My college is concerned with growth. So much so that I am afraid that it is sacrificing quality. When I speak of quality I am referring to the student population. We often receive newsletters, emails, etc., from the head administrators that brag about the number of students we are enrolling each semester. Well, that may reflect well on the college but it creates havoc for those who have to process students, serve their needs and for those who teach them. Especially for faculty, it leads to an increased number of classes that have to be taught. I am teaching six this semester (which is extreme). It also leads to increased numbers of students in the classes that have to be taught. The classrooms do not get bigger. The amount of time in class remains the same; but the number of presentations, tests, essays, quizzes, etc., increase in number.
Another problem is that with the increase in numbers comes the lowering of standards to obtain students. There are a number of colleges and universities where I live. The colleges and universities are actually competing for students. Ads can be seen and heard on the radio, TV and billboards. So standards are being dropped to attract more students. Many of the newer students on this campus are having to begin their college career taking remedial reading and mathematic courses before they even get to elementary college algebra.
Since two of the courses I teach are courses that everyone in the college must have I see all of these students; the prepared and unprepared. Many of the unprepared are the first to attend college in their families, come from terrible high schools, do not understand the college environment and shield their lack of preparation by being defensive, obnoxious and by exhibiting outrageous behavior.
During two of my classes yesterday I had spontaneous arguments breakout in each class with students physically posturing and make verbal taunts. I was able to quell both quickly but the fact that it even happened is beyond belief. I have taught classes where students have become heated discussing issues, but it was academically related. These arguments were over personal issues. I had to talk to the first two, who were girls (or teenagers), and it ended with one of the pair stating that she was no “punk” and storming out of the room and the other stating that she will deal with her later.
I don’t think that they realize that they can be kicked out of the college for a fist fight. I have also come to the realization that these situations are what campus security is for. If they want to act that way, I’ll let the police handle it.
This is getting old though……