# Relatively Stupid University Professors

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### #1 Kriminal99

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 05:18 AM

The quality of professors seems to have no lower limit. You've got people who straw man students' questions and comments both in class and on tests just like a 2 year old that tries to tell you that 2 + 2 is actually 4 as if you didn't already know. Professor who gossip about students without trying to provide any actual constructive criticism or more accurately without validating anything they say by seeing how the target of their absurd claims might respond. Professors that become defensive when you approach them with novel ideas. Where I participate there was one intelligent professor who recently retired. This person actually had a healthy skeptical attitude (Both of other AND of himself).

What has been going on that dealing with modern university professors is like dealing with high school teachers all over again?

### #2 Ken

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:08 AM

The quality of professors seems to have no lower limit. You've got people who straw man students' questions and comments both in class and on tests just like a 2 year old that tries to tell you that 2 + 2 is actually 4 as if you didn't already know. Professor who gossip about students without trying to provide any actual constructive criticism or more accurately without validating anything they say by seeing how the target of their absurd claims might respond. Professors that become defensive when you approach them with novel ideas. Where I participate there was one intelligent professor who recently retired. This person actually had a healthy skeptical attitude (Both of other AND of himself).

What has been going on that dealing with modern university professors is like dealing with high school teachers all over again?

The "quality" of professors has precisely the same lower limits as the quality of students and other living humans. Hopefully, however, they would avoid such awkward linguistic constructions as "...who straw man student's questions..."

You seem offended that a professor hasn't looked deep within your personal knowledge data-set to determine what you know and what you don't. Are you the only one in the class? What you know may not be shared by others. What you think you know may not reflect reality. Since it's so early in the fall term I think what you've encountered is a teaching strategy that starts by making sure that everyone is starting with a similar background of information.

As far as your contention about gossip, are you the proverbial fly on the wall? If A talks to B about C, what "constructive criticism" would be useful? And to whom?

Finally, without concrete examples it's difficult for a reader to see if your professor is being defensive in responding to your novel idea or just disagrees.

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 11:28 PM

Yea, some of my professors in my uni are like tat too.
but in my opinion,
You've got people who straw man students' questions and comments both in class and on tests just like a 2 year old that tries to tell you that 2 + 2 is actually 4 as if you didn't already know.
a good professor will try to adapt to the slowest person in class (usually me) to ensure no one gets left behind, well unless it is too much, to the point it cripples the other students.
Professor who gossip about students without trying to provide any actual constructive criticism or more accurately without validating anything they say by seeing how the target of their absurd claims might respond.
Yea, it's irritating if you're the student, otherwise it's plain, guilty fun. Professors are humans. humans like to gossip.
Professors that become defensive when you approach them with novel ideas.
Everybody does that, if your idea cannot break your professor's defense, and your professor is not a complete barnacle head, then maybe it's not worth pursuing after all.
But it is important that you understand why.
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### #4 CraigD

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 11:44 AM

The quality of professors in an freely flowing information society

In our current time of freely flowing information in nearly all subjects, I wonder how the professors you’ve found bad (and the few you’ve found good) are rated by many students on such websites as MTV’s ratemyprofessors.com.

Having had to rely often contradictory word-of-mouth ratings and often sparse academic publications during my pre-internet college years, I’m awed by the increase in openness that rating sites like this afford. Had such resources existed when I was in college, it would have affected my choice of schools and teachers significantly!

So, Krim, who are you professors, and how do many of their students – not just you – rate them? I imagine the worst ones will be rated low by most students, and the rating comments agree at least in part with your comments.

PS: Responding directly to your observation

The quality of professors seems to have no lower limit.

I’d note that, with rare exception, all college professors must have passed the filter of completing a degree program, in most cases a doctorate, implying some lower limit on their academic ability, though not necessarily aptitude for teaching. Thus nearly all college professors can, for example, read and write in some language (in the case of most doctors, at least two).

The rare teachers without the usual degree in their subject tend, in my experience, to be extraordinarily good. A teacher of a subject learned well enough to be hired by a school without benefit of academic instruction tends to be very good in it!

### #5 Kriminal99

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 10:44 PM

There are simply far too many people of limited intelligence who will do anything to try and conceal the fact that they just don't have the IQ to cut the mustard.

Frequent outright lying seems to be a favored tactic of the extremely incapable, while more average people seem to go for passive rejection of all ideas not their own. Debating ideas in the proponent's absence, using sarcasm to imply counterarguments that don't exist, ignoring superior ideas by repetition of ignorant ones or yelling over the other person.

Then you have the slightly more creative forms of stupidity concealment like artsy fartsy wordplay or vague abstract metaphors used to conceal poorly reasoned arguments, diversionary tactics, etc.

The worst though are the slightly above average and their attempts to appear on par with geniuses. Though strict adherence to certain rules like the implied rules of debate could prevent any such person from doing too much damage, there doesn't seem to be enough people who understand these rules. The academic network is partly populated by people who lie cheat and steal in order to make themselves look competent.

### #6 Kriminal99

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 11:36 PM

The "quality" of professors has precisely the same lower limits as the quality of students and other living humans. Hopefully, however, they would avoid such awkward linguistic constructions as "...who straw man student's questions..."

You seem offended that a professor hasn't looked deep within your personal knowledge data-set to determine what you know and what you don't. Are you the only one in the class? What you know may not be shared by others. What you think you know may not reflect reality. Since it's so early in the fall term I think what you've encountered is a teaching strategy that starts by making sure that everyone is starting with a similar background of information.

As far as your contention about gossip, are you the proverbial fly on the wall? If A talks to B about C, what "constructive criticism" would be useful? And to whom?

Finally, without concrete examples it's difficult for a reader to see if your professor is being defensive in responding to your novel idea or just disagrees.

Whining about linguistics will never be a substitute for actual intelligence or analytical skills...

There is a difference between expecting special treatment and expecting some sneaker and collar shirt wearing, slightly above average iq, foreign national who published a glorified word search program living off my several hundred thousand dollars of taxes to not respond to my clear and well spoken high level explanation of a concept in class by implying that I don't even understand the basic concepts of the class (to everyone's incredulity)

Fly on the wall? Let me guess. You are implying that people are free to gossip about third parties because either the third party doesn't know about it, or they have the chance to participate. I take this to mean you are one of those people that frequently participate in this kind of behavior.

Where I come from, it is automatic that if you have a problem with someone and you don't express it to the person, you are dishonest or cowardly and everyone becomes quite skeptical of your claims. The fact that you have something negative to say shows that you have a motivation to say something negative, not that the thing being said is true. The question is, is that motivation that you believe it is true, or is it some fear? If it is based on some kind of knowledge, then using that knowledge you could persuade the person in question. If it is a fear it doesn't automatically mean you are dishonest, as long as you openly admit your motivation. (Like I felt threatened by this person, or I feel like this person will never listen because they think they don't have to)

Most of the time people gossip, that motivation if openly admitted would be something like "I want people to pay attention to me and not that person".

Sure pathetic weak people form groups and gossip to one another about things they don't even remotely understand all the time. However these people are easily defeated in any open forum due to their lack of reasoning ability and experience with honest confrontation, which is something that usually occurs before their machinations have any chance to affect anyone outside their group.

There are many ways to catch wind that someone attempted to say something about you. The easiest way is to be simply told by a third party who is more intelligence and mature than the person who attemtped the gossip. Alternatively, you could pick up that something has been implied by observing the behavior of a more hostile third person and challenging any unwarranted differences in behavior. If that person had their own reasons for this difference in treatment, they would simply put them forward. If instead they act as though they question something they heard and revert back to their previous treatment then it is a good sign they were provided with some false information.

People talking in foreign languages then saying one or two words in english in a pseudo confrontational manner, or talking in proximity to a person about them, where the target still don't have enough information to know exactly what is being said nor can they enter the argument without the cowardly gossipers claiming to not know the reason.

An honest version of such tactics is to, in a discussion with the actual person, bring up the issue in general and make your argument against the behavior in general (without making assumptions about what the person who does such behavior is thinking). Another is to simply tell the person that their behavior is harmful.

When I say that a professor is being defensive, I mean that they behave in a way that disqualifies any legitimate motivation for such behavior.

For instance, taking more time to argue about what a student should be able to know given their background on paper than it would take to listen to and consider the actual idea.

A sort of unbridgeable gap fallacy where a listener makes no attempt to understand what is being said but instead simply repetitively claims that the speaker is not successfully communicating no matter how simple the idea is. This one only has a reverse interpretation up to a point.

Not asking for clarification of a claim and then trying to say the claim was invalid after the presenter has left. etc.

In order for me to be gossiping about a professor, I would have to actually give someone's name. Furthermore, I have been quite direct with these people, and are mostly talking about people who are willfully choosing to be obstinate.

### #7 Kriminal99

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 12:13 AM

The quality of professors in an freely flowing information society

In our current time of freely flowing information in nearly all subjects, I wonder how the professors you’ve found bad (and the few you’ve found good) are rated by many students on such websites as MTV’s ratemyprofessors.com.

Having had to rely often contradictory word-of-mouth ratings and often sparse academic publications during my pre-internet college years, I’m awed by the increase in openness that rating sites like this afford. Had such resources existed when I was in college, it would have affected my choice of schools and teachers significantly!

So, Krim, who are you professors, and how do many of their students – not just you – rate them? I imagine the worst ones will be rated low by most students, and the rating comments agree at least in part with your comments.

Yeah no lower limit might be a bit much. Interesting site. Most of my professors are not rated on there. I think grad students in my department are reluctant to use something like that probably for fear of being deported in most cases (after losing their assistant ships and being unable to afford to stay). I am one of a couple of American grad students. I have seen a few others come and go in their first semester or so after being heavily discouraged by a mostly foreign faculty. It's not usually my way to use a site like that either, though I suppose it is more realistic than expecting to be able to provide constructive criticism and have the person change on the spot if I turn out to be right. But even so, I try to just talk to the professor if they seem reasonable. For the ones that clearly aren't reasonable, I am just biding my time until my exit interview with their bosses' bosses... (as much as professors have such things)