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This sub is BY professors FOR professors. Whether you are tenured, tenure-stream, a lecturer, adjunct faculty, or grad TA, if you are instructional faculty or work with college students in a similar capacity, this forum is for you to talk with colleagues. This sub is not for students. While students may lurk and occasionally comment, they should identify themselves as students, and comments are subject to removal at mods’ discretion.
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Studies seem to show that TT profs are terrified of getting low scores, do not push students, and apply strict rules. We are spoiling our students and make everyone miserable, based on the comments posted here in the past two weeks or so.
Maybe some folks here with admin experience can suggest a better approach. I am all ears.
What are the ways that you use chatgpt to help your teaching?
I'm an adjunct, and yes, it's as terrible as it sounds.
Have you ever created a course and then "sold" it to a university or program? If so, any tips for how to do this? Seeing if it's a viable approach before I start...
Never in my life have I gotten so many answers to short answers in this format:
#. Subtitle With Capitals: substantive response that includes some things not taught in the course
In years of tests, no one writes like this (ok there was the one dude). Do they not know that an entire new format of answering being adopted en masse is a clear giveaway?
I mean I give props for the thought ahead to rewrite it instead of copy and paste but unless there’s a wave of a different writing pedagogy hitting all at once, it’s super blatant that they’re all feeding from the same source.
Super props given for the students who make that title an intro to the topic.
I'm teaching an in-person course, and I'm thinking of doing the midterm test online, but in person. That is, students will have to be in class to take it (there will be an access code available only to those in class), but they take it online on their device. Do you have any experience with something like this? Is this a good idea? Anything I should look out for?
I'm looking for advice on job accommodations at a small private liberal arts college. I have officially diagnosed ADHD. I'd like to hear from folks who have asked for schedule-related accommodations and hear how it went. Did you get them? Were they considered unreasonable?
I'm heading to a new institution in the fall, one which works a bit differently than my previous institution in terms of scheduling (and I'm sure I'll find other differences once I get there).
At my previous institution, I personally made my own teaching schedule in collaboration with my department. There were a few specific course conflicts to avoid, but my own preferences generally complemented those of the professors with conflicting courses.
At my new institution, the department chair makes the schedule. It's a bigger department with more courses and more students, so it makes sense for the chair to do it. When discussing the job, the chair told me that I can makes requests about times and days, but it's a big schedule and maximizing availability for students is the priority. Which I understand.
I didn't ask for anything when I accepted the job because 8 am lectures are very rare and I didn't think I'd need to worry about anything else. I ended up not only with an 8 am on TR, but back to back classes from 8 to 12:15, plus a 3 hour lab on Thursday afternoon (though there is a break before it). Meanwhile, I have one class on MWF.
The TR schedule is basically a nightmare. Mornings are terrible unless I am properly medicated. I don't really know how easy it will be for me to find a doctor who will prescribe my meds, as it was pretty much impossible in my previous location. I also know I will barely be able to make it through all of those classes without a break to recharge from human interaction and collect my thoughts, and the fact that the day will start off poorly due to the 8 am start makes it all the worse.
My perfect accommodations would be no classes before 9:30 am and no back to back classes. However, that might be too much to ask (even though that's exactly how I've made my schedule in the past). It might be more reasonable to ask for no more than two classes back to back, which would at least be manageable. Given the overall lack of 8 am lectures, I feel like it would be reasonable to request no 8 am classes as well.
So, for those of you who asked for these sorts of accommodations, how did it go?
I submitted my grades this morning at 2:45 AM (ahead of an 8 AM deadline). It’s nearly 11 PM and I have only gotten on curious question about their final exam score. What happened?!? I know I’m tempting fate, but seriously…not a peep? I feel like if I leave my apartment I’ll be felled by a poison dart. 😅
My PhD was at an R1 and I now work at a SLAC as contingent faculty (stuck bc no opps in my field at the moment-still looking). I'm finding the SLAC to have politics that are just so different to deal with. It's the fishbowl analogy through and through.
Please understand that I'm a novice here. I understand that this might be *normal.* I need to know how to survive as I'm being pulled into the center of politics. This SLAC is so small that I just can't avoid it without repercussion. What are some strategies to get smart and play the game?
For context: I learned a lot at my PhD program about politics, however, I was able to hide in my R1 behind my research and position as a student.
TL;DR - I'm an adjunct, one class that I teach is way more work than any of the others and I want to ask to get paid more for it and need advice on how to strategize on how to ask for that. The details below, are relevant, though.
I've been teaching a set of courses as an adjunct at my University for close to five years now. All these courses go very well except for one.
This particular class is a computational science class in a popular CS/biology field. It's a popular class on its own, but it is always full (30 undergrads) because it is also, inexplicably to me, a requirement for a very popular, specific major in a field related to biology.
It's an upper-level (400) class meant for seniors, but because it's interdisciplinary, I expect everyone to have some gaps in their knowledge, and I teach everything from the ground up. Since the class is mostly seniors, I feel comfortable making the pace of the class quite brisk so we can get to the high-level material. I expect that these students have their issues with study skills and time-management sorted and I treat them like the real adults they are.
Most of the students thrive with this approach, but there is usually 10-20% of the students who just can't hack it. They are invariably students who take it only because it's a requirement and they have no background and no interest in the topic.
The issue is, these students are almost always premeds and they can't just take their B-/C+ grades and deal. A student just cannot do well in this course unless they are well prepared with background OR they care about learning the material. If they have neither, they are dead in the water. These students see their medical school dreams crumbling before them, and the problems start.
I have had several students have full-on breakdowns in my class. I have had students fill my inbox and office hours with their anxiety-filled missives and requests. I have had students email me they are considering self-harm because they are getting a B. I had a student act like she fainted in front of me when I told her she was getting a B.
Every semester some dean calls me to make special arrangements with some student or another so they can get an extra special incomplete or something like that. We have multiple meetings to make these arrangements, and the students NEVER follow through and just fail or get the same bad grade they would have had anyway.
And the cheating, oh my god, the cheating, so much cheating. My university requires that I report all incidents of academic integrity violations and have the student sign the forms. This has led to so much yelling and me and more crying and hysterics than I can handle.
(It's worth noting that this issue has only happened since the pandemic. Additionally, the number of students who require disability accommodations has gone from one or two students out of thirty to more like seven or eight, and these students are always the ones who struggle.)
All this means SO MUCH EXTRA TIME dealing with administrative stuff. Every semester I teach this class, I spend as much time dealing with psych services, the department of disability services, deans, advisors, and even campus security as I do on the academic work.
These students don't need just to come to office hours, they need tutors and/or a slower class with fewer students. This class is not really relevant to this major and has very little that will help anyone who wants a career in clinical medicine.
This class is taught in the Fall, and I have been agitating since the beginning of the Spring semester to get some sort of changes. I have asked to have tutors for the class (no, too expensive), and that they add prerequisites for the course (this will happen, but next year at the earliest). I suggested I teach an extra, optional "Boot Camp" at the beginning of the semester (which they would pay me for), but they said the students wouldn't do it, and I think they are correct.
Now, it finally got kicked up to the chair of the department, and he has asked to meet me next week to hear my grievances and suggestions.
I feel like I am teaching two classes at once - one for the students who give a crap about this topic, and one for these stress cases who don't really want to be there but desperately want to get an A despite not having the background, time, or aptitude to do it. I can't slow down the class for the latter group because it's unfair to the students who want to learn the material.
I want them to pay me more money to teach this particular class, and maybe just for this semester until they get the pre-req situation under control and maybe take it off as a requirement for this major when the students don't benefit from it.
How can I ask for this without coming across as entitled?
(It's worth noting that they have allowed me a TA in the past when the course gets full (which it will be for the fall) but training my TA is always more work than it's worth, and they should pay ME the money.)
I am organizing a conference that will occur in the next week or so. Program is finalized. Everything ready to go. Cue the emails: -I forgot about another commitment, can I present on Zoom? (No…And you asked someone else a week ago and they gave the same answer.) -Can I book a room? (No, like my email said, reservations closed a month ago.) -Can I present at a different time? (No, we’ve had the preliminary program out for a week and asked if anyone needed to nice sessions, the program is final and printed.) -How do I know who my discussant is? (Well, we just emailed everyone the final program yesterday…I would probably start there.)
There have been several other similar emails…has everyone always been this needy or is this new post covid as well?
...that I'm actually being paid less than our union contract minimum. Says if I want to contest it, there's a chance they would just let me go. Do I lawyer up?
I have the option of teaching four regular-sized classes with 40 students each, OR two large classes with 120 students each. The large classes come with a graduate teaching assistant for 5 hours a week, which makes them compelling despite the increase in students.
What have your experiences been with TA's? I've never had one, and I hear it's hit or miss. Also, what do you have them do? Can they do office hours? Do they grade assignments?
Note: these classes will all be asynchronous, so all work done by students and professors/TA's will be online.
Over the summer I…do hard manual labor to make ends meet. I make more in ONE hour of teaching than I do in a full work day doing things like: shoveling out a burst sewer line and replacing it, fixing water leaks, filling propane, sucking shit out of RVs etc at a little year round campground.
It ain’t glamorous but I do love working outside. It reminds me of my Army days! Downside is my back is pretty much constantly aching.
Sounds bizarre, but sometimes I have some sort of “imposter syndrome” in the blue collar world 😂
My students in the Fall will tell me about their European vacations with their rich parents and I will nod and smile as if I can relate. Fellow adjuncts, what is your side hustle?!
Is it just me, or are student evals getting more atrocious in general? I swear before covid my evals were consistently a lot higher than they are now. I don't think I've really changed that much about my teaching. I will admit to getting a bit more stringent, which of course is always unpopular, but I'm still pretty flexible about extensions and stuff. I am by no means Professor Hardass.
My evals this semester included a number of outright lies, and stupid ones at that. One such lie was that I don't drop the lowest grade. First of all, I'm not required to do that. But more importantly, I do! It's literally in my syllabus. Some students wrote that I'm not accessible outside of class, which is just absolute crap. Never in my life have I turned away a student seeking extra help or grade clarification. Not once. Two of them wrote that I take too long to grade assignments, but I literally returned everything to them within seven days this semester. That's too long? A few years ago a family member had surgery and I was busy caring for them, so I took an extra two weeks to grade a batch of papers. I felt guilty about that, and I felt it was fair that they mentioned it in my evals that semester. But this semester? No. Not once this semester did I take longer than one week to turn grades around.
My favorite comment from evals this semester was "Professor Gr4sn expects us to be focused in class the entire time."
(First runner-up: "Professor does quizzes right at the start of class which is really not fair to those of us who might arrive late." Yes, that's the point...)
They're starting to feel like really bad Amazon reviews from people who didn't read the instructions.
I've had a student who I know has been cheating but I haven't been able to pin them on it yet, and of course I'm not going to spend hours looking. Then today I get an assignment, predictably off topic, that included the phrase "We look forward to seeing you at the grand re-opening!" Aha! Quickly found the museum they plagiarized from before tossing the text into a word spinner without even reading it.
Even more fun is that this was an assignment you just get credit for doing. Or, failing the entire class, at the student's discretion. My professor spidey sense is rarely off the mark!
I got my Spring evaluations today. One student had the audacity to claim that I graded lab reports "quickly."
It usually took two to three weeks for me to look at them, and to let all the late ones trickle in. I certainly don't feel like that was quick (though there were a handful of weeks when I miraculously had no other pressing matters, so graded reports right away, including the two weeks right before evaluations went to students). I have heard stories of others in my department taking months to grade lab reports, so maybe I'm just quick by comparison. In any event, after the awful Fall semester, with a ring of cheaters and grade appeals, it was delightful to have a semester of great evaluations. The best was several students saying they felt like I cared about them personally and their learning and advancement.
Sorry if this is a dumb question; I’ve only been adjuncting for about two years.
Is it common to be asked to perform work outside your contracted dates? For example, I don’t teach during the summer because most summer courses get picked up by full time faculty. But I’m often asked to complete training during this time. Like compliance training or, like right now, training on new systems.
I’m not a fan of working without pay. Do you typically ask for a special stipend for things like this? Or are you just expected to work for free?
This is a genuine question after working in academia forever. At the public school (K-12) level, I know they have to get their admin credential.
At the college/university level, I often scratch my head and wonder how they get to their positions. Business school? Working up the chain from admin assistant/programs to dean?
Not sure if others have insight as sometimes I'm baffled and wonder, "How did this person get this job!?"
I looked at the evals for my online class and a student wrote that he addressed me as “Mrs. Ciotogista” in an email asking me a question and that I nastily insisted he call me Doctor and didn’t answer the question. I looked at the email in question and yes, my tone was a little harsh. Because I’d sent out at least one email to all the students saying that I’m not Mrs. Anything, and I habitually signed my own emails as “Dr. Ciotogista,” and yet he kept addressing me as “Mrs.” After three or four emails of being addressed this way after I made it clear to everyone that I shouldn’t be, I answered his question and then told him to please stop calling me “Mrs. Ciotogista” as it is not my name. Nothing to do with demanding to be called Doctor, I don’t care about that, but I am not the wife of someone with my maiden name, for pity’s sake. It’s the wrong name!
I found his characterization infuriating, though, and three hours later it is still enraging me, so I thought I’d write this rant rather than sending him an email, as I’d like to do.
I'm teaching a second year creative course and my students are going crazy on a discord server I set up for them as a social space around the course. They don't like the course and a few ringleaders are really stoking the flames. I've never had this problem before, I usually have a great rapport with students but this lot don't like the content, have found it challenging and are amazed that ignoring the central aspect of the course "because it's not relevant to me" is not translating into high marks for them.
I don't mind feedback from students but this is out of control. I'm starting to find it disrespectful and upsetting but am at a bit of a loss at how to manage it. I think what i'm finding upsetting is that the things they are most vorociacially opposed to are things that I think are quite core to being a creative person (curiosity, openness, willing to explore new ideas, playfulness with materials) and I feel mainly that I've failed to make a case for those things in a way that they might understand. So I'm disappointed about that in a broad sense but becoming more concerned about the pitchfork and torches brigade running for me. They keep summoning me to the server with mentions so they can anonymously complain and then ignore anything I might say like "bummed about your mark? come see me and we can discuss" because they just want to vent at me. I don't feel personally threatened because my job is not dependant on their evaluations but it's actually starting to feel pretty awful. I flagged today with them that this behaviour was disrespectful and got a load of comments that i normally would consider the worst of a student course evaluation but in real time and at me which was a little disconcerting.
The discord server is not a teaching space, I just made it as a place where they could chat about the course and I think i'll hesitate to do so again but i'm after any crowd control tips to try and defuse the situation. I don't want to pull the plug on it, it's the end of semester here and I know some were finding it useful but I don't want to put up with this sort of shit either. As much as I'm dying to tell them what I really think of their fan art, i'm still the grown up here and I'm wracking my brains trying to find a way to gracefully tell them to fuck off, grow up and stop grubbing for marks. Is it possible to achieve these opposing ideas and get out of this unscathed?
Update: Professors of reddit, thank you. You gave me lots to think about and some red hot tips. Making a metaphorical macrame owl from your advices I have written a post outlining professional expectations and responsibilities and expectations of staff and students to safety in online spaces associated with the course. I told them I’d shut it down if there was a repeat of this behaviour. I also found the uni’s code of conduct which has a section on respect (actually very good. Unexpected!) and posted that too. So far the ring leader has posted the new assignment is actually quite good and other bullshit has stopped. If that’s a win, I’ll take it. My self evaluation of this course will be epic! Lesson learned! Thx!
Our uni just switched from BlackBoard to Canvas and I keep finding new things that BlackBoard did easily which Canvas does not. My current issue is with grading discussion boards. Under BlackBoard there was a screen I could view for each discussion which showed how many posts and replies each student made on a topic (they were required to make a post and 2 relies). I've set up discussions with the same requirements in Canvas, but not that we've started there doesn't seem to be the same grading functionality.
Does anyone know of a quick way in Canvas to see how many posts and replies each student made on a discussion topic (i.e., instead of searching for students one-by-one as my campus "help" person suggested)?
I was interviewed for a tenure track faculty position back in Feb 2023. I contacted the director late March and I was told all candidates were still being considered. Some university level things are delaying things. Since then I been interviewing for similar positions. I have another tenure track offer now. I am in the process of negotiating the offer and start up. The institution I was interviewed in Feb , is still my first choice. How should I write a mail to the director and ask for an update on the position. I am 99% sure someone else probably negotiating or have taken the job, but I was still expecting a response and possibly a feedback on the interview.
10 years ago I was happy being an adjunct, and then got recruited to become full time in the department. I was happy to switch careers (hated my old job) and was met with so much support from my Dept Head and the Dean. Sure, we had the usual cadre of a few toxic professors acting up in ways that would never be tolerated in the corporate world, but for the most part our dept was fairly supportive and cooperative. I was on track for promotion and felt it was a good career move. I loved teaching and enjoyed being on campus.
Fast forward three years later, the Dean and Dept Head retired and we met our new Head. He was a bully and quickly assembled a core group of the most toxic professors to be his back up. He announced at a meeting he "was not fond of Lecturers" because they are "just teachers" and told me there was no path for promotion for me or other Lecturers. The Dept become full of in-fighting and politics. People are quitting in droves. Enrollment is plummeting and teaching today's students isn't like it was 10 years ago.The dept is down seven positions now and had failed searches to replace them and those that are left are stressed into burnout. After several complaints and poor performance he was finally removed but the damage is done. My contract is ending and the Dept is in danger of being dissolved.
I took a very low-paying part-time industry job that is actually fun and low stress. Everyone there is happy to see me and there's potential for growth. I'm starting over, selling my house and living very simply while going back to school to train for a career I was always curious about pursuing.
I heard a quote - "It didn't happen TO me, it happened FOR me." I don't need a big house, prestige or large salary to be happy. I have so much less stress and look forward to new challenges. It was fun for a while but I'm glad to get out.
I am scheduled to teach an asynchronous online course this summer.
I’m trying to determine the best way to provide student office hours without wasting my time sitting in front of a blank zoom screen. I plan to offer open office hours around project and exam dates, but only provide office by appointment at other times.
Has anyone created an open block of time when students can schedule a meeting, but you are not available during that time unless a meeting is specifically scheduled? If yes, what have you found to be good administrative parameters for these meetings? Do you have a deadline to schedule? Have you used the schedule function on canvas? Have you used a different app outside of the course management system? What have you found that works best?