UCDavis is regarded as among the superior institutions of public higher education nationally,if not globally.According to the2008U.S.News and World Report survey,UC Davis ranks as the11th best public university inAmerica in terms of learning excellence.However,the presence of some incompetent and ineffective faculty members is an imminent threat that undermines suchreputable standing.
Having finished six arduous quarters here at UC Davis,I have always heard students complaining acrimoniously about how their respective professors inefficiently taught their classes.I,myself,have experienced going through suchapredicament in several of my general education and upper division classes in which the professors were terribly lackingtheability to make the concepts of the courses comprehensible to students.Having no means of determining the degree of competence of their professors,studentssuffer the consequences oftaking classes with such instructors.
Students become cognizant of a professor’s incompetenceonce they actually witness his or her teaching style,which could be evidentonthe first day of class or could take several lectures.One sign of incompetence is the inability to properly communicate the ideas to the students.Many of these “professors” are absolutely intellectuallygifted,but they lack the skill to effectively share and transfer that knowledge to the students.This issue iseven worsein manyforeign professors whose first language is not English,which makes already difficult course material even harder.Talking is the best way to transmit knowledge,but that is unattainable if professors cannot coherently and efficiently articulate their minds to their students.
There are also some professors whose definition of teaching is to read a PowerPoint-enhanced lecture verbatim while sitting comfortablyduring the whole period as students learn nothing from the course.In addition,some professors makethe course and its requirements so unreasonably elementary and effortless.As an outcome,students are not motivated to think critically beyond the basics of the course,which could then produce uncompetitive students.
In order to findoutwhether a professor is competent or not,students often utilize unreliable online rating websites,which are vast repositories of personal experiences of many past students about incompetent professors.However,students should not need to resort to such action just to avoid inept professors who should not been teaching at UC Davis in the first place.It should not be the case that the university retains incompetent professors in its faculty roster so that students can have a learning experiencein which they do not learn anything at all.
I understand that UC Davis has a rigorous hiring process of potential professors that produces first-rate faculty.Moreover,there are also competency review processes for academic personnel that aim to identifypoor faculty members who are not contributing to the effectual propagation of knowledge.But what is incomprehensible is the fact that despite all these screening and evaluation systems,under-qualified professors are still being recruited to this world-class institution.
It is also very frustrating that after such poor instructors are exposed and assessed,they are still given teaching assignments despite unacceptably inferior performance.Moreover,many unsatisfactorily-performing professors are still in the university becausethey are protectedby theirhighly valuedresearch works or their tenure.
Although UC Davis is a research university,the quality of education students acquire mustbe given paramount priority.The administration must make sure that the people it is hiring to teach are not onlyaccomplished professionals in their respective fields,but are alsocapableto provide high-caliber education to students.In order to continue maintaining UC Davis‘ status as a provider of a world-class education,it isimperative that we have a competent and efficient teaching force.And the only way to achieve that is tokick outincompetentprofessorsor train and reform them so students will acquire the top-notch education theydeserve.
REAGAN F.PARLAN welcomes your comments and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.XXX