Since the election I have been giving a lot thought to the state of our colleges and universities. As soon as President Trump won the presidency universities across the nation sprang into action to create safe spaces filled with play-dough, coloring books, nap mats, puppies and what I imagine to be Enya playing on a loop. It is hard to fathom a place where supposed grown adults are being sheltered much in the same way that I would shelter a preschooler from the world. I inevitably must wonder, “What the hell happened?” After all my own college experience where I earned both an undergraduate and a master degree was less than 20 years ago and while many of my professors tilted fairly far to the Left, the goal was still to prepare me to eventually face the rigors of working in a professional environment. While I feel much of the scorn that we heap upon these collegiate children is duly deserved for their continuous screeching and asinine new way Fascist positions on free speech, we must not forget to save some for the professors. These wannabe intellectuals that haunt these Leftist indoctrination centers who have forgotten that their job is to prepare students, much like University of Georgia’s own Dr. Richard Watson who as reported by Campus Reform is now allowing students to select their grades if they feel stressed by the one that they earned.
Stress reduction policy
Emotional reactions to stressful situations can have profound consequences for all involved. In order to avoid such situations in this class, the following policies will apply:
- All tests and exams will be open book and open notes, including the use of material on your laptop
- All tests and exams will be designed to be completed in half the allotted time by the majority of students.
- All tests and exams will be designed to assess low level mastery of the course material.
- If you feel unduly stressed by a grade for any assessable material or the overall course, you can email the instructor indicating what grade you think is appropriate, and it will be so changed. No explanation is required, but it is requested that you consider waiting 24 hours before emailing the instructor.
- If in a group meeting, you feel stressed by your group’s dynamics, you should leave the meeting immediately and need offer no explanation to the group members. Furthermore, you can request to discontinue all further group work and your grade will be based totally on non-group work.
- Only positive comments about presentations will be given in a class. Comments designed to improve future presentations will be communicated by email.
While this policy might hinder the development of group skills and mastery of the class materials, ultimately these are your responsibility. I will provide every opportunity for you to gain high level mastery.
Here is my response to Dr. Watson and what I think of his “Stress reduction policy”.
Dear Dr. Watson,
You are failing you students across the board. At a time when students should be challenged and learning the behaviors that will allow them to be successful in the “real world” you are instead indulging their fantasies that the world is shaped simply because they demand it bend to their whim. As a twenty-year professional that has worked as an analyst and project manager for a variety of fortune 500 companies I can tell you that in the “real world” this is not how things get done. The “real world” is sometimes messy and chaotic and you as a Professor should be taking every opportunity to prepare your students for this reality. If your students are unable to deal with the stress of a few tests and group assignments while in college, then managing the stress of projects being due at work, making mortgage and student loan payments, keeping a solid relationship with their significant other going and taking care of children is frankly beyond their abilities.
I have worked as an IT Project Manager for ten years and I would never accept or tolerate this kind of behavior on my team. I am generally the first through the door every morning, I work hard and I set high expectations for both myself and my team. My first focus at work is to ensure that our project team delivers what we said we would, on time and on budget. At the onset of any projects I manage I ensure that every team member is crystal clear about the rules that the team live by for the duration of the project.
- You are prepared for every meeting and every task assigned to you.
- You deliver what you promise when you promise. If you are unable to keep to those commitments, then you ensure you have a mitigation strategy.
- You sprint through the finish line. We as a project team aim to exceed our customer’s expectations.
- Our project team is only as strong as the weakest link. If you are having issues doing the work, then speak up. We will make some reasonable accommodations to provide assistance, additional training or shuffling of non-critical path deliverables, but ultimately project success if the overriding factor.
- I do not care if you have had an issue with a person in the past. We are all adults and I expect you to treat team members with respect. If you have an issue with a team member, that issue is brought to me, but my expectation is the work still moves forward while we resolve these issues.
- Constructive criticism is not personal. I expect senior team members to perform mentoring for junior team members and for junior team members to incorporate that feedback into the work that they delivery. When we perform retrospectives at the end of the project we will objectively assess what went right, what went wrong and what we can do better without balking from the truth.
For the last ten years at the start of any project I have laid out some version of the above rules for my project teams. You will notice that across the board not only are my rules the antithesis of your class rules, but mine are based on personal responsibility and reasonable expectations that everyone is going to behave like and adult and do the work for which the organization is paying. In the “real world” a project does not stay on schedule and budget simply because that is what you say, but must be backed up by observable facts. You cannot miss a deadline and then wait 24 hours and email the project manager for an extension. You cannot simply decide that you are not going to perform a task because it involves interactions with other people. You did not get to call it quits over stress and expect that you get paid. Your rules do not prepare students for the rigor of the “real world”. Now I have used “real world” several times and purposefully put them in quotations to draw your attention to those places. This is because based upon your rules I suspect that you are a lifelong student who became a lifelong professor and do not have any actual “real world” experience from which to draw from when you teach your class. It is only in the theoretical that rules such as yours could be believed to have any value, but in the “real world” they simply lack practicality in developing the skills and attitude that employers are seeking. You are in fact doing a huge disservice to your students by lowering the bar of your expectations and sincerely hope that I never have the experience of having to work with one of your students.
The Real World