# Advise on issues with professor

Howdy! I'm looking for some opinions from you guys on what I should do with some troubles I am having in my chemistry class.

The school I am attending has a very small, but good Physics program. The professors are top-notch and teach because they love teaching. I am choosing not to pursue an education at a much larger university because of the amount of "attention" I get with such a small department.

However, the same can't be said for the Chemistry department that we are joined with. There are a few good Chemistry professors, but the majority of them cannot teach effectively. This situation was not helped by the fact that two of our chemistry professors left unannounced, two weeks after the beginning of summer. Therefore, most of these teachers are overloaded and teaching 5-6 sections of classes.

Currently, I am enrolled in a beginners chemistry class (Gen Chem 1, which is required by the physics major). I use what I learn in that class almost every day at work when I run their SEM and present the results.

Unfortunately, my chemistry is far below the standards I am used to. He uses stock powerpoints from the textbook manufacturer and assigns ridiculously difficult homework. If I have a question, I am forced to e-mail him, as I must skip class or work to go to his office hours (that are regularly cancelled). The chances of getting a response to my actual question are low, and when I do, he works the problem for me (giving me the answer).

In most of my e-mails, I specifically ask why he is doing something, instead of how he is doing something. I can understand how he does something if I know why he does it.

In class, it's the same story. Instead of explaining the concept, he works a bunch of problems for us (asking for minimal input), teaching us how to do it vs. why he did it.

This was fine during the first half of the semester, but now that we are moving on to more challenging stuff, I am quickly realizing that I do not have the necessary foundation for the more complex material. Most of the class is failing; not for lack of motive, but for lack of understanding.

His philosophy for exams goes like this: he gives us the easy problems during class, then assigns hard homework for practice. But during the exams, he believes that we should be able to apply the concepts (which he doesn’t teach) to the exam, regardless of the difficulty of the problem. Unfortunately, he uses very difficult problems that require multiple steps to finish (typically 35 questions of mixed difficulty) all while under a time limit.

During class, I asked for him to clarify why he practices that type of examination technique. Instead of answering the question, he gets very frustrated and moves on with the material. It’s my opinion that as a student, I have the right to ask a professor about his teaching techniques. Things got worse the next class day, when he called me out during class, stating that “R (my name) got me flustered because he was challenging my exams. So here’s the take home quiz that I meant to hand out on Tuesday.” If he has a problem with me, then I expect him to come to me and not undermine me during class.

This is not a personality conflict. My issue is that out class have been given a sub-standard teacher who is lecturing a section of majors (our class is only for Chem and Phys majors). Apparently, others have had the same problem, as my advisor has had other students talk to him about difficulties with this professor.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

I talked with my advisor, who forwarded my issues to the department chair. An investigation was opened, but nothing has become of it for 2 weeks. Not knowing what to do next, I got my dad involved. He contacted the department chair directly and tried to get the investigation back on track. That hasn’t done anything. I asked for my advisors permission to go directly to the department chair, which he has allowed. I have a meeting with the chair tomorrow. My dad will be taking off time from work to “show his presence” and try to get the issue fixed.

I have 6 weeks left in the semester to get things fixed. Currently, I am attending another chemistry professor’s lecture to learn the concepts, on top of my currently enrolled class.

I currently have a 4.0GPA, which I have worked very hard for. I don’t want to lose that because I could not learn the concepts from a professor who cannot teach.

Do any current professors at other schools have advice on what to do? I feel like crap right now because I’m putting a lot of stress on my advisor and the physics side of the department; something I did not intend to do.

Thanks.

Dear lord, that was a long post. Sorry if anyone has to read through all of that. :/

lisab
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
What do you mean by your dad "showing his presence"? You mean he will intervene somehow?

Purely my opinion: this isn't a good idea. I completely believe you when you say you work hard for your great grades, but it probably won't impress the other professors at your college if you bring in your parents when the going gets rough.

jtbell
Mentor
This situation was not helped by the fact that two of our chemistry professors left unannounced, two weeks after the beginning of summer. Therefore, most of these teachers are overloaded and teaching 5-6 sections of classes.

Been there, done that, got the ulcers. A few years ago I had to teach four different lectures and three labs, after an instructor walked out on us two weeks before the beginning of fall semester. I barely made it through the semester. I'm sure your professor is feeling as frustrated by this as you are. You both had the bad luck to get into a terrible situation.

This just sounds like a bad idea IMO.

jtbell
Mentor
Here's a wild idea. Given the unusual circumstances, you might be able to persuade the administration to let you withdraw from the course without penalty even if it's past the normal deadline for doing so, and take it over next year, when staffing will presumably be at a normal level again. You'd probably have to apply to the Dean or Provost or whatever your college calls its "chief academic officer," and it would probably help to have the support of the physics department chair.

I'm surprised people are agreeing with this. It sounds like you are over demanding of your professors. You don't have a run of the mill professor and what do you do? You complain? Ever thought of teaching yourself? This is college not highschool. The professor isn't obliged to sit down emailing you back and forth explaining to you step by step.. and yet you feel that it is a right to expect more. You would be chewed up and spit out in graduate school. It isn't a right to have a VERY caring professor but a convenience. Your professor sounded like he joked around about you calling him out during class and your going up to authority and making a big deal out of things... Heck your taking your dad into this. It is in fact you who wronged him by calling him out and questioning his methodology.

You just want everything the easy way or the high way. All of this sounds a lot like immaturity.

His philosophy for exams goes like this: he gives us the easy problems during class, then assigns hard homework for practice. But during the exams, he believes that we should be able to apply the concepts (which he doesn’t teach) to the exam, regardless of the difficulty of the problem. Unfortunately, he uses very difficult problems that require multiple steps to finish (typically 35 questions of mixed difficulty) all while under a time limit.

Okay and???? You get one harder class and you complain all about it. Are you serious? Obviously your professor expects more of his students. This isn't out of the wild or anything. I think your just expecting everything to go nice and smoothly.

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Start exploiting other resources, and do it now. Whether this is your opinion regarding the Professor, or the class is in collective agreement with you, it doesn't matter. You are going to encounter some professors are not very good at what they do, and some that are. Mine as well get used to it now.

This is every chemistry professor that I have ever had. I am taking Organic 1 next semester with the same crummy professor I took General 2 with last semester, and I maintained a 4.0 by learning the material myself with resources like khanacademy (and borek on physicsforums!).

Like someone said before, he tells you the general gist and it is up to you to conceptualize the rest and work practice problems.

I talked with my advisor, who forwarded my issues to the department chair. An investigation was opened, but nothing has become of it for 2 weeks. Not knowing what to do next, I got my dad involved. He contacted the department chair directly and tried to get the investigation back on track. That hasn’t done anything. I asked for my advisors permission to go directly to the department chair, which he has allowed. I have a meeting with the chair tomorrow. My dad will be taking off time from work to “show his presence” and try to get the issue fixed.

You called in for an investigation, what?! How many other students are having as much of a trouble with the course as you are currently? If you're in the minority, you didn't work hard enough to conceptualize and actually apply the material.

General Chemistry I is very similar to High School chemistry, and from my understanding of it, you go from mole problems up to the 3 states of matter (gas, liquid, solid) and understanding that stuff before moving on to G.C. II. The half-way point must be electron configurations or learning about Lewis structures, and that is pretty intuitive if you work practice problems and watch different videos from different people (generally professors) explaining them to you.

You should have tried alternative studying habits and learning habits before calling in your dad and opening an investigation.

The fact is that I paid money to be taking this course when I could have been taking Linear Algebra or Diff. Eq. Looking back on the situation, I could have taken this course at the local tech school for 1/3 the cost and probably gotten a better teacher.

I understand that everyone is under stress, but that doesn't solve the problem that I am stuck paying for a professor who cannot teach.

You called in for an investigation, what?! How many other students are having as much of a trouble with the course as you are currently? If you're in the minority, you didn't work hard enough to conceptualize and actually apply the material.

The rest of his sections are failing. On the last test, he had to put a 14 point curve to make a "passing average" for the class. Two of his 4 sections are all Chemistry and Physics majors. He now gives us take home quizzes to get people's grades up.

Start exploiting other resources, and do it now. Whether this is your opinion regarding the Professor, or the class is in collective agreement with you, it doesn't matter. You are going to encounter some professors are not very good at what they do, and some that are. Mine as well get used to it now.

What's sad is that I am paying to teach myself. It's principle based that my school will accept payment for this class, while not providing a suitable teacher. Other classes are getting along very well. Just the classes that are taught by this professor are having trouble.

I'm surprised people are agreeing with this. It sounds like you are over demanding of your professors. You don't have a run of the mill professor and what do you do? You complain? Ever thought of teaching yourself? This is college not highschool. The professor isn't obliged to sit down emailing you back and forth explaining to you step by step.. and yet you feel that it is a right to expect more. You would be chewed up and spit out in graduate school. It isn't a right to have a VERY caring professor but a convenience. Your professor sounded like he joked around about you calling him out during class and your going up to authority and making a big deal out of things... Heck your taking your dad into this. It is in fact you who wronged him by calling him out and questioning his methodology.

Is it too much to ask for a professor to do his job? I pay him to teach Chemistry. Judging by the how the rest of the class is going, he hasn't done that.

Yeah. I was homeschooled, so I know how to teach myself. That's not the issue. I'm not asking for him to sit and explain every little detail, but at the same time that's what I am paying him for.

If you pay $50k for a new car, you expect it to perform like a$50k car. Not $40k, not$49k. It's principle based.

The only reason my dad got involved was because I mentioned the situation to him. Next thing I know, my adviser said that he got an email from my dad. The nice thing was that everyone started taking me seriously, instead of brushing me off as some student who was whining for an A (which I have right now).

Here's a wild idea. Given the unusual circumstances, you might be able to persuade the administration to let you withdraw from the course without penalty even if it's past the normal deadline for doing so, and take it over next year, when staffing will presumably be at a normal level again. You'd probably have to apply to the Dean or Provost or whatever your college calls its "chief academic officer," and it would probably help to have the support of the physics department chair.

I can't drop this class, because I need the credits for next semester. My scholarships require that I take 15 credit each semester. I'm taking 18 now and need to keep 18. Next semester, I'll be doing an independent study course (teaching robotics). If I drop, I'll go down to 14 credits this semester and will have to pick up 16 next semester, which is something I do not want to have to do. Thanks for the idea though. =)

What do you mean by your dad "showing his presence"? You mean he will intervene somehow?

Purely my opinion: this isn't a good idea. I completely believe you when you say you work hard for your great grades, but it probably won't impress the other professors at your college if you bring in your parents when the going gets rough.

At first, I didn't expect my dad to get involved. This type of situation happened last semester. The department agreed with me that the professor (last semester) was not good at teaching, but nothing was done about it. My dad stepped in this time, because he wants this resolved and not brushed aside like it was last time.

Right now, I have an A in the class. I've taught the material to myself up until now. The issue is that my school accepted payment for a class that they are not adequately teaching. We had a substitute the other day who was excellent at teaching. So the school cannot say that our current professor is the "best of what they have".

In situations like this at our school, investigations are opened whenever a student has a valid complaint about a professor. Since I have another professor (my adviser) and other classmates that agree with me, an investigation was opened. However, most of the time they are never finished by the end of the semester until final grades are posted, which defeats the purpose. The final for the class is a standardized test. Compared to what the rest of the classes are learning, I do not know if I will be prepared for the final. Yes, I will study my butt off like I always do. But it's hard to study when the basic concepts aren't understood.

f95toli
Gold Member
Okay and???? You get one harder class and you complain all about it. Are you serious? Obviously your professor expects more of his students. This isn't out of the wild or anything. I think your just expecting everything to go nice and smoothly.

Sigh..

This seems to be a VERY common reply whenever someone mentions a problem with a teacher. Sometimes a reply might this might even be justified, but I don't see why someone should just have to accept that he/she is having to deal with a teacher who can't teach.

There ARE some really bad teachers out there. One problem in academia is of course that there are many (in some places most) researchers who do not like to teach and only do it because they have to, this means that the likelihood of coming across someone who is actually incompetent is quite high.
I had a lecturer once (end of the 1st year when I was an undergrad) who was a very good mathematician (full professor with a very good group), but he had some rather unorthodox ideas about how to plan and run a course. In the end something like 75% of us failed the exam, and the professor who was responsible for the following course had to add extra lectures to HER course in order to cover material that we were suppose to have learnt in the previous course.
In the end this lecturer was banned from teaching for a few years (he refused to accept that he was doing something wrong) and is (as far as I know) still not allowed to teach advanced math.
In retrospect I wish we had complained earlier, that course nearly made me transfer to another program (several students did).
This is an extreme example, but it illustrates my point: there is nothing wrong with complaining as long as there is a genuine problem, and it is done constructively. Sometimes it does lead to improvements.

Typical response from the chemistry department chair! He can easily draw this out until your class is finished. On the other hand, the physics department are probably very amused by all this - they must know how bad the chemistry department are - so as long as you continue to get good classes in physics they'll love you and remember you... take all physics classes from now on if possible!

How much does a good grade in this class really count in the final analysis? In any case, you are getting an A - just keep working hard at it - it's only for a short while.

Why does everyone assume that letter grades are assigned as a universal marking system? It's not.

I'm surprised people are agreeing with this. It sounds like you are over demanding of your professors. You don't have a run of the mill professor and what do you do? You complain? Ever thought of teaching yourself? This is college not highschool. The professor isn't obliged to sit down emailing you back and forth explaining to you step by step.. and yet you feel that it is a right to expect more. You would be chewed up and spit out in graduate school. It isn't a right to have a VERY caring professor but a convenience. Your professor sounded like he joked around about you calling him out during class and your going up to authority and making a big deal out of things... Heck your taking your dad into this. It is in fact you who wronged him by calling him out and questioning his methodology.

You just want everything the easy way or the high way. All of this sounds a lot like immaturity.

Okay and???? You get one harder class and you complain all about it. Are you serious? Obviously your professor expects more of his students. This isn't out of the wild or anything. I think your just expecting everything to go nice and smoothly.

Was this really necessary? The OP is looking for advice, not a text lashing. Lighten up, geez.

micromass
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
While I do empathize with the OP, I want to make a few things clear:

1) Bringing your dad in is a big no-no. You are an adult and you are expected to handle such a situations on your own. What if you have a job later and have a problem with your boss, will your dad show his presence as well??

2) Calling your teacher out in front of the class was a very bad thing. You should have talked with him individually instead of trying to publically humiliate him. Your professor is probably under a whole lot of stress and he does seem to try his best. If you question his teaching methods, then do so privately outside of class.

3) Lectures in college aren't there to spoonfeed you the material. You should be able to learn the material individually. Buy a book and read it. Lectures are there to allow you to ask questions and let it be answered by the lecturer (at least, that's how I see it).

You should be able to learn the material individually. Buy a book and read it.

I don't see why there should be a lecture then. Reading individually should be expected, but I think that doesn't excuse a teacher asking the student to do everything. Why not just have office hours where the student can drop by to ask questions, and have the course be conducted remotely?

I think it's pretty clear lectures should be instructive and helpful in discussing the material, and it's understandable to dislike it if the presentation is lacking. If the student is held to standards to perform well, so should the teacher.

Calling your teacher out in front of the class was a very bad thing. You should have talked with him individually

I agree with this.

At first, I didn't expect my dad to get involved.

But what do you expect to gain from your dad getting involved? How would it help sort things out beyond what you could have accomplished individually? You know your academic situation better than your dad, however invested in and desiring of he is of your school success.

In class, it's the same story. Instead of explaining the concept, he works a bunch of problems for us (asking for minimal input), teaching us how to do it vs. why he did it.

This is a valid complaint because you are at a place where teaching is of paramount importance. But this is very common at other schools where the professor just wants to get the lecture over with (though there are always professors who do a great job at teaching).

Ever thought of teaching yourself? This is college not highschool. The professor isn't obliged to sit down emailing you back and forth explaining to you step by step.. and yet you feel that it is a right to expect more. You would be chewed up and spit out in graduate school.

I agree the professor needn't e-mail back and forth. This student is not in graduate school yet. And there can probably be a happier balance.

I do agree that expecting a 4.0 and not to have professors who put in substandard effort always is not really in line with reality.

micromass
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
I don't see why there should be a lecture then. Reading individually should be expected, but I think that doesn't excuse a teacher asking the student to do everything. Why not just have office hours where the student can drop by to ask questions, and have the course be conducted remotely?

I think it's pretty clear lectures should be instructive and helpful in discussing the material, and it's understandable to dislike it if the presentation is lacking. If the student is held to standards to perform well, so should the teacher.

Well, of course the teacher should also perform well, but the reality is very different. The real issue is that professors aren't judged on how they teach, but rather on how good their research is!! I would imagine that the professor in question has such a huge workload, and I can't blame him for putting his research as a priority. The issue is much more complex than "the teacher should teach better".

Second, students should learn to work individually in case of a bad teacher. Everybody has had some bad professor once in a while. But the trick is to compensate that to work alone and not to depend on the lectures too much. A college student should be able to handle it.

Again, in the ideal world, the teacher should do a good job. But things are how they are now. The OP doesn't like it, but neither does the professor. You're both in a bad situation, and you got to make the best of it.

f95toli
Gold Member
Well, of course the teacher should also perform well, but the reality is very different. The real issue is that professors aren't judged on how they teach, but rather on how good their research is!! I would imagine that the professor in question has such a huge workload, and I can't blame him for putting his research as a priority. The issue is much more complex than "the teacher should teach better".

Second, students should learn to work individually in case of a bad teacher. Everybody has had some bad professor once in a while. But the trick is to compensate that to work alone and not to depend on the lectures too much. A college student should be able to handle it.

But if you work at a universtity and teaching is part of your job it is only right that people expect you to at least make an effort. Most of the people I know that teach a lot accepts that they sometimes have to put their research on the backburner because of teaching/admin obiligations. That is just part of the job, and if you REALLY don't like it you should consider a career change.
I know from experience (teaching when I was a PhD student) that I would in all likelyhood make a terrible teacher if I was ever put in charge of a course; mainly because I don't enjoy it. Hence, I would never dream of applying for a position where teching was large part of the job (I wouldn't mind teaching smaller -more focused- courses).

Moreover, there is a difference between a bad teacher and a REALLY bad teacher. You are of course right that no one can complettely avoid "bad" professors and that is something that you have to deal with, but that does not mean that you should tolerate the REALLY bad ones (and the really bad ones are often -in my experience- the ones that do not even realize how bad they are, but simply blame "stupid students").
I remember one professor (think it was in subatomic physics) who told us during the first lecture that he knew he wasn't a great teacher, but that he had organized the course in such a way that one could pass it with good grades without even going to his lectures ( I think I went to two or three), i.e. plenty of hand-in assignments and a good course book. Hence, there ARE ways to deal with this if there is a will.

I'm surprised people are agreeing with this. It sounds like you are over demanding of your professors. You don't have a run of the mill professor and what do you do? You complain? Ever thought of teaching yourself?

As I read down the page, I was waiting for the first "professors are holy and don't have to do anything, you ungrateful n'wah" post.

Too many posts to quote. I have a test in this class tomorrow, so I need to start studying. I didn't want to leave everyone hanging and thinking that I abandoned this thread.

The professor lives around 1.5 hours away. His only office hours are during the day. Either I skip class, or work to go to his office hours. When I did skip work to go to his office hours, he cancelled them.

Most seem to be under the impression that I want to be spoonfed this material. I'm a physics major, so I understand the importance of figuring out everything on my own. That's how I have an A in the class right now. I study my butt off.

However, if I am teaching myself this material, what am I paying for? College is a business. If I pay someone to do something, then I expect it to be done. Unfortunately, this is not the case at my school.

Now, onto today's meeting with the chair:

He told me that there were only 5 weeks left in the semester. There isn't much that can be done, which I understand. He said to continue attending the other professor's lecture when I have time and to study like I am doing. Right now, I don't have the time or energy to continue fighting this on principle. I'm going for the "A" in the class to keep my 4.0. If I get it, it'll be the end and I won't minor in Chemistry (like I was on track to).

What I am scared of is that I will be a "B". I know that some have said not to worry about getting an "A". I know from experience, that if I don't get an "A", I didn't do my best. It's a letdown for me. No one else understands this, and is OK with a "B", but not for me. An "A" is the goal, and if I don't get it, I've failed. This type of mentality is what's keeping me going in school.

If I am going to lose my 4.0, it had better be in a worthy course, such as E&M or Dynamics. Getting a "B" in Gen. Chem. 1 is unacceptable. Plus, I use the stuff I learn in chemistry for my internship.

I've given up learning stuff in this class, and am now focused on doing the problems on the exam. If the final is purely conceptual based, then I'll fail. If it is all problems, I'll pass. I'll probably be roaming around the forums asking random questions. Hope y'all won't mind.

The real issue is that professors aren't judged on how they teach, but rather on how good their research is!

I was under the impression that we're talking about a school where teaching is paramount, and research is not what the professors are paid for. If it were, then I'd still say there is room to question the teaching methods, albeit less so. Even in those situations, if the professor's inability to teach were coupled with unreasonable expectations, I don't think it's exactly acceptable. Sure, life's not fair, but that's a stupid argument to make when we're trying to talk constructively, which arguably is the only reason to talk at all here.

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Again, in the ideal world, the teacher should do a good job. But things are how they are now. The OP doesn't like it, but neither does the professor. You're both in a bad situation, and you got to make the best of it.

And perhaps that's the whole issue - what does "make the best of it" mean? I know there are professors who just don't cover stuff that the student needs to know, and thus unfairly jeopardize their students' records by asking random, difficult questions. Perhaps this professor should provide a way for students to perform decently, given the extent to which he prepares them.

I don't think challenging such a practice is horrible.

What I do think is unacceptable is taking class time for challenging the professor, because it is disruptive.

Difficulty of a class is fine, but it should reflect difficulty of the material, not inability of the professor to prepare the students for what he wants them to do.

What I do think is unacceptable is taking class time for challenging the professor, because it is disruptive.

I've noticed a lot of people have addressed this issue.

First, I didn't directly challenge the professor. Another student brought up the subject and I asked the simple question as to why he leaves the hardest questions on the exam. I just happened to be the last person to say something in the conversation.

Was it rude to challenge him in front of the class? Yes, but we were already on the subject, and he was already giving his reasons for it. I may have come off as rude, but that was not my intention. I've already got an apology written up, and I plan to skip work or class (I don't know if he is going to cancel office hours yet) to formally apologize for insulting him.

On a different note, I believe that every student has the right to ask the motives behind a teacher's way of teaching, as the students pay to be taught. That's standard business.

As for taking up class time, we got out 10 minutes early that day (like we do almost every day).

I was under the impression that we're talking about a school where teaching is paramount, and research is not what the professors are paid for.

This professor is a lecturer, and does not do any research as far as I know.

To ME it seems as though you are over-exaggerating..... You have an A in this class. Obviously this professor isn't having as detrimental of an effect on you as you convey... Also, first world problems, hey? Wah wah if I get a B

To ME it seems as though you are over-exaggerating..... You have an A in this class. Obviously this professor isn't having as detrimental of an effect on you as you convey... Also, first world problems, hey? Wah wah if I get a B

Over-exaggerating about learning the foundational material that I need for my job?

Also, I've worked hard for my 4.0. I don't want to give it up now.

EDIT: P.S. I like that name. I'm going to guess it has something to do with Intel. =D

micromass
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
Was it rude to challenge him in front of the class? Yes, but we were already on the subject, and he was already giving his reasons for it. I may have come off as rude, but that was not my intention. I've already got an apology written up, and I plan to skip work or class (I don't know if he is going to cancel office hours yet) to formally apologize for insulting him.

Very good. Being able to apologize is what makes a person great!!

I might have acted in this thread like I didn't support your plan, this was not the idea at all. I think it's a very good thing that you took matters in your own hand and talked with your advisor and the department chair!! I just wanted to put some perspective on the matter. That is: I wanted to make clear that your lecturer isn't "evil" or anything. Fine, he should lecture better, but he's likely to be overloaded with work as well!! That said, I feel that it's the university that has to do something about it...

Well done!

Over-exaggerating about learning the foundational material that I need for my job?

Also, I've worked hard for my 4.0. I don't want to give it up now.

EDIT: P.S. I like that name. I'm going to guess it has something to do with Intel. =D

Well, hopefully you can pull it off despite your professor. Whenever I get a professor that does not live up to my personal expectations, I tend to leave them a nasty review come that time. One of our professors from last year got fired due to the collective negative reviews that she attained.

Additionally, where did you get this intel? hehe ;)

Very good. Being able to apologize is what makes a person great!!

I might have acted in this thread like I didn't support your plan, this was not the idea at all. I think it's a very good thing that you took matters in your own hand and talked with your advisor and the department chair!! I just wanted to put some perspective on the matter. That is: I wanted to make clear that your lecturer isn't "evil" or anything. Fine, he should lecture better, but he's likely to be overloaded with work as well!! That said, I feel that it's the university that has to do something about it...

Well done!

I don't think that my professor is evil. He's a really really nice guy in person. It's just that the lecturing standards are not up to par from what I am used to. And yes, he is overloaded, and I have come up with a solution that might help the entire department. I plan to talk with the chair again to state the plan (it's modeled after how the Physics side of the department handles the amount of load in our Introductory courses).

Instead of grouping classes into small 10-15 person classes, it would make more sense to make one BIG class (30-40 students) then have loads of office hours for people to come in and get one on one time with professors. That way, the professor wouldn't have to worry about 4 different sections of one class, and the large amount of office hours would make him available when other people's schedules would work.

This is how we do it in Physics. We have large classes of 40-45 people, where each professor teaches one section at different times. Then, when people have questions about the material, every professor is in his office when he is not teaching and can help. Plus, we have Physics tutors that roam around for most of the day helping people with their homework. Our system works great for people who need the one on one time or want to learn the material.

I don't want to be the guy who points out an issue without a solution. I've pointed out the problem, now it's time to reveal my solution. Going to poll all of my physics professors tomorrow on whether they would like to teach a bunch of smaller classes or one large class. By the end of the semester, I want to have a detailed plan for the chair to be able to use if he wants. That way I stay in the good graces of the Chemistry department. =)

Well, hopefully you can pull it off despite your professor. Whenever I get a professor that does not live up to my personal expectations, I tend to leave them a nasty review come that time. One of our professors from last year got fired due to the collective negative reviews that she attained.

I don't want him fired. But at the same time, he shouldn't be teaching on a sub-par level. That's what my situation is.

Additionally, where did you get this intel? hehe ;)

I LOVE my 2500k. Folds like a champ at 4.5GHz. Going to shoot for 5GHz when I get a XSPC Rasa kit.

This is every chemistry professor that I have ever had. I am taking Organic 1 next semester with the same crummy professor I took General 2 with last semester, and I maintained a 4.0 by learning the material myself with resources like khanacademy (and borek on physicsforums!).

Every chemistry prof? This is like every college math/science/engineering class ever. . .

mege
One attitude that I find disturbing is the: "I've paid for this education so I deserve..." comments. While this may be true at a most basic, simplified level - it should be pointed out that the success of the student is still ultimately the student's responsibility. Bad stuff happens and the reaction to it can be as much of a test of character as success in the class. I think having the simplified/entitled attitude steers the problem towards a(n) (potentially percieved) externality.

Instead, I think the comment should be more along the lines of: "I've paid for this education for the opportunity to..." (succeed/learn/research/...). With this line of thinking the student internalizes their struggle and has noone to blame but themself. Now, this doesn't mean that everything is the student's fault - but ultimately how they handle the situation is. Also, opportunity doesn't mean that every student is given the exact same chances... some have an easier time at University than others.

What's sad is that I am paying to teach myself.
Welcome to college. The system is made in a way that this isn't uncommon.

Sigh..

This seems to be a VERY common reply whenever someone mentions a problem with a teacher. Sometimes a reply might this might even be justified, but I don't see why someone should just have to accept that he/she is having to deal with a teacher who can't teach.

There ARE some really bad teachers out there. One problem in academia is of course that there are many (in some places most) researchers who do not like to teach and only do it because they have to, this means that the likelihood of coming across someone who is actually incompetent is quite high.
I had a lecturer once (end of the 1st year when I was an undergrad) who was a very good mathematician (full professor with a very good group), but he had some rather unorthodox ideas about how to plan and run a course. In the end something like 75% of us failed the exam, and the professor who was responsible for the following course had to add extra lectures to HER course in order to cover material that we were suppose to have learnt in the previous course.
In the end this lecturer was banned from teaching for a few years (he refused to accept that he was doing something wrong) and is (as far as I know) still not allowed to teach advanced math.
In retrospect I wish we had complained earlier, that course nearly made me transfer to another program (several students did).
This is an extreme example, but it illustrates my point: there is nothing wrong with complaining as long as there is a genuine problem, and it is done constructively. Sometimes it does lead to improvements.

Because college is the start of independence, this includes teaching yourself. The professor is there to guide you, not to spoon feed you material. It isn't high school.

But I do agree that in some extreme cases something should be done. Whether it is in OP's case or not isn't my decision because I'm not in class. In my college many fail my professor's calculus and physics test. But that is because most are lazy and he doesn't take it easy. I like his tests, they toughen me and prepare me for the harder classes. I get the feeling that op's class is the same thing where a lot of people take the class but don't necessarily put in enough time because it isn't their major.

Was this really necessary? The OP is looking for advice, not a text lashing. Lighten up, geez.
Yeah, I guess I might have sounded a little harsh. But that wasn't my intention. OP, I apologizes if it bothered you.

One attitude that I find disturbing is the: "I've paid for this education so I deserve..." comments. While this may be true at a most basic, simplified level - it should be pointed out that the success of the student is still ultimately the student's responsibility. Bad stuff happens and the reaction to it can be as much of a test of character as success in the class. I think having the simplified/entitled attitude steers the problem towards a(n) (potentially percieved) externality.

Instead, I think the comment should be more along the lines of: "I've paid for this education for the opportunity to..." (succeed/learn/research/...). With this line of thinking the student internalizes their struggle and has noone to blame but themself. Now, this doesn't mean that everything is the student's fault - but ultimately how they handle the situation is. Also, opportunity doesn't mean that every student is given the exact same chances... some have an easier time at University than others.

Stated my point better than I did.

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