One of the most important experiences in most peoples lives is the development of a work ethic. You discover how you want to be treated for the work you perform.
It’s a different experience for everyone. Some people don’t care how good their work is, as long as they’re getting paid for the job. Other people take pride in their work, considering payment a minor thing. Still others feel that performance depends on payment.
In all objective fairness, NIU has faculty members which apply to all the different kinds of work ethics. However, from the students’ point of view, it seems that NIU is filled with the dregs of the higher education profession.
It seems many professors at NIU are only interested in teaching graduate level courses, or too involved in their own research to care about the lowly undergraduate. NIU does have some dedicated and excellent faculty members, but not enough, and with recent budget cuts their numbers are dwindling.
In defense of research and graduate emphasis, NIU administrators constantly remind the university community that the RAG (Research, Athletics and Graduate School) brings in the big money for NIU compared to the undergraduate program.
Granted, the RAG does bring money into the university, but should a state supported school which receives funding from state taxpayers all but ignore their undergraduate program. I don’t think so.
This week, faculty made a push during the University Council meeting to restrict and classify faculty evaluations to those being evaluated. This will only make the teaching quality at NIU worse.
NIU has its share of good professors, but it seems that even the good professors at NIU could use a brushing up on their teaching and verbal communication skills. Making student evaluations of professors public information will only enhance NIU’s teaching ability. The evaluations (if even read) will help the faculty better themselves. Evaluations should also be published, so that students are guaranteed they’re getting the best quality of education.
NIU should create a work ethic that establishes a need for good teaching at the undergraduate level. Excellent teaching should be emphasized by paying good teachers, as opposed to good professors what they deserve.
Professors with good undergraduate course evaluations should be encouraged to teach more than two classes a semester instead of colleges and departments pressing them to complete research.
NIU students need to make their opinions felt in this process. Evaluations are private information for now, but there’s nothing stopping a class from petitioning for the termination of a bad teacher, or the reward of an excellent one. Don’t let good teachers leave NIU because your administration is to cheap to pay them what they deserve. Without undergraduates, there are no NIU scholars, huskies or law students.
The change doesn’t begin at Lowden Hall, but in the classroom. Don’t ever let anyone tell you different. John La Tourette and his merry minions are simply glorified public servants.