Chemistry Lab Issues

We’re having a bit of a problem in my Chem 015 class, which the principles of chemistry laboratory. Well, we’re having quite a few problems.

We’re 15 weeks into the semestre. If you take this course at the main campus, you do seven labs. Here we are supposed to do five. We have done two. Our instructor says that “we’re not doing chemistry anymore,” and wants us to work on a research project that involves inventing something.

We haven’t gotten our first lab graded, which was handed in at least 10 weeks ago. The late drop deadline (the last day that you are allowed to drop the class) was Friday, April 5th. It is expected that by this time in the semestre, you would know your standing in the class and would be able to make an informed decision about remaining in the class or dropping it. None of us know our grade, but we handed in one lab as a class. We might all have As or we might all have Ds. The point is that as of April 5th, we didn’t know enough to decide whether or not we should jump ship. As far as I know, no-one dropped the course.

We have a few arguments with his teaching style, but I’m not sure that they fit into this anywhere. My problem is mostly with the time that I feel he has wasted. Tomorrow, a large number of us are going to visit with the Director of Academic Affairs. This is actually something that I wanted to stay away from. I usually feel that if I have a problem with someone, I should go to them and try to fix it as opposed to making things more difficult for them when it may not be necessary. That is what I would like someone to do for me, but it has come to the point where I see no other way. I did not want to be openly disrespectful nor did I want to jeopardise my grade, but all sources of good advice seem to point us in this direction. I know that nothing is going to be done in time to help us, but I’m hoping that the classes after this will get the benefit of better instruction.

This does not mean that I am going to stop worrying about it. Is this going to start me on the wrong foot with the Director of Student Affairs? As the president, I’m going to be seeing an awful lot of him next year. And as president, is this the wrong thing for me to do to a faculty member? The right thing for me to do in the interest of the students? Neutral?

How would you feel if you were the teacher? The Director of Student Affairs? Is this the right thing? Is there anything that I said in this post that I should not say to the DSA? Anything I left out that I should put in?

Thank you all!

I would say go talk to the Director, and make absolutley sure he understands the difficulties you, as a class, are having. I know the personnal grades issue is worrying, but AFAIK, you can always appeal them, and though you might (unfortunately) have to take the course again, at least the initial attempt has the opportunity of being wiped off your record.

I think it might be a good thing for you to go complain to the Director, even if you will be seeing a lot of him next year. It’ll show that you are responsible and concerned for yourself and others, and want the school to be better than it is. As long, of course, as you present yourself and your case in a reasonable, and well-thought-out manner. I don’t know about every university and college, but I know that some of them have rules about how long after submission a paper or lab can be returned, and rules about knowing you academic standing in a course before drop period. As a student, if these rules are not in place, maybe its time you start requesting that they be written up. If this teacher isn’t new, than other people have had him too, and likely had the same issues, but were too shy or nervous to go do anything about it.

I think its rediculous to have a chem prof say “we aren’t doing chemistry anymore”. It’s his job to teach you the course material, and his job to ensure that you cover all the necessary labs - if he’s not doing his job, than he doesn’t deserve to have one. This might be difficult to acheive if hes tenured, but odds are you can at least get him on some sort of “probationary” status.

Good luck!

We met with him today, and it went extremely well. Turns out one the faculty members saw the DSA about the same thing. He promises something will get done. Thank you for your help!