Wednesday, June 12, 2013

RYS Flashback. 5 Years Ago.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nursing a Grudge Against A "Student Satisfaction" Dean.

What bugs me the most? Administrators who have forgotten what it's like to teach and the students that they coddle.

A pre-nursing student, Negative Nancy, failed the prerequisite class for nursing school. After whining and wheedling endlessly to no avail, she pursued a grade appeal. After the appeal board reviewed her case, which included copies of her 40/150 scores on exams, she was denied the appeal. In fact, she was recommended to go back and redo the prerequisite to the prerequisite. After she lost her case, her Daddy (who is an adjunct at the school) called to try and convince me that "She tries so hard and will make such a caring nurse!"

When Daddy's pleas fell on deaf ears Nancy and Daddy went to the Dean of Student Affairs.

The Dean then tried to pressure me into changing the F to a C (gasp!) because "they made a compelling case for her passing" and "in the interests of student satisfaction we should make sure she can pursue her dreams." I am the dream quasher. Call me the Simon Cowell of pre-nursing. If you don't have the brains and talent, you don't get to go on. Isn't that what a prerequisite is for? Did the Dean know that she appealed her grade? No. When he found out did he change his tune? No.

So, her grade remains and she'll have to retake the course with a different instructor (for student satisfaction, of course). The Dean, however, believes in Negative Nancy SO MUCH that he wrote a special letter of rec for her so her F would be mitigated. He's also making a call to Admissions of the nursing program. How nice. The Dean thinks that based on his half-hour interaction with Nancy she should be a nurse. Regardless of the fact that she doesn't know her ass from her elbow.


  1. This is a nicely resurrected companion piece to some recent conversations on the page.

    1. Yes. In this case, the incompetent student is trying to get into, rather than out of, a program. One hopes that the nursing program has high enough standards that she has since flunked out rather than graduated. The nursing department at my CC doesn't accept any grades less than B, and that's a real B, not an inflated one.

      Good show, everyone who stonewalled against that nincompoop Dean.

    2. At the place where I used to teach, this case wouldn't have been an issue. I had students who failed some of my courses and, mysteriously, they managed to pass.

      In one case, my department head raised the marks, though the students in question qualified for supplemental exams. All they had to do was to check with me to make arrangements.

      Inn another case, a third of the class flunked. It was a service course and those tended to be treated as a joke as students figured they could earn an easy pass. Of those that failed, half qualified for a supplemental exam, though nobody contacted me about it. By some miracle, nearly everyone passed. I assume they whined to their department head that I was being a meanie by expecting them to work for their grades and he, being an administrative creampuff close to retirement, caved in and gave them what they wanted.

      Why did this happen? Some administrators felt sorry for the students and figured that they shouldn't have to come back for an extra year to get credit for one course. Others thought that it didn't matter as they would get good jobs anyway, so what's the beef about a few manipulated course grades?

      Then there fears of parental revenge. Perhaps the father of a certain student owned a company that hired graduates of the institution, so if the kid flunks, there might be a few people who won't get a job. Maybe that same company donated money so there was a certain financial incentive to make sure that the student passed.

      That sort of nonsense was one reason I quit.

  2. Wonder if Dad can make a "compelling case" to the NCLEX--assuming Dad keeps leaning on the dean to get her passed through her nursing classes.

  3. Hopefully the next time he sees her she'll have a sharp instrument in her hand, and he'll be waiting for a shave.

  4. I assume the nursing program would be pretty made about this, too -- not least because it reflects a lack of respect for (and a very outdated understanding of) nursing. As Faris said, this is one of those times when a (good, tough) standardized qualifying exam is a real blessing.

    Of course, there is another group of aspiring but poorly-qualified nurses (in addition to those who are just so caring): the ones who've heard medicine is a growth industry, and want a well-paying job (or any job). Partly because of the demand they've helped create, the economics of nursing education, and nursing employment, are getting really interesting (and, scarily, beginning to resemble those in the academy in some ways). Supposedly there's a shortage of nurses, but my nursing students tell me it's not easy to find a job. Employers prefer experience (even if it's experience abroad), and many of them try to use the excuse of "no experience" to try to get a recently-certified RN at LPN wages. There are also a reasonable number of experienced temps available -- some of them foreign-trained nurses supporting families abroad by working on a "temporary" basis in the U.S., and some of them semi-retired or un-retired older nurses hit hard by the recession. On the education side, there aren't enough instructors, partly because colleges and universities aren't willing to pay nursing instructors with M.A.s and Ph.D.s a wage that is anywhere near competitive with what they could get in a hospital or similar professional setting. I'd be very curious to know how the wages they just can't pay compare to those already paid in B schools. Somehow, I think gender (and the idea that "doing something you care about") can somehow make up for competitive pay. (So can we go dock the salaries of all the b-school professors with "a passion for entrepreneurship" now?)

  5. I have a similar story to tell, with a different outcome.

    About ten years ago, two students in a soph-level service course I had taught on the previous term appealed their F's by going directly to one of the assistant deans (skipping the assoc. head for UG and the head), alleging "inadequate instruction" ("he made it sooo hard!"). The dean contacted the head, who emailed me about it (I was on sabbatical.) I checked my records, which showed the students had failed the first two tests, had then become "no-shows" to lecture, and then failed the final (deep Fs). So no, the grades stand.

    But in my absence the head decided to side with the provost and the poorlittlesnowflakes, who knows why. The head then invented a non-existing procedure, convening a "secret court" of three of my colleagues, who wrote a report making very mild criticism of some of my content choices. (I was never told about the committee or the report, and found out about them by chance later). Based on that, the head changed all my Fs to Ws, without asking me or the students.

    If you think that's unprofessional, it didn't stop there. The head went on harassing me for the remaining three years of his term, and passed the message on to the successor paper-pusher. That associate dean? Ten years later sits in the provost's office, and remembers me well.

    Just goes to to show you: if you work at a less-than-serious place (as most are these days, pretentious self-promotion notwithstanding), all bets are off. Adminiflakes side with the snowflakes (a.k.a. "customers", as our provost refers to them in mass emails to the faculty) more often than not, the evidence and record be damned.

    1. Peter:

      It sounds like you were in a place similar to where I used to be.

      I had my share of students circumventing the system and going against protocol to get what they wanted, sometimes being aided and abetted by certain administrators. Those same administrators frequency violated rules and regulations whenever it suited them if it meant that the kiddies were happy. Meanwhile, the staff association usually looked the other way if it meant it would have to earn the dues we all paid by actually defending someone.

      When all else failed, the administrators made ample use of secret courts and investigations and, like you, I was the last to find out, if at all. They could do that because they weren't treated as legal proceedings.

      It was nonsense like that which persuaded me to quit.

  6. Poetic Justice would seem to be ... both this Dean and herDaddy Dearest admitted to ICU and the only one covering their rooms is Negative Nancy

  7. Please trust me on this...Nancy will never enter a nursing classroom, unless she obtains a spot in a non-accredited, massively expensive "professional" school (read: businesspersons who throw together a nursing school, fly JUST under the radar of state nursing law, and harvest student-loan money from the uniformed and underprepared). Wait! That might actually be a good fate for Nancy AND her dear Dad!