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NYU Chemistry Prof Fired After Students Said Course Was Too Hard Speaks Out

NYU Chemistry Prof Fired After Students Said Course Was Too Hard Speaks Out

“Even before COVID-19 disrupted classrooms, there were signs of trouble.”

We covered the story of Professor Maitland Jones a couple of weeks ago.

He recently wrote at the Boston Globe:

I was fired from NYU after students complained that the class was too hard. Who’s next?

Organic chemistry is a difficult and important course, a rite of passage for future medical doctors, scientists, and many engineers, professions that require the ability to reason well from a set of new data. No longer is “orgo” a memorization course — those of us who teach it aim to produce critical thinkers, future diagnosticians, and scientists.

Neither of the traditional participants in the course, the students and teachers, are doing well. Many students seem increasingly unwilling to put in the necessary effort to master the material, and teachers are burning out at a rapid rate.

Even before COVID-19 disrupted classrooms, there were signs of trouble. I came to New York University in 2007 after 43 years of teaching and research at Princeton, where I had both tenure and an endowed chair. I wanted to see if the technique I had introduced at Princeton, in which the talking-head lecture was deemphasized in favor of small-group problem solving, was transferable to another university.

All went well at first as students prospered in the problem-solving setting and younger faculty began to adopt it. But about 10 years ago, I noticed that students were increasingly misreading exam questions. My careful attention to the wording of problems did not help much. Exam scores began to decline, as did attendance in the traditional large lecture section of the course Then COVID hit.

Coteaching with two excellent professors, Paramjit Arora and Keith Woerpel, I commissioned and paid for a series of 52 videos to substitute for canceled in-person lectures. Students rarely watched them. They performed abysmally on exams that would have seemed too easy only a few years ago. A few did attend the zoomed office hours, but they were the best students in the class, not the ones who needed help.

Read it all.


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“students were increasingly misreading exam questions.”
Meet your future doctors, America.
Keep track of what color crayons they use on your charts.

    healthguyfsu in reply to henrybowman. | October 24, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    What’s worse is that they often won’t claim responsibility for misreading a question.

    It is the fault of the professor that they were “tricked” into being lead away from the right answer. We’re not talking about mind games here…..we’re talking about deductive reasoning questions.

Indeed. The so called “cream of the crop” are rapidly becoming spoiled.

Once upon a time, students who went out of country because they couldn’t get into an American medical school were frowned upon.

Now, it seems like they are the ones that will get the superior education.

Orgo is quite difficult, but biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology and even inorganic chemistry use orgo as a foundation for all the reactions that occur in biology, pharmacology etc.

It must be appalling to discover that you paid all that money to get an education, and instead got pablum.

Of course, Dementia Joe is doing his “best” to eliminate that as well.

We just had COVID dropped on us and vaccines that are proving to not work and cause side effects. Further Doctors and Hospitals have not shown they are helping people, but pushing for Big Pharma and government. Having less trained people as Doctors, Nurses, and Researchers just because they do not like “things too hard” will make us look for foreign trained or USA trained. It will also lead us to not trust Doctors.

    artichoke in reply to JG. | October 23, 2022 at 10:03 pm

    I’d say the ship has already sailed regarding trusting doctors. Many looked like fools regarding Covid and the Covid vax; the remainder were not allowed to speak for fear of losing their licenses.

Oh BOO HOO….organic chemistry is a really difficult subject. It’s not for uncommitted students who think they can learn everything from the TV miniseries version. The professor is hinting around at what we all know—most college students are so entitlement-poisoned these days that I don’t know when or if this situation is reversible.

Of course we need DEI in the sciences….how else can there be a leveling?
Can;’t do Organic chem? How do you think you will do in Bio=Chem??

    healthguyfsu in reply to dr. frank. | October 25, 2022 at 10:29 am

    Wait until they learn that diseases don’t care that you tried hard and overcame systemic racism through affirmative action to become a doctor.

I kept my Orgo textbook, by Maitland Jones because it was so clear and easy to read. I returned all of the other books for pennies on the dollar but kept the best.

This tells me that NYU does not want the best education for their students.

What do they call the med school student who graduated last in his class?