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Some Professors Deeply Upset That University of Florida Wants Them to Teach in-Person

Some Professors Deeply Upset That University of Florida Wants Them to Teach in-Person

“how is reporting a faculty member teaching online instead of in person keeping someone safe???”

The Covid pandemic is basically over and some people are very unhappy about that.

Campus Reform reports:

‘I broke down and sobbed’: Profs lose it over UF attempt to make them show up for work

The University of Florida implemented a new feature that allows students to alert the school when professors assigned to in-person classes are teaching online instead.

Professors on Twitter have expressed outrage at this accountability mechanism, prompting the university to eventually cave to some of their demands.

In a Jan. 11 memo, Vice President for Student affairs D’Andra Mull asked students to report “[i]f there are any inconsistencies with course delivery for your face-to-face or online courses, such as not being provided the opportunity to meet in person for your face-to-face class…UF staff will review every concern and follow up as appropriate.”

That statement was met with swift backlash from professors.

“Students can report instructors not in person via the gators safe app,” UF Psychology Professor Lisa Scott tweeted. “They added a button just for this purpose. I’m more than a little disturbed by this.”

She then urged UF to “do better,” reminding the school that “we’ve been working our asses off for you through all of this.”

UF Biology Professor Norman Douglas tweeted in response to Scott, “turns out something that was legal is something we could be ratted out anonymously for?”

Professor Amy Mobley complained about the supposed “irony” of an app called Gator Safe, writing “how is reporting a faculty member teaching online instead of in person keeping someone safe???”

Lecturer Melissa Meadows said she “broke down and sobbed” after becoming aware of the app feature. Meadows said it was the “first time during this pandemic,” that she has done so.”


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healthguyfsu | July 11, 2022 at 1:08 pm

I don’t have empathy for those that want to be lazy, but I will say this.

The pandemic has changed how some professors fulfill university needs. There was A LOT of legwork involved in transitioning to online and now that there are resources to support that style, they naturally want to reap the benefits of developing all of those resources.

At R1 (or actually RU-VH) universities where research is paramount, the ability to source your teaching responsibilities to pre-made resources, including recorded lectures, is a BIG win for meeting grant writing deadlines and getting out more publications. I can see why many don’t want to go back to the old way. At many of these schools, a grant is at least 50% of your salary and you are fired if you don’t get any pre-tenure (6-7 year clock with funding lines hovering around 10% of applications in a good year).

I can also see why students want to go back to the old way. However, a problematic portion (enough to cause a fuss that worries admin) are so immature that they can’t meet their responsibilities unless someone holds their feet to the fire. Then, they fail and blame the system because they didn’t have a hand holding. Both sides need to grow up a little bit and adapt, but the “customer” side (a ridiculous trope) is pandered to and there’s no growth catalysis in that environment.

    hrhdhd in reply to healthguyfsu. | July 11, 2022 at 6:40 pm

    I take your point, but if I sign up for a face-to-face class, it’s because I wanted a face-to-face class. Faculty who agree to teach face-to-face as part of their load (and let’s figure that no one is doing a full [“full,” of course, can be maybe two classes in some cases] load face-to-face) should be meeting their classes in person.

      healthguyfsu in reply to hrhdhd. | July 12, 2022 at 3:42 pm

      I wholeheartedly agree with you. For far too long, universities have been trying to have it both ways and tell students that they will get a personal, quality education with individual attention AND they will be world-renowned research institutions.

      Meanwhile, they’ve been flat out WASTING slush money on all of these studies and grievances and “mental health services” crap that shouldn’t even be a part of their mission. Administrative bloat has heavily hindered STEM progress. All of this waste has stretched the real majors and left little room to meet both of those goals listed above. We would waste top notch researchers in the classroom. The problem is that there is a line, somewhat akin to the poverty line, in academia where could-be-great researchers hover and are held back by their teaching responsibilities. These people should be liberated to research but that takes money….money that universities WASTE elsewhere.

    gibbie in reply to healthguyfsu. | July 12, 2022 at 11:15 am

    This is one good reason for students to avoid big research universities. They can be advantageous if one is lucky or persistent enough to obtain a student worker job with a research team, but not everyone can do that. And some people prefer personal connections with their professors.

      healthguyfsu in reply to gibbie. | July 12, 2022 at 3:45 pm

      Agree there, too. It’s probably time to separate the two completely in terms of budgets and oversight while allowing for fertile collaboration between the two.

      You can still have a big university that provides a quality education, but in the current model, the quality of the education is washed out by the research agenda.

I have no sympathy for people who are this immature–sobbing because they have to return to the classroom, and their employer wants accountability? I’ll bet each and every one of them bought everything online, had all their food and groceries delivered, and didn’t think once about the poor people who had to go to work in person to accomplish all of this. I expect this out of immature students, but lecturers and professors?

henrybowman | July 11, 2022 at 4:44 pm

“UF Biology Professor Norman Douglas tweeted in response to Scott, “turns out something that was legal is something we could be ratted out anonymously for?”

You’ve just described the entirety of your own cancel culture, you moron.

What sort of hypochondriac can’t handle in-person teaching? Last time I was in college the professors often weren’t within 30 feet of anybody while teaching (not that it matters, “social distancing” was a spectacular failure at limiting covid).

At its simplest, the instructors are providing a product (their knowledge) to a customer (the students). They need to keep in mind that nobody wants a cheeseburger when they pay for prime rib.

    healthguyfsu in reply to DSHornet. | July 12, 2022 at 3:47 pm

    That is definitely an oversimplistic view of the model. In fact, tuition only accounts for, on average, 20% of a university’s budget. Any taxpayer, the faculty included, are also “customers” in the model.

I was in the academic belly of the beast for many years. Most academics have never had a real job in their lives. They control their little fiefdoms as dictators. They think this is their right.

To NIH: can the universities charge overhead anymore for these snowflake profs anymore? Can the universities seize the unused offices and labs? Perhaps real, live profs should be additionally compensated, or better, the stay at home profs should have their salaries cut. Why even have campuses? Maybe parents should get a tuition cut for no show professors. To the whining biology prof: how do you teach labs? Should you have your TAs and TFs taken away if you aren’t there to mentor them and you offload your teaching to them?

This could be a lot of fun for state governments.

Can you translate please “growth catalysis”? You sounded reasonable until you threw that in. A clear giveaway that you are a professor.

    healthguyfsu in reply to SpeakUpNow. | July 12, 2022 at 3:54 pm

    The metaphorical catalyst means a stimulus for change/adaptation/improvement. There is no growth without change, but many students don’t want to change today. They want to get A’s while doing as little as possible. They see this as an optimal trait because it would be an “efficient lifehack” in their minds.

    I can’t totally blame them, though, grade inflation has caused much of the current problem, AND the K-12 model no longer promotes growth catalysis either (college should not be the first time they don’t get their way in the classroom). Most of the “counted” years in academia just require taking a test and passing it and that’s pretty much it. All of the grades surrounding that test are in service to and in support of that one annual event. Some grades are even altered to boost confidence artificially.

    For the record, I taught in person whenever I was allowed to do so by admin and continue to do so. That said, I doubt there is anything in the details of the signed documents that binds any university to this course. If it were at some university, their lawyers would have been fired yesterday.

healthguyfsu | July 12, 2022 at 4:03 pm

Also, I’m sure some of you can commiserate with the masking mandate. Being told you must teach this class in person while wearing a mask and you must enforce the mask mandate on others ABSOLUTELY SUCKS.

Imagine a world where you have to actually show up for the job your being paid to do. The horror