The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 10, 1998, Page 4, Image 4
OPINION EDITOR Cliff Hicks EDITORIAL BOARD Nancy Christensen Brad Davis Sam McKewon Jeff Randall Bret Schulte Qml VIEW Fatal flaw 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 rigor. 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 ** v*** M1V V11V11V UW&.l.AV'kJl-WA.* 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 exams. 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 apartments. 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 time. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mook’s VIEW ■J \. . -•.■Mj :j ■-' i ~ : £3 -£l ■•If -.IA ■ 55'^? ■ s$» & l14 V-? ;•>• ~ • j il-f " - .r ‘i P.V If ■ p P:7- > ■*f Bfc< Guest VIEW Paying tribute Professor s dedication deserves mention RICH STAMLER is a 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. (DeRich) 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 head. 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 pounds. 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!