The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 03, 1969, Page PAGE 4, Image 4
rTT'Sn MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1969 PAGE 4 THE DAILY NEBRASKAN v Of i At J, . ' ir- :5 Are stadents just compu. ter data oers v EDITOR'S NOTE: Is it true that pxofcssors are too preoccupied with research to have time for their students! Or aren't the students in terested in getting to know their pro fessors? Faye Musil, senior in Journalism, devoted several weeks to a investigation of these and similar questions. Her story was written for wd School c! Journalism depth reporting class. bj Faye Musil 'Are students really just numbers n computer data sheets? Or is it all just the fantasy of a few students? The following quotes drawn frim student questionnaires and faculty in terviews illustrate the controversy as it affects the University. The following "conversation" didn't really happen but the words are those of pro fessors and students, put together to make a conversation. STUDENT: One of my professors Is never in his office. I tried many times during the day. PROFESSOR: I manage one office hour a day, because I'm willing to work two nights a week. STUDENT: Classes are just too big In most cases. A teacher can't know 300 students. PROFESSOR: A lot of students don't try much. They go by a teacher's office a couple of times and If he's busy they gripe. STUDENT: Instructors are too egotistical and too interested in research. They have no time at all for students. PROFESSOR: If a student wants to talk, there are no obstructions. STUDENT: My adviser seems not tmwilling but unenthusiastic about talking to anyone. PROFESSOR : Students don't Understand sometimes that teachers are human. 'Teachers are human,' said Dr. Max Poole, associate professor of elementary education and educational administration. And both teachers and students all over XLTs two campuses t Lincoln seemed to agree with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Teachers are shy and students are dry, according to H. W. Manter, curator of parasitology for the University Museum. An NU teacher for 40 years before retirement, Manter gaid that shyness is one of the greatest reasons why students and professors don't see more of each other. HE SAID THAT students are afraid tt taMag a teacher's time. Teachers, en the other hand, who would be delighted to have students show an Jcterest, think that the students are uninterested and decline to pressure (hem. There never has been as much Contact as there should have been, be said. Now, Manter added, the problem has been multiplied by the numbers Cf students at NU. Numbers, numbers, numbers. MAYBE STUDENTS who come to the university make a psychological adtnsent to its size before they even am, theorized Dr. Robert F. Sittig, assistant professor of political science. t 9 one For those who aren't prepared for large schools, there are always private colleges, he went on. "Here I have to hedge, though," he said. "Small colleges cost money." Out of 174 students answering a questionnaire, 72 listed cost as one of their reasons for attending NU. And are those students satisfied with the relationships they have with their professors? OF THE 72 students, 47 per cent reported satisfaction and 42 per cent dissatisfaction. The remaining 11 per cent were unable to decide, mostly because they hadn't attended NU long enough to form any impressions. These results are similar to the over-all results of a student question naire from which they were taken. Of 181 student respondents, 46 per cent said they were satisfied and 39 per cent said that they were dissatisfied with student-professor relationships. What are the causes for such ap parent student unhappiness? Numbers, numbers, numbers. Large numbers of students lead to large classes. Said one freshman stu dent, "Classes are just too big in most cases. A teacher can't know 300 students." IF A PROFESSOR were to talk with 300 students for only 10 minutes each, he would spend 50 hours in conversa tion. But, said Dr. Carroll R. McKib bis, assistant professor of political science, a natural conversation can't be limited to just 10 minutes. Suppose the professor talks to each student for 30 minutes. That adds up to 150 hours, almost four weeks. But don't , is'TW. T".. it . S t ii mil ii"- ii nfc t Umm- professor, several hundred stude nts . . . a problem of personalization. t nmnsTwit tnt- fnrtrpt that while the Drofessor is what size his classc forget that while the professor is talking to these students, he still must prepare and deliver lectures. He must continue his research and attend faculty, departmental and college meetings. The results? As a student put it, "Professors have too many students, not enough time, and are often overworked to the point where com munication fails." ANOTHER STUDENT emphasized this lack of communication: "The professor in large lecture courses doesn't understand the student and vice versa . . . Students are either required to attend class or they're told 'it's up to you'. Both seem indif ferent ways to handle the situation. Both are the result of an impersonal relationship. Professors agree that large classes result in a lack of communication. McKibbin said that in large classes, size, as a practical matter, must determine format Discussion, he ad ded, is almost impossible in a class of 150 students. And it's the discussion that tells a professor what things his students are having difficulty un derstanding, he said. DR. IVAN VOLGYES, associate professor of political science, disagreed. He said that he establishes rapport with his classes by comparing government situations to human ex periences. For example, he has com pared Soviet foreign relations to courting. The Soviet Union, he has said, is like a woman trying to be coy while attempting to get a marriage proposal. Volgyes said he couldn't care less CCri AS YOU Alii ret V$Gkm Atmsp&tr IZIX? CASTIXTJA i a fdl USE IE u;:es for ft - i:X GASKET immt GIACE3 Slid C"I3 VC1T ..... .$9.4S EDUST-WFKE ALL OUT rPF $WEET BIPPIES 1969-1970 graduates B. S. Degreed CHEMICAL ENGINEERS MECHANICAL ENGINEERS AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERS ADM, a leading processor of agricultural products for over 65 years, has challanging and interesting careers in production operations leading to plant management PRODUCTION TRAINEES ADM b seeling OiemlcaL Mechanical and Agricultural Engineers for production trainee positions in our Soybean Diviikm. You may choose to learn Vegetable 03 solvent extraction op erations .... Vegetable Oil refining and bydrogenatioo .... or high protein soybean food processing. From this group of specially trained engineer! will come our future plant managers. Tour initial assignment will be at one of our food processing plants in the Midwest. We owuld like to tell you more boat ADM and our career opportu nities during our visit to the University of Nebraska on Wednesday, February 5, 1969. Sign up for an interview at tie placement office . . . . We think youH have an interesting 30 minutes with us. ARCHEH DANIELS MIDLAND 733 Marquette, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55440 - An Equal Opportunity Employer ADM what size his classes are. "I just take them as they come," he said, "and adjust to them." According to Sittig, the anonymity found in large classes isn't all bad. Students in large classes are graded on their accomplishments not on their personalities, he said. McKibbin, too, saw some good in large classes. Small classes, he said, by giving the individual more atten tion from both professor and other students, may be embarrassing to a poor student who needs a large class to hide in until he can catch up. But in pharmacy, adjustments do not need to be made for numbers, according to Dr. Patrick Wells, associate professor of pharmacology. The ratio of students to faculty members is not so large as in other departments, he said, and juniors and seniors spend most of their class time in the pharmacy building. In this way, he added, professors get to know their students on a personal basis. The students drop by to talk about anything from football to serious course problems. Dr. John R. Dans, dean of the Col lege of Architecture and Engineering, said that there are mostly majors taking courses in the college. There are a few large freshman classes, but these are broken down during lab sessions, he added. . DR. WILLIAM L. COLVILLE, professor in agronomy, said that, to break down large classes, the depart ment has instituted "audio-tutorial" labs. The students come into the laboratory and go through prepared assignments. If they have any dif ficulty with their work, an assistant is on duty in the room 16 hours a day. Of large classes Colville com mented, "If you're taking a balance of large and small classes, on the average you're comfortable." No matter what the size of classes, Manter said, "students are like in surance agents. When they stop com ing, you know you're getting old." Numbers, numbers, numbers. TO COMBAT THE problems of large numbers, the English Depart ment has set a limit of 30 in freshman classes. To do this, the department hires graduate assistants to teach. ; One graduate assistant, Lynn Nelson, said that smaller classes make a more personal atmosphere possible. He said personal contact and discussion classes stimulate more student responsiveness. He said he is pleased with class participation. "Education," he argues, "is not osmosis, absorbing the 'Word from On High' in order to spout it back, but a getting involved actively." BEING A STUDENT and teacher at the same time dees create some conflict of interest. Nelson admitted. It's a problem of loyalties, he ex plained. "Which is more important, your studies or your students'?" Numbers, numbers, numbers. Another effect of numbers, ac cording to Eric H. Carlson, political science instructor, is that any student professor relationship outside class must be student-initiated. This is good, Carlson said, because the students get whatever they want in the way of stodent-professor intimacy. Of course, this is not entirely without drawbacks, he added. Students are taught throughout high Continued Oa Page S Read Nebraska Want Ads AUDUBON VUDLIFE FILM "QUEEN OF THE CASCADES" with fr4cw CHARLES T. K0TCHKSS LOVE LIBRARY AUDITORIUM FTS. 10 7:30 PJL limiteJ Stii)fl Sets it in Vogue for Spring Fashion Try youn now in 1SK While or Yellow gold. 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