Coddling college students

By Christopher Harper

The pandemic may have a devastating impact on education that few people could have predicted.

Instead of focusing on making up for losses in educational attainment, students and faculty are concentrating on how to exacerbate the problems the pandemic created.

During the pandemic, Temple University, like many other institutions of higher learning, encouraged faculty to be more lenient about deadlines and grading policies. In fact, Temple gave students the option to change to a pass-no pass grading system rather than the typical A-through-F standards.

As a result, returning students seem more interested in complaining about the past months of the pandemic than buckling down to determine what they didn’t learn and needed to.

I am teaching courses on ethics and media law during the fall semester. As I did during the pandemic, I am teaching the courses online, and the students have opted to choose this form of learning even though in-person sections exist.

I have never had more requests for extensions on assignments! It is as though many students have lost the ability to organize their time.

In the past, I have allowed students to hand in materials up to a week late for 70 percent credit. Now students—many of whom have obtained waivers under disability arrangements for attention-deficit disorder and similar ailments—are demanding full credit up to a month after an assignment is due.

As a professor of journalism, I demand that students understand grammar, punctuation, and style. Three mistakes, I advise, will result in a deduction of 10 percent. I suggest that students pay $20 a month for an excellent program at grammarly.com.

The adherence to such standards has become almost irrelevant this semester since many students could care less about such requirements. Instead, the students simply take the deductions rather than learn how to write appropriately and effectively. One student responded “lol,” or laughing out loud, to my suggestions.

But the administration does not tell students that they need to hunker down. Instead, Temple and other institutions coddle the students.

Only last week, my college encouraged students to “take a break to prioritize self-care.”

During the event, students had the opportunity to participate in:

  • Mini massages with a licensed massage therapist
  • Paws N’ Play session with a therapy dog
  • Hot chocolate bar with all the fixings
  • Pumpkin painting contest
  • Volleyball and cornhole
  • Wellness Resource Center table
  • Prize wheel, Plinko board, and more!

Simply put, I cannot tolerate the notion that feeling good rather than working hard has become the dominant underpinning of a college education. Moreover, I think the current climate will leave many students poorly prepared for what they’ll find in the workplace.

One thought on “Coddling college students

  1. Saw a funny headline from the Babylon Bee not too long ago, and I’m paraphrasing: “Proud Student First in Family to Waste $160,000 on College”. The trend seems to be a four year spa vacation with a certificate at the end designating you as a graduate. Learning optional. Lord help us all.

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