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Bitter Professor

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I have an upper division Biopsychology class with a professor that started out great and is now turned bitter.

The guy is pretty young and new to teaching. He's become angry that about 1/3 of the student don;t show up for class.

The first test was a challenge but fair. I got a 90% with ease....

He just gave the second test and made it impossible.

The second exam average was 22% in a class of 75 students. The multiple choice exam had A through J as selection!!! 10 fricking selections!!

I studied 8 hours and got a 30%....no curve....no drop

WTF!!!!!!!
 

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If EVERYONE is doing as poorly as you say, he is going to have to implement some sort of curve. You mentioned he is new....averages that low would raise some flags (if they continued) and he would have to explain himself to the dept. Odds are, he is just pissy and he's trying to get everyone's attention. If things do continue, pay a visit to the Chair and if you don't get anywhere, go to the dean of the college....that's my advice.
 

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Are you sure there's no curve? That seems pretty unacceptable if that many people fail a test. If not, it sucks, but you've got not choice but to study constantly for this class.

My husband got stuck with a sadistic professor this semester, too. It's not right how one jerk can ruin your life for a few months. :(
 
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I have an upper division Biopsychology class with a professor that started out great and is now turned bitter.

The guy is pretty young and new to teaching. He's become angry that about 1/3 of the student don;t show up for class.

The first test was a challenge but fair. I got a 90% with ease....

He just gave the second test and made it impossible.

The second exam average was 22% in a class of 75 students. The multiple choice exam had A through J as selection!!! 10 fricking selections!!

I studied 8 hours and got a 30%....no curve....no drop

WTF!!!!!!!


Bitter academes are a pain in the butt. I hate it also when the scientists have disdain for premeds. good luck.
 

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I have an upper division Biopsychology class with a professor that started out great and is now turned bitter.

The guy is pretty young and new to teaching. He's become angry that about 1/3 of the student don;t show up for class.

The first test was a challenge but fair. I got a 90% with ease....

He just gave the second test and made it impossible.

The second exam average was 22% in a class of 75 students. The multiple choice exam had A through J as selection!!! 10 fricking selections!!

I studied 8 hours and got a 30%....no curve....no drop

WTF!!!!!!!

Some questions:
- Did his syllabus explicitly state that there would not be a grading curve? (Also, was there a grading policy outlined in the syllabus?)
- Did his syllabus specifically address attendance and/or set forth an attendance policy?
- Where the exam questions based on material which he had covered in lecture/assigned readings/homework/etc.?
- Did he hold review session(s) or offer any review suggestions or hand out review guides?
- Were the exam questions similar in format and scope to the questions in homework assignments/review guides/etc.?

If the answer to any of the above questions is a definite "no", then perhaps you may have some grounds to launch a complaint. First, I would visit the prof during office hours and voice my concerns (very nicely). If he appears intractable and/or abusive, I would address the matter with the department chair as soon as possible (before the prof has had a chance to insert bias). If you find that you need to go higher than the department chair, you may need to include some of your classmates - as the old saying goes “there is strength in numbers” and having a larger group may lend more credence to your complaint.
 

DrMidlife

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Sucks to be your 4.0 GPA. Just kidding.

This will tide over and you'll get your A. The prof will get spanked, or he'll self-correct. You can choose to be part of the spanking/correction process, or you can assume the screaming teenagers and their parents and the department head will take care of it.

I assume you'll figure out how to play this, but if you want some tips on how to play Evil Manipulative Bambi, PM me.
 

Sol Rosenberg

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Dude, that sucks. I am so sorry to hear that you are stuck in that kind of situation. I hope things work out and he ends up curving, like others said.

This is why it is SO important to check out www.pickaprof.com or www.ratemyprofessors.com before signing up for a class.
 

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Dude, that sucks. I am so sorry to hear that you are stuck in that kind of situation. I hope things work out and he ends up curving, like others said.

This is why it is SO important to check out www.pickaprof.com or www.ratemyprofessors.com before signing up for a class.

My husband's evil prof isn't rated. :( I still think the hotness thing is a little weird. :) Editing to add that a lot of professors who I really liked apparently got pretty bad reviews at ratemyprofessors, so I wouldn't base any decisions solely on that. One of my professors from ugrad got dinged for counting off for turning in a paper late. WTF?
 

Lucky Buck

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Screw my advice....watch "Fight Club" then go into his office, shut the door and commense to beating the crap out of yourself. Make sure you make a lot of noise....smash some pictures, throw things...It might help to take a few advil before you do this. Tell him you want him to stop being a wanker or else....he might listen and then your problems are solved. :thumbup:
 

Sol Rosenberg

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My husband's evil prof isn't rated. :( I still think the hotness thing is a little weird. :) Editing to add that a lot of professors who I really liked apparently got pretty bad reviews at ratemyprofessors, so I wouldn't base any decisions solely on that. One of my professors from ugrad got dinged for counting off for turning in a paper late. WTF?
No doubt that some of the stuff on there is bogus, but I viewed potential profs. in a way that I would guess ADCOMs view us. One blemish and there was no need to risk my GPA with that Prof -- I'd just go with someone unblemished. If no one was unblemished, then I'd look at things like % of As given out, etc and go with the one that had the largest percentage. Actually, I looked at the objective data like % of As before I looked at the subjective stuff like rating and the write-ups, etc.

Along those lines, I'd be really hesitant to risk going with an "unlisted" prof. If the unlisted prof. is the only one teaching the course (and you can't put it off a semester when someone who is listed is potentially teaching the course) then the whole rating thing is kinda moot anyway since you have to take that course with that professor.

...but bad profs like your husband and the OP got stuck with just suck. I've been stuck with my share (which is why I am so hardcore about researching profs beforehand,) and totally understand. I really hope it works out for the best for y'all.
 

Lucky Buck

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To bring this to some kind of conclusion....Just remember you do have some options. First, approach the prof., if that doesn't get you anywhere, then try the chair, then the dean, and keep in mind, it is to your advantage to address this before the semester is over, (preferably as soon as possible) either individually or with a group of students. If you wait too long, chairs and deans will wonder why you waited until the end of the semester to do something about this. Also, make sure you don't come across as whinney; address your concerns respectfully and intellegently. I am sure things will work themselves out.
 

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No doubt that some of the stuff on there is bogus, but I viewed potential profs. in a way that I would guess ADCOMs view us. One blemish and there was no need to risk my GPA with that Prof -- I'd just go with someone unblemished. If no one was unblemished, then I'd look at things like % of As given out, etc and go with the one that had the largest percentage. Actually, I looked at the objective data like % of As before I looked at the subjective stuff like rating and the write-ups, etc.

Along those lines, I'd be really hesitant to risk going with an "unlisted" prof. If the unlisted prof. is the only one teaching the course (and you can't put it off a semester when someone who is listed is potentially teaching the course) then the whole rating thing is kinda moot anyway since you have to take that course with that professor.

...but bad profs like your husband and the OP got stuck with just suck. I've been stuck with my share (which is why I am so hardcore about researching profs beforehand,) and totally understand. I really hope it works out for the best for y'all.

I'll tell my husband that he needs to leave feedback for his current evil prof just to warn future people. Actually the comments are pretty good because then you know which reviews to ignore. If someone is dinging a professor because they assign too much reading, they're probably just being whiny. Those were the complaints that were irking me when I was looking over the site last night. Engaging in vindictive grading/testing, on the other hand, is really not cool, which is sounds like the op's prof is doing.

At UT, we actually had this cool thing where we could find the results of the evaluations for professors (no comments -- just the numerical info), and we could get the grade distribution for classes for the past few years. I don't know if it was just for the law school, but it was great.
 

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Dude, that sucks. I am so sorry to hear that you are stuck in that kind of situation. I hope things work out and he ends up curving, like others said.

This is why it is SO important to check out www.pickaprof.com or www.ratemyprofessors.com before signing up for a class.

Yes and no - these sites tend not to filter by the student in question. If you listen to the students from one college at which I teach, I am the savior of mankind (with a 4.9 out of 5.0 rating); if you look at the other college, I'm "meh" (3.0 out of 5.0) - these tend to be very subjective rating scales. For instance, my last rating was from a student who did not do well in the class, but he/she made it sound like it was my fault ("his standards were too high") - let's just ignore the fact that my grades fell on a normal distribution curve, and the "too high" standards didn't seem to stop three people from managing A's (out of a class of 13).

Anyway, I actually had something similar happen last semester - many students elected not to attend class, and the class averaged 50% on their midterm. I lit into them the following week (I felt justified since I stop *frequently* during class - every few minutes - to make sure everyone understands the material, and *no one* came to my office hours), but told them that if I saw improvement on the final exam, I would be willing to curve the mid-term results. They averaged 75% on the final, so I kept my word and curved the mid-term. Every so often we need to kick in a wake-up call, especially when students seem to be taking the class for granted.
 
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Yes and no - these sites tend not to filter by the student in question. If you listen to the students from one college at which I teach, I am the savior of mankind (with a 4.9 out of 5.0 rating); if you look at the other college, I'm "meh" (3.0 out of 5.0) - these tend to be very subjective rating scales. For instance, my last rating was from a student who did not do well in the class, but he/she made it sound like it was my fault ("his standards were too high") - let's just ignore the fact that my grades fell on a normal distribution curve, and the "too high" standards didn't seem to stop three people from managing A's (out of a class of 13).

Yeah, my sister teaches at two different schools, and I was checking out her ratings. At one school, it's all happy faces, and at the other school, it's the sad face. At the sad face school, I also got the strong impression that one student was writing multiple negative reviews because the comments were just too similar -- also, they were the irritating things like "she assigns too much reading". Hey, though, she's rated as hot at both schools, so that's pretty cool. ;)
 

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My instructor just got his masters and working on PhD...that is why he is not listed with ratemyprofessors.com and all the others. (not even a prof.)

His course outline says there are only 4 exams and that is it. No HW, no curve, no makeup, no quizzes, no nothing.

I honestly think he did this one exam to get people attention. I specifically asked about the exam format in class and he replied that it would be the same as the first. The guy was absent for class and then wanted to combine a week's worth of lecture into one class, a day before the exam.

Anyhow, I'm not too worried because something has to give. In a way he was deceptive because he implied that exam was similar to the first. He also gave the exam on 2/28 and the class drop date was 2/26.

Hey that's fine with me......now I have an excuse to quit my night job. My wife is an Nurse Pract. and makes decent $$. I'll just sit on my @ss and study 4-5 hours a days for his exams. Actually, it might be kind of funny to see if I can learn the material better than him. Heck, the fafsa isn't due until 3/15 I might be able to get some federal $$

I got 2 months....I'm quitting work today! This should be interesting.

let the games [email protected]
 

smugtroll

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just to give you a little example of his exam.....ten mintues after we began the exam the girl next to me starting crying. There was a line of people at his desk asking questions with perplexed looks on their faces. Some people stormed out of the room while slamming packbacks.

The one that got me was the girl sobbing.
 

Sol Rosenberg

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At UT, we actually had this cool thing where we could find the results of the evaluations for professors (no comments -- just the numerical info), and we could get the grade distribution for classes for the past few years. I don't know if it was just for the law school, but it was great.

Yep, that was there for all the other colleges, as well (although if a Prof. was new there was obviously no evaluation data.) The grade distribution stuff was what I was talking about in my last post when I was talking about % As. VERY Useful.

Yes and no - these sites tend not to filter by the student in question. If you listen to the students from one college at which I teach, I am the savior of mankind (with a 4.9 out of 5.0 rating); if you look at the other college, I'm "meh" (3.0 out of 5.0) - these tend to be very subjective rating scales. For instance, my last rating was from a student who did not do well in the class, but he/she made it sound like it was my fault ("his standards were too high") - let's just ignore the fact that my grades fell on a normal distribution curve, and the "too high" standards didn't seem to stop three people from managing A's (out of a class of 13).

1. It's hard to purport with any reasonable level of statistical significance that grades fell on a normal distribution curve with a sample size of only 13.

2. Like I said before, I was talking more about the objective data like grade distributions. It's a no-brainer to choose the Prof. with 40% As, 50% Bs, and 10% Cs or less over the Prof. who tries to make his/her grades "normal" with 15% As, 30% Bs, 40% Cs, and 15% less than Cs. This stuff is posted on www.pickaprof.com (maybe only for certain schools?) When it comes to medical school admissions, no one cares how well you learned the material, they just care about your GPA. Using pickaprof like this to maximize your GPA (or rather, maximize your chances of getting a good GPA) is just playing the game.
 

Nasrudin

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just to give you a little example of his exam.....ten mintues after we began the exam the girl next to me starting crying. There was a line of people at his desk asking questions with perplexed looks on their faces. Some people stormed out of the room while slamming packbacks.

The one that got me was the girl sobbing.

Damn. He got medieval on you guys. Hope it works out. jeesh what a vengeful little weenie of a man.
 

Quix

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Yep, that was there for all the other colleges, as well (although if a Prof. was new there was obviously no evaluation data.) The grade distribution stuff was what I was talking about in my last post when I was talking about % As. VERY Useful.



1. It's hard to purport with any reasonable level of statistical significance that grades fell on a normal distribution curve with a sample size of only 13.

2. Like I said before, I was talking more about the objective data like grade distributions. It's a no-brainer to choose the Prof. with 40% As, 50% Bs, and 10% Cs or less over the Prof. who tries to make his/her grades "normal" with 15% As, 30% Bs, 40% Cs, and 15% less than Cs. This stuff is posted on www.pickaprof.com (maybe only for certain schools?) When it comes to medical school admissions, no one cares how well you learned the material, they just care about your GPA. Using pickaprof like this to maximize your GPA (or rather, maximize your chances of getting a good GPA) is just playing the game.


1. I'm not shooting for p<.05 here, I'm just saying that when I did the final grade calculations (which were simply additive based on total points accumulated over the course of the semester), the results were a nice bell-shaped curve. Go me. It was just meant to undermine the claim that my standards were "too high" - I expected college level writing (which means grammar, syntax, and, shock of shocks, actually fulfilling the requirements of the assignments as indicated by the grading rubric).

2. Pickaprof has three colleges listed in Pennsylvania. I live in Pittsburgh, and I've got seven within walking distance of my apartment, so it's not quite extensive. Pitt has five professors listed out of thousands, and, in a statistical anomaly, one of these five I know quite well personally and professionally.

The upshot is that these feedback sites make more for an interesting insight into the minds of the students doing the rating than the professors they are meant to rate, IMHO.
 

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I have an upper division Biopsychology class with a professor that started out great and is now turned bitter.

The guy is pretty young and new to teaching. He's become angry that about 1/3 of the student don;t show up for class.

The first test was a challenge but fair. I got a 90% with ease....

He just gave the second test and made it impossible.

The second exam average was 22% in a class of 75 students. The multiple choice exam had A through J as selection!!! 10 fricking selections!!

I studied 8 hours and got a 30%....no curve....no drop

WTF!!!!!!!

I would definitely speak with him first, making sure to show him the respect a professor should receive from their students. This is probably his first semester teaching where he is a member of the faculty and not a TA. Was the test material totally out of left field? If you don't get any response from him, then take the test to the course coordinator.

Chances are this already has gotten to the higher ups by some of the students that walked out.

While I don't think the next test will be a walk-thru, I'm sure that it won't be the same as the second test.
 

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Anyway, I actually had something similar happen last semester - many students elected not to attend class, and the class averaged 50% on their midterm. I lit into them the following week (I felt justified since I stop *frequently* during class - every few minutes - to make sure everyone understands the material, and *no one* came to my office hours), but told them that if I saw improvement on the final exam, I would be willing to curve the mid-term results. They averaged 75% on the final, so I kept my word and curved the mid-term. Every so often we need to kick in a wake-up call, especially when students seem to be taking the class for granted.[/QUOTE]
This attitude is interesting. So you consider the class as a whole? What do you mean you "lit" into them? I thought the point of attending college was to gain an education and that each person is responsible for himself/ herself. Why punish the entire class for some students who don't want to attend?

I understand you care about the students comprehending the information but why the power play? I work the night shift, dedicate a lot of time and energy to my courses, ask questions, participate, etc I can't be responsible for the other students.
 

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Yeah, what happened to the good old pop quiz method of punishing non-attenders? Used to happen all the time. But then, syllabi weren't legal documents back when I was an undergrad the first (, second and third) times.

This reminds me of a vicious evil statistics professor that nobody liked. Not an engaging teacher by any standard. When a majority of the class had fallen asleep he'd drop a textbook to wake us up. Actually the guy was perfectly fair, loved his subject, just boring as the day is long.
 

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Yeah, what happened to the good old pop quiz method of punishing non-attenders? Used to happen all the time. But then, syllabi weren't legal documents back when I was an undergrad the first (, second and third) times.

Yeah, it seems a little more fair than punishing the whole class for the people who don't attend. Another fair method would be to incorporate things that were discussed into class into the test, so that the people who showed up had a real advantage on the test over those who skipped. Overall, if the lectures really are valuable, then the students who attend should do better. You don't need to screw the whole class by getting all vindictive with your test writing.

My thought is that if you're going to get hung up on attendance, you should build attendance into the grade somehow. Pop quizzes work, or you could just say that 15% of the grade is attendance/quizzes/participation/whatever.
 

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This attitude is interesting. So you consider the class as a whole? What do you mean you "lit" into them? I thought the point of attending college was to gain an education and that each person is responsible for himself/ herself. Why punish the entire class for some students who don't want to attend?

I understand you care about the students comprehending the information but why the power play? I work the night shift, dedicate a lot of time and energy to my courses, ask questions, participate, etc I can't be responsible for the other students.

I "lit" into them by spending five minutes at the start of the lecture talking about my disappointment with the test results. I told them in no uncertain terms that I couldn't address their questions or problems with the material if they never presented them to me, nor could I read their minds to determine how well they understood it. I let them know that if no one attends office hours, asks questions during class, or makes any effort to approach me about the material, there is no way for me to know if something isn't understood. I don't punish people who ask questions during class, and I actively encourage feedback from them. I bend over backwards to make this material accessible. When they have that pathetic an average (and it wasn't simply a few outliers who brought that average down - there were only a few outliers who brought the average up), there is an indication that they are not taking the class seriously. Many of them did not do the primary reading, or gave it only a cursory treatment because they were majoring in something else - I had no philosophy majors in that class. And it's not like there is a problem with my teaching style - I have gotten feedback every semester from all of my students, and I've consistently received above average ratings (4.5+ out of 5.0 on the college's grading metric) every semester. If the kids can't be motivated to do the work, that is their own damn fault.

I'm wondering why you are choosing to characterize this as a "power play" - they are my responsibility to teach, but they also have a responsibility as students. It is well within my rights as a teacher to inform them when they, as a whole, are underperforming, as well as the consequences of that underperforming. You seem to be implicitly assuming something adversarial when that isn't the case at all. I don't get my jollies by punishing the students taking my classes by any stretch, but I *do* take umbrage when they treat me and what I teach as a blow-off class.
 

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Well we had our 1st class since the impossible exam and long since he posted the grades.

Students were pretty angry about it. Mostly they were nervous about the remaining exams. He said that he felt the exam was easier than the first? How? Is he that blind? He also said nothing will be done to change the grades and it will only get more difficult.

Socially he is a nice guy and the material is very interesting but very demoralizing to get tests like this.

It also turns out he's affiliated/ works with/ getting PhD with the med school? weird?

He said no curve, no ec, no drops, no nothing....and he said it like it was really no big deal. So it looks like 22% will stand as class average!

sweet!!:laugh:
 

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Well we had our 1st class since the impossible exam and long since he posted the grades.

Students were pretty angry about it. Mostly they were nervous about the remaining exams. He said that he felt the exam was easier than the first? How? Is he that blind? He also said nothing will be done to change the grades and it will only get more difficult.

Socially he is a nice guy and the material is very interesting but very demoralizing to get tests like this.

It also turns out he's affiliated/ works with/ getting PhD with the med school? weird?

He said no curve, no ec, no drops, no nothing....and he said it like it was really no big deal. So it looks like 22% will stand as class average!

sweet!!:laugh:

Wow, that's just unacceptable. You said he's new, right? Since he's not tenured, he's pretty expendable and doesn't have any real power. I say take it over his head. It's unacceptable to have an average that low and have no response for that.
 

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ok guys....I'm going to the dept chair.

This think is getting silly. I will have 174 hours after this semester with a 3.98 GPA. It appears I will get an F along with the rest of the class.

How is that going to look?

1st undergrad 2.0 gpa from years ago.......I then spend 174 hours bio degree/ post bacc 3.98 + this 3 hours F?

At this point I'm making myself sick.....I swear these things only happen to me.

Good Grief.......who in the hell has a hard psychology course? I mean its psych for crying out loud ...give me a break.


okay I'm done. (4 now)
 

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Good Grief.......who in the hell has a hard psychology course? I mean its psych for crying out loud ...give me a break.

While usually true, don't tell the dept. chair this. :) However, it sounds like this class has moved beyond the bounds of hard and has moved towards impossible for anybody except the guy who's writing the test. He's mad at you guys for not attending. He's mad at you guys for failing this test. He's just gonna try to punish you all for the rest of the class.

Good luck! :luck:
 

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ok guys....I'm going to the dept chair.

This think is getting silly. I will have 174 hours after this semester with a 3.98 GPA. It appears I will get an F along with the rest of the class.

How is that going to look?

1st

Good luck. I will say that when I was doing my post-bacc, I talked often with the department chairs in Chemistry and physics. Not because I had problems with them, per se - but just in general.

They told me that they listened much more closely to post-baccs because they seemed to be less 'whiny' about little things. So, when it was starting to get to the point where the older students thought things were out of hand, it was time to look closely at a situation.

I hope your dept chair feels the same way. Just keep it professional, and as non finger-pointy as you can. I wish you the best.
 

Krisss17

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Well we had our 1st class since the impossible exam and long since he posted the grades.

Students were pretty angry about it. Mostly they were nervous about the remaining exams. He said that he felt the exam was easier than the first? How? Is he that blind? He also said nothing will be done to change the grades and it will only get more difficult.

Socially he is a nice guy and the material is very interesting but very demoralizing to get tests like this.

It also turns out he's affiliated/ works with/ getting PhD with the med school? weird?

He said no curve, no ec, no drops, no nothing....and he said it like it was really no big deal. So it looks like 22% will stand as class average!

sweet!!:laugh:

Do you still have the tests (1 and 2) on hand? Bring that with you when you speak with the Dept. Chair.

Best of luck. Let us know what happens!
 
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