The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 10, 1998, Page 4, Image 4

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Cliff Hicks
Nancy Christensen
Brad Davis
Sam McKewon
Jeff Randall
Bret Schulte
Dead Week procedure
needs to be changed
UNL needs to revamp its Dead Week
policies as the next step in the line of
many to becoming an academically rigor
ous university.
Instead of one week in which profes
sors (if they follow the rules) cannot give
tests, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
should set aside two days without class.
Students could use these two days
perhaps the final Thursday and Friday of
dead week - to study for final exams, pack
up their residence hall rooms or apart
ments and tie up any loose ends before
semester’s end.
A two-day break would put UNL in
line with many of its Big 12 Conference
peers, such as the University of Missouri
Columbia and the University of Texas in
Austin, which both allow their students
two days to gear up for finals.
TJNL’s Dead Week simply doesn’t
allow enough time for students to put a
great effort into studying.
With many classes having final papers
and projects that are due during Dead
Week, students can’t be expected to give
final exams their all.
Instead, many students resort to last
minute cramming, which certainly cannot
foster the type of learning for which UNL,
in its pursuit for academic quality, strives.
The extra studying time the two-day
break would provide could allow profes
sors to re-evaluate their final exams and
perhaps make them more difficult or com
prehensive in keeping with academic
With the current Dead Week being
mostly Idee any other week, some profes
sors may shy away from creating a true
“final” exam - one that covers material
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Those professors who already give a
daunting final exam would be met on test
ing day by better-prepared students who
have had ample studying time.
Though a two-day break would not be
a “cure-all” for UNL’s mediocre academic
credentials, it could perhaps lessen its rep
utation for easy classes by allowing time
for students to study for harder final
Aside from creating a more academi
cally stringent environment, the two-day
break from classes would allow students
to pack their residence hall rooms or
Many students have to balance paper
writing and studying time with tidying up
their homes to beat the clock on soon-to
expire leases or residence hall contracts.
Though some students undoubtedly
would waste the days off by partying,
drinking and procrastinating, most would •
take advantage of the much-needed study
Editorial Policy
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of
the Fall 1998 Daily Nebraskan. They do
not necessarily reflect the views of the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its
employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
A column is solely the opinion of its author.
The Board of Regents serves as publisher
of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by
the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. The
UNL Publications Board, established by
the regents, supervises the production
of the paper. According to policy set by
the regents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely in
the hands of its student employees.
Latter Policy
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief
letters to the editor and guest columns,
but does not guarantee thek publication.
The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to
edit or reject any material submitted.
Submitted material becomes property of
the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be
returned. Anonymous submissions will
not be published. Those who submit
letters must identify themselves by name,
year in school, mjyor and/or group
affiliation, if any.
Submit material to: Daily Nebraskan, 34
Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. Lincoln,
NE. 68588-0448. E-mail:
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Paying tribute
Professor s dedication deserves mention
junior philosophy major.
A cough drop tucked in one cheek
and enough smile to let you know he
still has good teeth, this professor
appears more vegetarian than carni
vore. After fall semester, he slips out
the southern back door when
Nebraska weather erupts into insanity,
and nature is withering dead all over.
Politically, one may find him left
of center; but he’s one professor who
keeps his mind wedged open. With a
cargo bay full of data and time neces
sary to turn a great ship, this instruc
tor still navigates to broader horizons.
His countenance shines as an
encouraging spirit even though class
es are often dominated by the herds of
the apathetic or frustrated student He
honors passion, realizing its better
fruits may need to drag one kicking
and screaming via the dogmatic sum
mit or through the cynical abyss to
jump-start one into life.
Defending his trenches with a
poker face, he challenges students on
who holds the better hand. Even win
ning, he’ll share the pot and roll out
the proverbial keg. Overtly playing
the passive type, he would not put his
tail between Us legs and bridle him
self from kicking the tar out of stupid
or evil historical figures.
Students, still wet behind the ears
with amnintir fluiH onH nrrwin<'ia1
agendas, may think this political
philosopher has some agenda against
God, country, and even apple pie until
his method is unveiled, to challenge
campus rugrats on what makes good
gods, country and yes, good apple
pie! I digress; therefore, I think.
Enough charades already! Who is
this unmasked, horseless seasonal
sojourner? It is none other than
Professor Phil Dyer tucked away in a
humble temporary office on the filth
floor of Oldfather. This tribute is not
just one buffoon’s voice. I have talked
to many other campus community
clowns of like experiences. None had
a legitimate case against him, espe
cially those who thought he would be
an easy A. Some have changed
degrees; others just took any course
Dr. Dyer would teach.
Even after 33 years of military
life, before his professorship, this pro
fessor never blows his own horn; so I
must on behalf of all! Per life, one
only finds a few mentors like this.
Being one who selfishly hoards his
toys, I regret revealing his name,
knowing I will have to share the sand
box. Whether or not you like political
science, now is the opportunity to
introduce yourself to a standard of
teaching excellence. •
When the weather is good in
Nebraska (an oxymoron), I challenge
you to take a class from Dr. Phil Dyer,
and add a twinkle to your eye and a
bounce to your step. He is seeking
retirement with a vengeance so your
opportunities are limited.
What’s it like hanging with the
likes of Professor Dyer? Greenhorns
who feel they have fallen into enemy
camp will find he can stomach any
political agenda as long as common
sense overrides nonsense. He is of the
pragmatist bent supporting the right to
any ideology that “will get you
through the night” keeping demons'
and indigestion at bay.
Moreover, this professor won’t
profess over his neophytes like some
academic snob hobbling on stilts, slip
ping and swaggering around the high
er-browed regions of the ivory tower.
Like a graying uncle, he treats the
vouneer “urchins” as his own and
nontraditional students as brothers.
He fosters a true Socratic environ
ment hoping to invigorate the lecture
with diverse agendas, devil’s advo
cates, and may, on occasion, invite the
devil himself. Let the dialectic fun '
begin! He breakdances with the likes
of J.S. Mill, who was convinced that
truth is only manifested when it col
lides with error, evil, and competitive
recipes for apple pie.
I would prophesy that his lectures
would resurrect Socrates if not dust
and ashes blowing across the Greek ‘
landscape. Summing up, it’s like
Thanksgiving Day with relatives who
don’t throw food. Dr. Dyer makes
everyone feel round dessert (pie) will
be shared, even if there are a few ver
bose swine at the table.
How well does he work in a pres
sure cooker? That’s where bombastic
individuals come in! As a buffoonish
nontraditional, wallowing in a state of
radical moderation, I have a lot of
wombaggage. My first real
encounter, equivalent to Spock’s
Vulcan mind-meld, was when I chal
lenged him to give an example of
what is expected of essays. I critiqued
the example until the ink was tearing
up on the hapless letters. Without
blinking, Professor Dyer persisted in
reasons to get afleast one toenail back
down to planet earth.
Through the course of the mind
meld, it became evident that he had
given an example of his own work.
My drawers filled as I thought, “This
is no way to start off a class!”
Awestruck in the wake, a well-justi
fied grudge never reared its ugly
Though my first essay drafts col-:
lapsed under their own weight leaving
me staggering like a drunken sailor in
the middle of the grade range, Dr.
Dyer has a method to rehabilitate
youthful madness. Students can
rewrite papers until they have crawled
or clawed as high up the grade scale
as desired. I crawled, in diapers,
securing a decent grade, but not with- ■
out much sweat and a few tears (my
inner child is whispering to come
out). He reads between the lines of the
struggling student, salting them with a
touch of mercy, revealing the disci
ples’ mettle or other inorganic com
Professor Dyer expects all verbal'
rubble and compositional flaws to be
extricated from essays. He also
expects rumination, like cud-chewing
bovine, long enough on his views
until his extracted nutrients have
found one’s bloodstream. However,
after one has dragged his or her tail
down the traditional path, he will
ahow students to take their own tat
tered flag of democracy and plunge it
into history ’s steaming accumulated
heap. What is of great virtue is this
professor raentors under the wings of
mercy, hot between the rock and the t
hard place of justice.
If this professor smoked, it would
probably be a pipe; though he is not ‘
the typical scholar frantically digging
scholastic holes in which only schol
ars would want to peer, or fall in,'as .
the case may be. He works better in
the shadows inspiring radical moder
ates, hoping that their idiosyncrasies *
will not find their way back to misirn
terpreting his lectures.
He is a TEACHER, in the fullest,
sense, seeking to instill passion in stu
dents, the hope of the fiiture - our last
and only hope that someone will be1
present in our futures to carry our
bedpans. Without kingdom or thronq,
long live philosopher kings like •this.;
Long live Professor Phil Dyer!