WWYD - Unprofessional prof :-(

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Bored of Ed, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Anyway, I'm finally all set to graduate but I have one professor who basically took all my coursework and disappeared without giving me a mark. This person is very high up in the political sphere here (has been working in this school forever and used to run the whole program) so there's nobody I can rat them out to. I sent countless emails politely trying to nudge things along - some got ignored, some took weeks to get a reply, at times the prof got irritated at me for sending them, but I never got a helpful response. The closest I got was "I have looked at your work and will send you feedback very soon." A) That was two weeks ago; am I the only one who doesn't consider two weeks and counting "very soon"? B) Feedback?! What about my GRADE?! This is for a FALL course, we're taking SPRING finals now, late grades take longer than regular grades to process and if all my grades aren't in by the official close of this semester then my graduation plans are going to be seriously fouled up.

    Now, I understand circumstances may come up that render a person unable to fulfill their professional duties, but there are ways to delegate or something so that things get done! Give my stuff to some other prof to grade! Take a peek and give it a mark if you don't have time for more complex dealings! And now that you say you actually read it (THREE MONTHS after I gave it in), what the **** am I still waiting for?!

    Now I realize this is mainly a vent because none here can actually submit my grade change right now... but I am not very diplomatic and can use some suggestions if anyone has any ideas of how to make anything happen in these situations... I'm kind of afraid to do anything because I need the grade within the next couple of weeks, and I reckon grading time is not a good time to have your prof all annoyed at you...

    AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!

    (In case you were wondering, which I don't see why you would be, this prof was unprofessinal during the semester too. It has been really annoying. I don't understand why I am still having headaches over this when the class ended in January.)
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Are you the same member who has experienced major professor or grade issues previously?

    It's unacceptable for you to not have a grade for fall coursework. Pass you, fail you (well, hopefully not!), do something!
     
  4. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    I did have issues before but those were in undergrad, two years ago, different school, different prof... Sigh. They follow me :(

    And they better not fail me. IMHO I did A+-worthy work.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sounds like time for a visit to the dean, Bored.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree with TG. Take it up as high as you need to on the administrative ladder.

    But first, I would print up any documentation that would suggest that you do indeed deserve a passing grade.
     
  7. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    EXACTLY!!! Politically-connected or not, this professor has an obligation to get grades recorded in a timely manner. You're not trying to get him fired or removed from the class (well, ok, maybe you would LIKE that to happen, but that isn't what you're asking for). ALL you're asking for is a grade on work you turned in last semester!!! Regardless of how connected this prof may be, I wouldn't think that relieves him of the most basic duties of his position - ie, grading coursework.

    If the Dean doesn't follow up, then keep moving up the chain. Again, this isn't a "personality dispute" between you and the prof, this is a student simply asking to get a GRADE on WORK already turned in.

    If all chain-of-command approaches fail, then it's time to get a little nasty. Contact a news media outlet and have them do a report on the university protecting a prof who feels he is above doing the basic requirements of his position. Of course, this should be done ONLY as a very last resort. Exhaust all other efforts first.
     
  8. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Er... I was thinking more along the lines of persuasion or polite nagging...

    The nature of this coursework is that there's no way to "prove" that I deserve a high grade so I really don't want to provoke major ire. Besides, there's no time for dramatic action (news media?!) and all I want right now is my grade, and a good one - then I can have time to worry about reforming the system...

    All the dean can do is nag from higher up. Doesn't necessarily help and just annoys the prof. I actually tried going one authority level up about a month and a half ago; it got her to answer one of my emails but no further progress.

    I'm not sure how long I should give her before trying the higher ups again. It's been 2 weeks since her last email, I sent another after it just 3 days ago. How long do I give her to respond?
     
  9. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Bored, coming from a college faculty point of view:

    Talk to the dean. Tomorrow. Don't say anything negative. Put copies of everything in a folder, go to the dean and explain that you are still waiting for a grade from fall term, and that this is holding you back from graduating. If he asks for proof, produce the copies of the work and the emails. Keep it all business. No opinions, no frustration, just an "it is what it is" attitude. You took a class in the fall, it's the end of spring and you still don't have a grade. That's not okay, and I don't care if the college president was teaching the class. For that matter, I wouldn't care if it was the President of the US, or the Queen of England.
     
  10. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    News media was a response of absolute last resort - as in not graduating because the prof didn't turn in your grade and the dean and president of the uni turned a blind eye to the situation.

    mmwsm said it better than I, just go to the Dean with a "facts only" approach, pointing out the class was taken in the Fall and you're now approaching the end of Spring semester.

    Don't give any judgements, opinions or insinuations about the prof or the grade you think you deserve on the work, just take as much documentation of the situation as you can and explain to the Dean that you really need a resolution to this situation.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I agree with mm. Just go to the dean with a neutral tone with just the facts.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Goodness! So sorry. :(
     
  13. JustJim

    JustJim Companion

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    As someone who's had more than his share of headaches with professors, I have to agree with MMSWM and Cerek. But before you go, find your University's Bylaws or Policies and Procedures and know what the expectations are of the professor. It won't actually help in dealing with the Dean, but you might feel better--more confident--in knowing just how badly the professor has messed up.

    From there, you get into strategizing whether you should go to the press before finding an attorney or after, and so on. Good luck!

    Jim
     
  14. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I agree with mmswm - she always gives good advise.

    Does your college have a student advocate program who could help?
     
  15. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Apr 30, 2010

    I'd be furious too. I've had a lot of college profs in my day, but no one acted like this. There was one time, however when I was waiting on a prof to send me something & that took an entire semester to get it from her, but it was nothing that afftected my grade.

    Hopefully he gets his butt in gear.
     
  16. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    If he's a professor there is someone higher you can go to - first its the dean of the department (who you should have already contacted at the end of the fall semester). Then if your issue is still not resolved, you go higher and keep working your way up.

    I personally would always begin with at least CCing the university president. He won't do anything but forward your e-mail to the correct place, however, because it comes from him, it gets more attention - and sometimes they have to fill out extra forms to let him know what action they are taking. It gets the ball moving much faster than if you had just worked your way up before contacting him
     
  17. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Sigh... I guess I will have to go back to the department head on Monday. Dean in this uni is so far removed from the prof level that I would only do that as a last resort; there are many admin layers here.

    Issue: I can't prove that it's holding up my graduation because it isn't yet. I'm just afraid that it WILL and then it will be a bigger headache. What the prof keeps saying is "don't worry, I will have it all worked out in time for you to graduate." I'm just not that trusting and I don't want to get burned for being naive. She still has 3 weeks left to prove herself true...

    The other problem is that I have a feeling that when she does finally get back to me she will want me to change things about the assignment. That's how it's been all along. And I will need time to do it. So if she sends it to me with one week to the finish line, while I am neck deep in finals and papers for the current term, then I will have to fix it up, get it back to her, and THEN wait for the grade. That keeps her covered as having gotten it in on time but it still is not fair to me - I was ready to do the work at its proper time, last semester, when I had time and she was AWOL. Now I will have to lose even more sleep over it because she pops back up at an inconvenient time.
     
  18. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Bored, with or without a graduation deadline, this is simply unacceptable. The term ended 5 months ago. Its time for a grade. Period. Talk to the dept. head on Monday.
     
  19. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I don't see how the prof could possibly be considered turning the grade our coursework in on time when it is a full semester LATE! She certainly would accept such an excuse from YOU or any other student (Gee, I'm sorry I don't have my coursework finished yet, but I promise I'll have it to you by the end of next semester).

    Start with the department head (or whoever is next in line) and just present the facts to them. If they make excuses for the prof, simply ask them if they would accept that same excuse for you turning in work a semester late. I also agree with Toak that you should CC every communication to the President. What this prof has done is completely unprofessional and unacceptable.

    If the prof has promised to get the grade in before graduation, I would think she would have a hard time justifying any requirements for revision to the work. If anything, she should grade your work far more leniently since she has had an extra semester to grade it. If she does try to pull some nasty stunt like giving you 1 week to make several corrections, I think you have a very legitimate reason to challenge that. Again, document everything; every note, email, conversation or message regarding this incident. Write down the date and time of each call or communication effort you've made and the date/time of any response. Just remember - CYA! CYA! CYA!

    After that, do your best to NOT worry about it anymore. While it pays to be prepared for the possibility she will do something like that, once you've prepared, don't worry about it anymore. Ninety percent of the things we worry about never happen and the prof is gonna look bad enough waiting an entire semester to determine a grade without drawing any MORE attention to the situation. And, if it does happen, you've already done what you can about it.

    Document everything, consider your available alternatives, then go out with the girls tonight and forget about it for a couple of days!
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I must disagree about CCing the president. Not at this stage of the game. At this point, that's likely to encourage LESS cooperation from the lower administration. Give the dept. head a chance, but continue to document everything (that part I agree with). Trust, me, you really don't want to hear recaps of conversations regarding students who jumped the chain of command. Its not pretty. Even when the student is right, it creates resentment. The lower administration can get in trouble if students go over their heads, even if they've never been given a chance to resolve the issue. Let your department chair do his job first.
     
  21. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Get it taken care of. I would be afraid the prof would die, and then I would really be out of luck.
     
  22. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    It sounded to me as if she has given the dept. head a chance to do his/her job. But your knowledge of college politics is far better than mine, so I will defer to you on this one. ;)
     
  23. Toak

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    But if they don't become more cooperative, after the prez knows whats going on, they'll get in trouble with him ;)
     
  24. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Thank you Cerek. I got the idea that the OP had just been dealing with the prof, and hadn't taken it above the prof's head yet. Now, if Bored has already spoken to the dept. chair, then go to the dean, and THEN the president. The way college politics work, at least in my experience, it's a bad idea to break the chain of command.
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that's the rule in just about any work enviornment.
     

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