Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thoughts on the Academic Excellence

There is always room for improvement.

Although overused, the aforementioned phrase holds true for any situation--including Fairfield University's quality of education. In the school's independant newspaper, The Mirror, reporter Mary Therese Church writes an article examining a new movement helping to improve the education entitled, "Center for Academic Excellence ups technology on campus."
Students in dozens of classes have already played a huge part in the progress of the center. Professors can now ask the center to do a mid-semester assessment of their courses. Half way through the semester, students in the class are asked to anonymously survey the professors' teaching methods and to comment on what works and what does not work in the class. The comments are then typed and there is a debriefing with the professor about the students' reactions.
It is not to say that Fairfield's education is terrible, because it is anything but that! And as a student who has taken a class evaluated by the Center for Academic Excellence, I am proud to say that the class overall did benefit from a mid-semester evaluation. It was one of my Communication classes from last semester, and it was already one of my favorite classes ever--but that sentiment did not hold true among the rest of the students. The evaluation helped the second half of last semester's class more enjoyable for my peers, and the class remained one of my favorites.

The reporter does a great job at describing the evaluation process and why it exists. Think of it as the tables being turned; instead of teachers giving out a mid-term examination, the students get a chance to even the playing field. And according to the article, many professors such as Kurt Schlichting appreciate that notion as it "can help teach old teachers new tricks."

I was not too high on the headline of the article, though. From what I gather, the only mention of technology used was when the evalutions were typed up electronically. It was also mentioned in the article that eight out of nine students had never heard of the "Center for Academic Excellence." So to put the organization's name in the title is essentially meaningless as a better title may have been, "Students Give Professors Mid-Terms" or something along those lines (though I will admit it is clear that I am not a headline writer).


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