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Old 10-11-2022, 03:45 PM
Status: "A solution in search of a problem" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: New York Area
34,497 posts, read 16,591,230 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
NYU has an undergrad enrollment of 30K students (or close to it.) Presumably, this professor isn't the only instructor teaching organic chemistry. Presumably, the department and administration have reference points for comparison. Even in a tough weed-out class like organic chemistry, four instructors teach 50 kids each, and one of them has a 10% pass rate and the rest have a 50% pass rate, that's a sign.
Also given how long he's been teaching he may be beyond his "sell by" date. My Chem 208 professor certainly was. I got a D+ in Chem 208, a C in 207 so I knew I was not cut out for pre-med.
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Old 10-11-2022, 03:47 PM
 
19,522 posts, read 17,770,771 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
I knew someone who was determined to get into the medical field. He flunked out the first time he took Organic Chem. He kept re-taking it, in different medical schools. He switched to a naturopathic specialty school, and flunked out again. Later, he switched to Osteopathy in yet another school, and that time, he passed it, and got his degree. That was back in the 80's/90's. He's had a successful practice ever since.

I don't know the details, as to whether he just kept banging his head on the same wall, and it eventually gave in, or if the 3rd time around he got an instructor who approached it differently (like the prof. in the OP). That's quite a show of determination. He knew what field he wanted to be in, and he wouldn't let the weed-out class best him.
Wait was the guy flunking undergrad O-Chem or some chemistry related class across various medical and not quite medical schools? I ask but even years ago I cannot imagine someone failing to progress in one medical school gaining admission into another.
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Old 10-11-2022, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Forest bathing
3,191 posts, read 2,450,377 times
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As a Visual Communications major, I was required to take a quarter of Organic Chemistry (5 credits including lab). The kick was that in order to take this class, I had to sign up for a prerequisite which was another 5 credits. My creative brain had a really difficult time with hard sciences like chemistry and physics. I did learn what some of the drugs I experimented with back then did to your brain so I did curtail further use. Later, when I was working at that same university, I found that professor to thank him.
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Old 10-11-2022, 03:53 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
102,068 posts, read 107,036,480 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDS_ View Post
Wait was the guy flunking undergrad O-Chem or some chemistry related class across various medical and not quite medical schools? I ask but even years ago I cannot imagine someone failing to progress in one medical school gaining admission into another.
I don't know. Maybe the Organic Chem was a pre-requisite to being accepted in a university med program. Having failed that, and thereby becoming ineligible to apply (?), he tried the Naturopathy school. That's ringing a bell in my memory, now that we're discussing it.
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Old 10-11-2022, 03:57 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
102,068 posts, read 107,036,480 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
NYU has an undergrad enrollment of 30K students (or close to it.) Presumably, this professor isn't the only instructor teaching organic chemistry. Presumably, the department and administration have reference points for comparison. Even in a tough weed-out class like organic chemistry, four instructors teach 50 kids each, and one of them has a 10% pass rate and the rest have a 50% pass rate, that's a sign.
Right, that's one thing the article didn't address. But it did quote a colleague of the Org. Chem prof., who defended him. She was one of the other O. Chem teachers.

But definitely the article leaves some questions unanswered. More info needed.
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Old 10-11-2022, 04:05 PM
 
7,164 posts, read 3,980,460 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
I don't know. Maybe the Organic Chem was a pre-requisite to being accepted in a university med program. Having failed that, and thereby becoming ineligible to apply (?), he tried the Naturopathy school. That's ringing a bell in my memory, now that we're discussing it.
Sounds likely. If you fail organic chemistry, you are ineligible to continue on the pre-med track in undergrad. Your friend probably transfer to another undergraduate college with a pathway to naturopathy.
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Old 10-11-2022, 04:19 PM
 
19,522 posts, read 17,770,771 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
Also given how long he's been teaching he may be beyond his "sell by" date. My Chem 208 professor certainly was. I got a D+ in Chem 208, a C in 207 so I knew I was not cut out for pre-med.
That's a good point. My first Ph.D mentor had a very long and frankly outstanding career in economics floating between applied math, theoretical math, economic statistical analysis/game theory, teaching and research. His last few years teaching undergrads everything fell apart. He became nothing short of mean.
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Old 10-11-2022, 04:20 PM
 
4,870 posts, read 2,971,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
When I provide a NY Times link, I always post excerpts for people who don't have a subscription (which I assume to be most people). I'll do my best while avoiding potential copyright issues. There's some pretty interesting info and questions raised. 82 out of 350 students in the organic chem course signed a petition to can the professor. After trying to work with the students, deans ultimately decided to not renew his contract.

Some key points from a much longer article:
In addition to students misreading exam questions (the same questions or similar, that he'd used for years), students scored poorly even when he made his exams easier. He said, that during the pandemic, test scores "fell off a cliff", falling to single-digit scores "and even zeros". He said, not only were students not studying, not even preparing for class, they "didn't seem to know how to study".


If students were performing poorly due to Covid, classes going online, etc., why was he the only professor targeted? How widespread was this issue? Did the deans bother to look into that, before dismissing an innovative, popular, and highly qualified instructor? And if less than 1/3 felt the need to complain, that's probably less than the percentage usually sloughed off in organic chemistry under normal conditions, and at most universities, I gather from comments here.

This raises the question: to what extent should universities water down their courses, which risks the loss of their reputation as schools or specific programs with high standards, to chase after high enrollment?

The average IQ has been dropping 5 points per generation, that's significant.
Without access to the full article, I'll assume students are not learning and/or retaining the terminology needed for organic chemistry; which I struggled with...yet scored a 32 ACT in natural sciences. As mentioned previously, it's not an easy subject; even for those with aptitude.

Students today face a lot of distractions, in a world whose future is more uncertain than pre-2000.
Was he fired for being too difficult?, probably not; as I don't see a tenured professor intentionally increasing the difficulty of an already challenging subject matter.
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Old 10-11-2022, 04:22 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
102,068 posts, read 107,036,480 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDS_ View Post
That's a good point. My first Ph.D mentor had a very long and frankly outstanding career in economics floating between applied math, theoretical math, economic statistical analysis/game theory, teaching and research. His last few years teaching undergrads everything fell apart. He became nothing short of mean.
It sounds like the prof. in the OP had become impatient with the poorly-performing students and the whole Covid situation. The students who complained said he was demanding and mean, or some such.
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Old 10-11-2022, 04:26 PM
 
19,522 posts, read 17,770,771 times
Reputation: 17047
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
I don't know. Maybe the Organic Chem was a pre-requisite to being accepted in a university med program. Having failed that, and thereby becoming ineligible to apply (?), he tried the Naturopathy school. That's ringing a bell in my memory, now that we're discussing it.
Sorry, I wasn't trying to throw you under the bus.........just curious. Undergrad Inorganic Chem I, O-Chem I & II plus an upper division bio-chemistry class are common prerequisites for US allopathic medical schools.
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