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Random Fashion Thoughts (Part 3: Style farmer strikes back) - our general discussion thread

clee1982

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I've seen this a lot with Chinese students who have limited English, and so it's a lot easier to stay in their groups. Ultimately, I think that a lot of people, unless forced to, will not leave their comfort zone. It's probabably something that is done better earlier than later, and will result in better outcomes, but at the schools and beyond.
Easy, go to a school without a lot Chinese... or not, think that was actually a solution 20 years ago.

I can tell you as a high school student from oversea, yes my English sucked but in general it’s just very hard to relate, especially by high school.

I’m not sure how easy for school to push that either and definitely even harder in say college.
 

LA Guy

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Haha yes let me email my faculty to ask for the syllabus. They will respond in two - three weeks, if they ever respond. I have exactly 1 week to try courses and see if they're a good fit — with a syllabus that has general readings and structure I can cross courses off that are not a good fit. Most of choosing classes in higher ed as a student is:
1. required for my degree? no syllabus needed
2. course i really want to take? syllabus is super helpful to determine if the prof teaching it this semester isn't a whackjob
3. course that's not required for my degree (elective), but courses i want to take are not offered this semester? syllabus is necessary because I am going in blind from the title of the class.

Guess which one happens the most?

Ah yes, let me calculate my own midterm grade from the checks returned grades from professor... 0 returned papers, projects, exams that I have gotten from my professor.
There are terrible faculty and there are also terrible students, having sat across the desk from both. Adding tasks will not help you in those cases. It's super hard to regulate away shitty professors, and just as hard to regulate away shitty students. If you do that, you just end up with more regulations and mandatory tasks that have no real positive impact but a real cost, in terms of faculty morale (which is important to students), in opportunity time lost, etc...

To answer your points from above:
1) Yes, clearly, if you hope to graduate.
2) The syllubus will not give you any insight on this, except in the most extreme of cases, and even then, profs often share a syllabus, so that information becomes 100% useless for this stated purpose.
3) If it's completely unrelated to your discipline, you are going to go in blind anyway. A course description (rather than a detail syllabus) is probably going to be of much more use to you.

I don't know which happens to you most. That will depend critically on your major. Some majors (like engineering) have fewer electives. Some (general studies, whatever that is). have a lot.

In your second paragraph: you ran into a prof who is shitty at those things. From experience, you have just one good option:
1) Check in with the prof. A good prof who is crap at grading (happens a lot) will help you out.
2) The professor will just put down whatever it is they need to to get administration off their backs. The midterm grade will mean pretty much nothing, and so you've learned nothing. Some students still turn to me for advice on this type of stuff, and my advice is - if you feel like you might need to drop the class because of grades, you should probably drop it instead of limping on for a D or C-. That is miserable for you and you will not actually learn the subject matter anyway. For the most part, from what I've seen at schools ranging from tier 3 state schools to world class schools, anything under a B means that you don't really have a grasp of the subject matter.
 

LA Guy

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how do you let students know how they're doing in a class without the faculty member grading their work and making their grade available to them?
The good faculty members will do this regardless, either formally or informally. Bad ones will just game the system. The more administrative burden you put on the faculty, the lower is the faculty morale, and the less inclined they are to feel morally responsible to the school. There are three "keys" to employee satisfaction:
1) Autonomy
2) Task variety
3) Strong and temporally close connection between performance and reward.

The third is largely out of the control of administrators, especially with budget cuts at state schools. The second is just a part of faculty life. The first, you can micromanage faculty, or you can allow them to do their thing, and mitigate the problems with the bad actors on a case-by-base basis. I've never seen, at any school, no matter how rich or how poor, faculty react well, or comply well, with micromanagement. It's just not really in the makeup of people who choose to become university professors.
 

Teger

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do you really believe that requiring faculty to grade assignments and make those grades available is micromanaging or an unrealistic expectation? without a clear expectation, what are you faulting them on by a case-by-case basis?
 

Benesyed

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Benesyed

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do you really believe that requiring faculty to grade assignments and make those grades available is micromanaging or an unrealistic expectation? without a clear expectation, what are you faulting them on by a case-by-case basis?

The faculty at most schools are garbage at teaching. I only liked 2 of my 10 professors and they were not math or science.


Doctors also respond poorly to micromanaging. But sometimes it's necessary.
 

dieworkwear

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me in the morning, when I'm not yet mad about the topic being discussed in RFT:

can we make a new RFT thread for clothes only discussion

me by the afternoon when I'm now mad:

do you really believe that requiring faculty to grade assignments and make those grades available is micromanaging or an unrealistic expectation? without a clear expectation, what are you faulting them on by a case-by-case basis?
 

LA Guy

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do you really believe that requiring faculty to grade assignments and make those grades available is micromanaging or an unrealistic expectation? without a clear expectation, what are you faulting them on by a case-by-case basis?
Yes, and it depends on the complaints that come in. Probably an informal discussion with someone who they perceive as being on their side is going to get the best response, if any.

I'm not saying that there is not a problem. I'm saying that the solutions that university administrations across the country have proposed are just getting faculty, good or bad, pissed off. Increasing administrative load has been the trend for a while now, and even the most tolerant faculty that I know are pretty fed up with it, and a lot of them to throw in the proverbial towel.

In general, higher ed pays significantly lower than equivalent industry jobs, particularly in STEM. The traditional carrots have been stability (in the form of tenure) and autonomy. Tenure track positions have become harder and harder to get, and at the same time, administrative load has been increasing. The academic system relies heavily on the moral obligation faculty members feel towards students, the institution, etc... The increased scrutiny and administrative load erodes this.

Maybe you provost will tell the faculty to kindly fuck off, but don't think that that won't come at some price.
 

1969

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No dormitories, just put it downtown and people will get apartments...
Students complain about being saddled with 100K loans, but they all want to live in a hotel-style dorm with a swimming pool and game room. Colleges that don't keep up lose enrollment. It's a self-perpetuating problem.
 

LA Guy

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The issue is that Chinese students with limited English are fucked by the system. They fucked by the government, they are fucked by the school, they are fucked by the under-the-skin racism of their student peers, and most of all, they are fucked by American faculty who, as a whole, seem to really dislike teaching them. Their one saving grace is that most of them come from a lot of money so this matters less, but all things considered, if I were an international student, everyone else can go get fucked, I will get together with the other Chinese people. This goes far, far beyond "comfort zone"

And, I don't know when you've last been ingrained in the academic environment of international students, but 8 years ago when I was an undergrad, there really wasn't anyone with "limited english". They may have strong accents and may not know certain English concepts or words, but they did have a good understanding of how to communicate.

This is even more true now that I am in grad school
My wife is still a professor of mathematics, of all things, so yeah, I am still pretty tied to that academic community. I'm actually supposed to give a talk about threat detection at a university in a few weeks. I don't speak much Mandarin, but speak Cantonese both fluently, and like a child. I see a fair number of Chinese students who had serious communication problems, even today. A lot of them learn to communicate in English well, but it does take time.

I wealth of the Chinese students today is what I think contributes to a lot of the tensions between them and everyone else. A lot of them perceive the racism against them, I'm sure, and they respond with shows of financial force. That might feel good, but it does exacerbate the cultural problems. I mean, no one likes someone who flexes that way, much less an easily identifiable group that reacts by acting extra entitled.

In my experience, at least, graduate students from the PRC were a different breed. However, the racism is real. I was told by multiple advisors to put my citizenship - Canadian, and my native language - English, on the very top of my CV, and that they would make calls on my behalf.

The other group that I see having big cultural barriers are Saudis. And again, money is a big part of the problem, though the differing cultural attitudes to femaie faculty and students is also a sticking point. If you go into a place that is not yours, and you throw around money like it's no thing, and you treat your teachers like they are your servants, and you treat female faculty with disdain, and female students as non-persons, it's not hard to predict that it's not going to go well for you. Change the word from "Saudis" to "Rich white dudes", and think of how you would react.
 
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LA Guy

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