Quality education is a project. It requires a tremendous amount of effort from all those involved – students, administrators, staff and professors – in order to ensure that true learning is taking place. Unfortunately, there are some parties in the equation that do not consistently demonstrate an effort conducive to quality and deep learning; disturbingly, this includes professors and students, the most directly involved agents in the education project.
There are many great professors and hard-working students at Geneseo. In fact, most of our instructors and peers are exemplary. But we all know of students and professors who do not put in the effort that should be reflective of a Geneseo education.
There are few things more infuriating for a hard-working student than to spend days writing a paper only to receive it back two days later with nothing but a numerical grade written on the top. Not even a single comment? Really? After we put in all that effort? This lack of feedback is simply unacceptable for a professor at a school that so prides itself on supplying high-quality, rigorous instruction.
Perhaps a close second to the blatant disregard of students' written work is the lack of any discernable desire to update courses by changing syllabi and tests from year to year. Many students have taken courses where tests are reused semester after semester – School of Business, anyone? That a professor would fail to design evaluation agents that effectively measure student performance is reprehensible at any institution.
We understand that some courses are not designed to be difficult. Many introductory-level courses are appropriately configured to allow students to explore new areas without worrying about stressful work. When students feel totally unchallenged in a 300-level class, though, something is very wrong.
Another point: Learning is a two-way process between the student and teacher. If we are going to expect professors to put forth the effort to teach us, we need to be willing to put forth the effort to learn. Students must hold themselves to high standards and go beyond the bare minimum of showing up to class a slight majority of the time, throwing together "BS" assignments, skimming readings before class and texting friends to see if they have copies of last year's homework assignments and tests.
Again, we stress that for the most part, students and professors at Geneseo are putting in the effort, and we appreciate that. But when we're all working together to try to convince the state to allow the State University of New York system to raise more private funds or to divert tax dollars our way, we can't then turn around and undermine the very quality of the education we profess to be fighting so diligently to preserve.