t think of any steps that have been taken to change it.  Some professors do, of course, make events mandatory or extra credit, and the organizers are also responsible for marketing… but somehow, nothing actually seems to work, from my point of view.  I have put on events before, and tried advertising through various ways, including contacting multiple professors and departments who would have an interest in the event, but the turnout is never very good compared to what I think it should be.  It’s sad to see how little the campus is interested in really important things that are going on around the world.

Lauren’s 3rd Journal, 2nd Topic

I completely agree with the “More lib hours” comment.  I think our library hours are absolutely absurd.  While the library is currently open 24 hours for exams, it typically has very limited hours of operation.  On a typical Saturday, the library closes at 6PM.  I find this so frustrating and disappointing.  Where else are students supposed to go? Furthermore, the “24 hour lab” is a complete joke. It is always loud and crowded during the week. I don’t understand how a college can promote academics yet offer such limited library time.  Rollins needs to seriously consider expanding the library hours permanently, not just for finals. 

I also agree with the “more study abroad.” I studied abroad my junior year.  I was disappointed by the lack of programs Rollins offers, so I went through a program offered by NYU in Florence, Italy.  Study abroad was truly the greatest experience of my life, and I think Rollins is doing a disservice to its students by not expanding its aboard options.  At the very least, I think Rollins should develop more partnerships with other schools in Florida.

I completely disagree with the comment “stop emphasizing the honor code and let students make honesty their choice.” The honor code is essential to developing a culture of honesty and trust among students, as well as faculty.  As academic dishonesty becomes increasingly prevalent on college campuses, I believe Rollins needs to work even harder to instill the honor principle among students.  I think Rollins needs to do more to educate its students about the code rather than “let them make honesty their choice.”

Journal #3

I agree with the honor code statment in PEP academics. I don’t think the honor code should be stressed so much. Teacher make such a big deal out of it. The worst part about the honor code is the witnessing any unauthorized assistance on this work. This shouldn’t be on the honor code. There is noone I know who would rat out one of their friends. It should be up to the integrity of the person who cheated. It shouldn’t be another person’s responsibility to tell the professor that another person cheats. The honor code doesn’t even hold true. Writing down the honor code on an assignment and then signing one’s name isn’t, hasn’t, and won’t prevent anyone from cheating. It’s unfortunate but that’s the reality.

I disagree with the statement having a global responsibility course be mandatory for graduation. Most majors have enough responsibilities by themselves along with gen eds, that another course is unnesscary. One can learn global responsiblity by reading a newspaper and then get invovled if they want to. Students are already forced learn things that they don’t want to by taking some gen eds. I can only imagine that a student who enjoys learning about science might not enjoy learning about art at all. There is no need to add a global responsibility course as a graduation requirement. This should be left up the individual, not the school.

Journal #3 Academics at Rollins and PEP

Agree:

·         Fund Foreign Language Programs!!!

·         More classes offered for foreign languages

·         Sign language as foreign language.

·         Bring cooking classes to Rollins

·         Academics need to be taken more seriously. Those with money and influence that go here rarely make the grades but they get to stay here. Rollins should only accept those deserving and courses should be rigorous and get rid of slakers.

o   The cost of tuition should decrease, or give students more financial aid based more on academic achievement.

·         Faculty really needs to support and get more involved with activities on campus.

·         Open student records for schedule changes before classes start.

·         An initiative should be made to recruit more professors so more courses are available year round and for students to complete their core requirements.

Disagree:

·         Get rid of foreign language requirement

·         Encourage personal achievement and not grade getting

o   Grades reflect your effort, how can a professor measure your personal achievement?

§  One must suppose that it really is what you get out of it that makes it worth your while and your money, but we have to ask the question, “Would students try so hard if their efforts were not being put to the test by grades?”

              

I think one major issue on campus for me with which I would like to see changes made is: more foreign language classes offered, such as Sign Language and Italian. Perhaps we could even develop a Modern/Ancient Languages Major. The problem with funding more foreign language classes come from either, lack of interest from the students, lack of a professor, or literal lack of funding for the course. The lack of interest from the students probably comes from the foreign language requirement, because they are forced to study a language, and usually they go for the one they might have taken a class or two in high school, just so they can get the requirement and move on with their Major. In my past one year in a half at Rollins, I have seen two petitions attempting to bring more foreign language to Rollins, one for Arabic and the other for Italian. I know the Arabic petition passed, but I have seen no word regarding the Italian petition, which was unfortunate, because I really was hoping to take some Italian classes. I love foreign language. We can be more persistent in the petitions, try to recruit professors from other colleges to teach here, and we can fundraise for foreign language classes. We just need to have enough people who want this change enough that we can make an impact and seek out those who can help to get more foreign language classes possible.

 

Also, I believe an initiative should be made to recruit more professors so that more courses are available year round so that students can complete their core requirements. Classes offered every other year, or every other semester impede on a student’s ability to finish their core requirements. A student, who would like to start studying a foreign language from the beginning of the 100 level courses, cannot start until the Fall, even if they have room for the class in the Spring. When one professor does not teach the same course both semesters, there is an absence of that first course, and when a professor takes a leave of absence for any reason, the courses offered could be affected. We need a way to make sure those spots are filled. This issue has been going on for a long time I believe, and there are not many steps to fix the problem, except to make sure that when you schedule your classes, you make sure you will be able to complete your core requirements on time by using the Major/Minor/Gen Ed. Maps. If you want to be organized, and get ahead and make sure you are going to fulfill your requirements, I recommend that everyone take “Academic and Career Planning” in their first year here at Rollins, or as soon as you can. I think it should be a required course for Freshmen, and perhaps we could even split that course into “Academic Planning” as one course, and “Career Planning” as another course for your Junior Year or so. This class was so helpful in showing me how to plan out my 4 years here at Rollins, that I personally have not had much of a problem with meeting my core requirements. 3 Semesters about to pass and I only need 3 more Gen. Eds. If we cannot get more professors per semester, than we need to teach our students how to organize their education and see what will work for them.

Journal 3

One suggestion I agree with is “more understanding early and how to get good academic research”. Fortunately, I happened upon the right professor and friends along the way. Generally, you might hear about research in passing or have student researchers stop in your class looking for volunteers, but you are not provided with many details. It is up to you to inquire and seek out the right people to ask about it. Research participation is something new in college – you are not familiar with the process from high school experience. Therefore, I think it is important for professors to provide the guidance and general information to all first-year students so that they know their options. Students can then decide to take it or leave it. Although there are posters of student researchers and their work on bulletin boards for students to see, these resources are not sufficient. I am involved with the psychology club and we are currently trying to work with faculty members on ways to provide students with detailed information about research opportunities within our department. I think the lack of info about research is a problem in other departments as well, and a general solution can be applied to all fields. Perhaps all professors should take some class time at the beginning of each semester to tell students what research entails and what resources will provide more information.

Another idea I agree with is “more study abroad”. As an athlete, you get few opportunities to study abroad. Certain majors also make it difficult to do so. I think it is important to provide more opportunities at any part of the year: fall semester, Christmas break, spring semester, spring break, and summer break. I know that there are programs for international studies (in the classroom or fieldwork) during each of these times, but they are limited. A greater variety of opportunities should be provided through more academic departments. Since Rollins encourages students to be global citizens, it is important to give all students an equal chance of studying outside the country. It shouldn’t be limited to people who take a specific class or major in a language. In order to see a change, faculty within each department would have to work with the department of international programs.

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