So, Yaro took a swipe at American Studies based on the supposed policy of a colleague who *gasp* shows films in class (zomg!). Yaro and his fans all leapt to the same baseless conclusion that the colleague should be drawn and quartered even though, based on his own post, Yaro never witnessed the class in progress or saw how the films were deployed in class. Since we've had similar baseless conclusions drawn by others on CM (at least with regard to students who were unwed mothers, criminals, and "videogame addicts"), let's consider some more baseless conclusions about proffies in other college majors just to explore the stupidity of leaping to conclusions:
I have seen lit profs actually READ PASSAGES from novels in class! ZOMG! How could they waste class time by reading to their students? And then they sit in a circle and chat about it! It's college, not kindergarten.
I've seen art historians SHOW SLIDES to their students. Actually pull out a slide projector or (nowadays) waste precious resources (a "Smartroom") to put digital copies of stuff like paintings and architecture on PowerPoint just to show the images the students have in their textbook! Sacre bleu! So wasteful!
And Math proffies WASTE SO MUCH TIME going over sample problems in class. They sometimes even lead students through the sample problems IN THE BOOK! And all that homework they give! If that proffie can't teach it in class so the students don't need practice, then that's a bad, bad proffie. ESPECIALLY if that homework is UNGRADED! Good lord, that's shameful.
And those lazy Bio, Chem, and Physics profs. Some of them actually have their TAs run the lab portions of the course for them! What are they doing in the lecture portion? Mental masturbation as they teach from yellowed notes, right? Each one should be spanked with a paddle for dereliction of duty.
And those sad sack Psych profs who use their classes to explore some pathetic psychodrama with their students. They're the ones who need therapy! No wonder that major is infamous for drawing some of the worst students on campus. Those kids need therapy too!
Oh God, those anthropologists! I hear some of them actually show DOCUMENTARIES in class. How could seeing a visual depiction of a culture possibly help an undergraduate understand that culture? How could learning about other human societies and cultures be of ANY use to a future doctor, lawyer, or businessMAN? (Same for sociology and their emphasis on poor people! Who cares about poor people if you're just in school to get a meaningless degree and make LOTS OF MONEY when you graduate!)
And how did Communications get to be a major? All they do is just sit and watch movies or TV shows in class. They're just like American Studies and English profs who just sit around in a circle with their students for a nice long chat about whatever nonsense the prof just showed the class. TV is dead anyway (and before that, it just rotted your brain), so what use is THAT major?
These are all rumors and innuendo I have encountered during my 22 years of experience with the academy (from undergrad through grad school, from TA to adjunct faculty). In the end, this sort of nonsense is just too much like the humanities vs. sciences debates on RYS, which did nothing except highlight the general disrespect many faculty have for methods of pedagogy in various disciplines (as well as those disciplines themselves). And too many of YOU out there do not hold the value for academic freedom that you should. You cannot evaluate teaching based on a syllabus. Or some fucking rumor about what someone thinks is going on in another classroom. Evaluate the teaching BY WATCHING THE TEACHING. (Isn't this a validity issue, my quantitative colleagues?)
And, yeah, I do have a dog in this fight. One fucktard actually told me I was a bad teacher because I assigned reading and assumed students should do it. "You know they won't read it, so why expect them to do it?" was his argument. That prof-flake disagreed with my pedagogy because he seemed to have none of his own. That experience made me quite sensitive to the little undercurrent of warring pedagogies wherein one professor gathers allies to slay some fictional dragon he (and it's usually a he) has created from smoke and shadows.
Before you pass judgment on someone's teaching methods, I suggest you actually find out what they are first. Same for inappropriately generalizing one instructor's pedagogy to that of an entire discipline. We're supposed to be smarter than that.
*climbs down off the soapbox*