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NYU Fires Chemistry Professor After Students Launch Petition Claiming His Course is Too Hard

NYU Fires Chemistry Professor After Students Launch Petition Claiming His Course is Too Hard

“Students said the high-stakes course — notorious for ending many a dream of medical school — was too hard, blaming Dr. Jones for their poor test scores.”

https://youtu.be/GxqR6p8r6z0

Professor Maitland Jones Jr. has been teaching organic chemistry for years at Princeton and then New York University.

This past spring, several of his students launched a petition claiming that his course was too hard. NYU ended up firing him, which the students didn’t even demand.

Stephanie Saul reported at the New York Times:

At N.Y.U., Students Were Failing Organic Chemistry. Who Was to Blame?

In the field of organic chemistry, Maitland Jones Jr. has a storied reputation. He taught the subject for decades, first at Princeton and then at New York University, and wrote an influential textbook. He received awards for his teaching, as well as recognition as one of N.Y.U.’s coolest professors.

But last spring, as the campus emerged from pandemic restrictions, 82 of his 350 students signed a petition against him.

Students said the high-stakes course — notorious for ending many a dream of medical school — was too hard, blaming Dr. Jones for their poor test scores.

The professor defended his standards. But just before the start of the fall semester, university deans terminated Dr. Jones’s contract.

The officials also had tried to placate the students by offering to review their grades and allowing them to withdraw from the class retroactively. The chemistry department’s chairman, Mark E. Tuckerman, said the unusual offer to withdraw was a “one-time exception granted to students by the dean of the college.”

Jones noted that many students were struggling before Covid but that the pandemic made things even worse.

“Students were misreading exam questions at an astonishing rate,” he wrote in a grievance to the university, protesting his termination. Grades fell even as he reduced the difficulty of his exams.

The problem was exacerbated by the pandemic, he said. “In the last two years, they fell off a cliff,” he wrote. “We now see single digit scores and even zeros.”

After several years of Covid learning loss, the students not only didn’t study, they didn’t seem to know how to study, Dr. Jones said.

Robby Soave of Reason has more, including a comment from an official at NYU:

His departure is certainly a loss for NYU’s academic caliber. After all, Jones is a lion in the field of organic chemistry, publishing 225 papers in his 40-year career. He literally wrote the textbook, “Organic Chemistry,” which weighs in at 1,300 pages.

“[Jones] learned to teach during a time when the goal was to teach at a very high and rigorous level,” Paramjit Arora, a professor of chemistry at NYU and former colleague of Jones told The Times. “We hope that students will see that putting them through that rigor is doing them good.”

NYU clearly feels differently about the matter.

“NYU had in Professor Maitland Jones a faculty member with a one-year appointment specifically to teach organic chemistry,” wrote John Beckman, a spokesperson for NYU, in a statement to Reason.

The plain truth is that not everyone who wants to be a doctor will be able to become a doctor. New York University did not favor its students by removing Professor Jones.

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Comments

Oh boy, would LOVE to see the demographic breakdown of these students.

    E Howard Hunt in reply to Paul. | October 4, 2022 at 11:06 am

    Ya, and not only that, but what color they are too.

    r2468 in reply to Paul. | October 4, 2022 at 11:08 am

    That’s just racist. /s In this case I’ll speculate the students decided to quit studying. I’ve done that with similar results.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Paul. | October 4, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    I’d be willing to be most of them were white by far. It’s the rich, white, liberals that do this kind of crap supported by their karen mommies.

      diver64 in reply to healthguyfsu. | October 4, 2022 at 5:43 pm

      Maybe, maybe not but I bet the Karen’s and affirmative action mob had a say. I took several chemistry classes in college including Organic. I was asking about a test I got a low B on test and the Prof told me “study more, sunshine”. I did and got a B for the course but it wasn’t easy.

      CommoChief in reply to healthguyfsu. | October 4, 2022 at 10:13 pm

      Entitlement knows no ethnicity, especially to their helicopter Karen parents for whom their darling child can do no wrong. The issue can’t be Johnny or Jane, oh no, the issue is the test, the teacher, the environment, the ambient temperature, the poor lighting, the Feng shui of the building.

    Joe-dallas in reply to Paul. | October 4, 2022 at 4:30 pm

    Just an observation
    Most everyone commenting has a science degree or taken a lot of science.

    I have been told that scientists mostly vote for democrats. though I dont anyone commenting here is a leftist.

    Or the people commenting here scientists that actually do real work instead of being academic

Well, in point of fact, some teachers in technical fields do a favor poor job of providing any foundational understanding of the subject (some can barely speak English). I’ve encountered this myself.

    Concise in reply to Concise. | October 4, 2022 at 11:10 am

    And sometimes I do a poor job of editing, meant “very poor job”

      iconotastic in reply to Concise. | October 4, 2022 at 4:24 pm

      It is Organic Chemistry. 2nd year Chemistry when I was taking it. Foundation has already been taught (supposedly). Clearly NYU Chemistry is now at the level of a rural community college (if that).

        vinnymeyer in reply to iconotastic. | October 8, 2022 at 12:04 pm

        Hey, I took organic chem at a community college. Had a FANTASTIC teacher, who worked very hard get everybody who was willing to work hard through the course. The final exam was the ACS final exam, same exam that the University used. It is a tough courses and indeed separates those that could handle med school from those who can’t.

        If the kiddies can’t handle the serious premed coursework maybe they need to rethink their career choice.

    Dimsdale in reply to Concise. | October 4, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    Maybe so, but there are hundreds of resources on the web to help and tutor students. I sure didn’t have any of that, and yet, I muddled through it.

    With the resources of the world at their fingertips, these students choose to indulge in TikTok and Instagram for hours and hours.

      CommoChief in reply to Dimsdale. | October 4, 2022 at 10:40 pm

      The real issue here is that successful mastery in this class is one of the hurdles that separate who will continue on their goal (or their parent’s vicarious goal) to become an MD. Not everyone can or should be able to do that. Instead of accepting reality we have allowed the Disney fantasy of a story tale happy ending to become the normal expectation v the rare dream come true. The same holds in many other fields.

      Some people can embrace the suck, and gut through Ranger School despite injuries, some can’t. People want what they want but the majority are unwilling to put forth the effort and undergo the sacrifice required to realize the goals.

      Our society has convinced people that their feelings are more important than the truth. That objective reality can be bent to their will via simply declaring it to be so. Like Canute they truly believe they command the sea.

      Dr Jones crime wasn’t in maintaining the standard but in failing to understand that objective reality in our society has become secondary to individual desire. His crime was failing to acknowledge that the desires of these students to pass the course outweighs their ability to demonstrate sufficient mastery of the material. These students want their desired outcome and anyone who stands between them and the desired outcome is an ist full of isms. And really why not? Haven’t we as a society reinforced that narrative?

Organic Chemistry – Destroyer of Dreams.

    The_Mew_Cat in reply to MattMusson. | October 4, 2022 at 11:25 am

    I remember an incident back in the 1980s at Duke when some pre-meds were caught picking the lock on Prof. Wilder’s door at 3AM. They were looking for the organic exam.

    Dimsdale in reply to MattMusson. | October 4, 2022 at 11:40 am

    There is no doubt: Organic Chemistry (orgo) is a very difficult subject, usually complete with lab.

    You can’t understand biochemistry, essential for doctors, unless you get the basics in orgo.

      alaskabob in reply to Dimsdale. | October 4, 2022 at 12:23 pm

      Amen on that…

      After graduating with a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering, I had the opportunity to return to college and go for medical school. Now, when in undergrad I felt that this was my only shot at getting a rounded education and took courses for that and not GPA.. like Russian and poli-sci which dinged my GPA.

      The first return course was in summer school …Organic Chemistry… a 200 series course. The prof was going through a divorce and had crawled into a booze bottle. He was surly and callous. I was one one of a group of students that requested and got a meeting with the chairman of the Chemistry Department. One student demanded an immediate “A” in the course as he was trying to get into medical school. I countered that that was not correct and that the Department would make good on getting the course back on track even though precious time had been lost. My position carried the day and the Chairman himself taught the class. Organic Chemistry isn’t “tough” so much as requiring an accumulation of knowledge and understanding of chemical pathways…just as Dimsdale wrote.

      While getting all of the requirements to apply to med school and be proficient to take the MCAT, I took Embryology. That professor right up front said his tests were hard enough that no one would get a 100. I needed a score of 104 on the final to make an “A” in the course. I told him that I was going to take the final anyway despite only having a assured “B” and no chance for an “A”. This was my way of showing my proficiency. I made a 94. There were several students like me with that attitude. We all scored high and he chose to reset the grading score…. not because we demanded it

      The qualifications to get into medical school are there in part to better assure the school that the med student will be successful in school and not wasting a spot for someone better qualified. The first year is 800-1000 pages of dense scientific literature…every week plus labs. 18 hour days for 6 days and part of the 7th each week…Friday nights were our break. Making getting into med school and through med school easier makes it tougher on the patient.

      MajorWood in reply to Dimsdale. | October 6, 2022 at 11:07 am

      Organic is the basis of understanding patterns. I spent many a long evening in Burton Basement with a huge blackboard and a lot of spent chalk. Start with A and get to Z in as few steps as possible. Lots of forks and dead ends. My high point came after an organic test where the steps I took turned out to be more efficient than the path that the prof was expecting us to take.

“The plain truth is that not everyone who wants to be a doctor will be able to become a doctor.”

“The plain truth is that not everyone who wants to be a SEAL will be able to become a SEAL.”

The dropout rate at BUDS is high, varying between 50-80% of each class. But in the end the Navy winds up with very competent SEALS.

Why should organic chemistry or EE be any different?

    Dimsdale in reply to fscarn. | October 4, 2022 at 11:48 am

    Precisely!!! Just like the odds of being in the NBA, the odds of being a doctor (a good one, anyway) should be quite low. Only the cream of the crop should make it, otherwise we will have a pandemic of lousy healthcare.

Having a M.S. in Organic Chemistry and having used Jones’ textbook, I can say it is not for the faint of heart. NYU has not done these cry babies any favors.

    The_Mew_Cat in reply to Wade Hampton. | October 4, 2022 at 11:26 am

    Pre-Meds like to party. By letting the ones that party too much through, they aren’t doing the public any favors either. Who wants stupid or incompetent doctors working on them?

    I started out as a Chem major in college and loved Organic Chemistry and the labs. What turned me to Math was Physical Chemistry. Ironically, I had an uncle who was a world-renowned physical chemist.

    Joe-dallas in reply to Wade Hampton. | October 4, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    Speaking of hard chemistry courses –

    I took chemistry in 11th grade HS chemistry. I struggled, barely making 70 ( a C grade, barely passing. the final exam was a standardized chemistry test. I got around a 65-70 on the test, again barely passing.

    Turns out that test was a standardized test given to college chemistry majors. that barely passing grade was around the 80%percentile of college sophomore chemistry majors.

    wound up going into accounting.
    It was 1973, so there was heavy use of the slide rule.

      Dimsdale in reply to Joe-dallas. | October 4, 2022 at 4:28 pm

      LOL! I had an old Italian professor in physics that wouldn’t allow calculators in the class, but he did allow slide rules! What luck, I knew how to use one!

      Now I collect them.

      As an aside, the prof put the answer sheets on the front desk that you could pick up at the end of the exam so you could see how you did. Wouldn’t you know it, but some enterprising pharmacology student picked up one before the test, and they passed it all around in the back of the lecture hall. One problem: the prof made a mistake, one that all the cheaters dutifully copied! The next class, the room was only partially populated. The prof reported it to the dean, and all the cheaters had to take the course over the next year. Unfortunately for them, it was a prerequisite for their subsequent courses, so they effectively added a year onto their college experience.

      Nowadays, they would complain that the prof should have given them the answers ahead of time…

Carbon? Hard or toxic? Reduce, reuse, recycle… perchance abort, cannibalize, sequester.

E Howard Hunt | October 4, 2022 at 11:24 am

These pupils are far too occupied with organ chemistry to study.

*Checks calendar*

Hire no NYU gradutate who graduated after 2021.

taurus the judge | October 4, 2022 at 11:36 am

The inmates now rule the asylum.

So you should not use a doctor that has their undergrad from NYU. Thanks for the update.

I taught a few information intensive courses as well, namely Anatomy and Physiology and Histology, and there was a significant reassessment of majors by many of the presumed “premeds” at the time.

This was before the “pandemic,” so I can only imagine that it got worse, likely for the same reasons I always told advisees never to “take a year off” before entering grad/medical/law school.

It sounds like they aren’t going to have a problem with many Asian student applicants at this point.

    alaskabob in reply to Dimsdale. | October 4, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    I always thought “pre-med” was pre-sumptuous. I was seated at a table in the cafeteria at the U. when the chitchat went to what majors everyone was taking. Instead of saying chemistry or some such with a hope of getting in, one guy said “pre-med”. I was then just waiting for my turn…

    healthguyfsu in reply to Dimsdale. | October 4, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    It is worse. They all think they are going to be living out grey’s anatomy (not the book, the shonda rhimes shitshow)

      Dimsdale in reply to healthguyfsu. | October 4, 2022 at 4:33 pm

      Oh ain’t that the truth, although back in the day, I think it was ER with George Clooney. I am old enough to remember St. Elsewhere…

      Who said Dr. Kildare!!!! 😉

        Oversoul Of Dusk in reply to Dimsdale. | October 4, 2022 at 5:32 pm

        Marcus Welby, M.D.

        Bunch of whippersnappers around here!

        alaskabob in reply to Dimsdale. | October 5, 2022 at 10:52 am

        That would be me plus The Visible Man, The Visible Eye, and The Visible Heart models. And then there was Ben Casey… “Man, woman, birth, death, infinity.”.

        MajorWood in reply to Dimsdale. | October 6, 2022 at 11:22 am

        The three most accurate hospital shows are St Elsewhere, Scrubs, and Green Wing. Medicine is dark and one needs the buffer of laughter to get to the truth. I would throw House in there too, but one really needs to view it as a Sherlock Holmes spinoff to really enjoy it. As a medical show it was an endless stream of WTF moments. The body doesn’t work that way.

Since when do students get to set the standard for the course?

He’s been teaching 40 years, published 225 peer reviewed papers, and wrote the standard textbook in the field. Somehow I don’t think he is the problem.

Sadly for them, from this point on evaluators will rightfully be noting the date students “passed” this class and pigeonholing them appropriately.

    Phillygirl1807 in reply to Gosport. | October 6, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    These Gen Z’rs have been raised to receive trophies, even if their teams were dead last. Their parents want to be “friends” instead of having high expectations for their children. They are used to getting their way be whining. They don’t belong at a very expensive university.

I always was bored to tears by chemistry. Physics is the way to do. You’d think physicians would be physics but apparently they don’t.

    healthguyfsu in reply to rhhardin. | October 4, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    Physiology has a lot of physics, but the algebraic kind mostly.

      henrybowman in reply to healthguyfsu. | October 4, 2022 at 2:31 pm

      At my age, my physics are mostly the pharmaceutical kind.

        MajorWood in reply to henrybowman. | October 6, 2022 at 11:33 am

        I have a T-shirt which says “Battery Operated” that denotes the extra bump on my chest. You don’t appreciate how well the human body is built until parts start to fall off. FWIW, CRT is a good thing when it refers to Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy. My right atrium is starting to reach NEC limits for “box fill.”

I loved organic chemistry, it just clicked

Organic chemistry is not only tough, it stinks highly of mercaptans, sulfides and horribly skunky acids.

From Max Gergels book “Pardon Me Sir, Would You Like To Buy A Kilo Of Isopropyl Bromide?”

I had been visiting Will at the plant in Elgin, South Carolina, and noticed that he smelled goaty. For that matter, the other workers seemed to have a goaty odor, too. I inquired the reason, and he took me to the source, an isolated section of the plant, which smelled horrendous. A large glass still, one that would have delighted a moonshiner in the old whiskey-making days was stinking up Hardwicke Chemical Co. and the surrounding farms. Now fatty acids have a rank odor smelling like rancid butter. The absolute worst member of the series is isovaleric acid. This smells like rancid butter with a soupgon of goat and old sneakers thrown in for good measure. As bad as it smells, the acid chloride derived from it is worse. It is so volatile that it will chase a visitor and leave its far from subtle mark. The odor is soap, water and Lysol resistant. This acid chloride reacts with mucous membrane so that while you are rendered ill by the obnoxious odor, the acid chloride is hydrolyzing with your perspiration as a reactant and eats away your lips, eyeballs and tongue. Hardwicke, committed to make this monster, was only too happy to find’ Columbia Organic Chemicals Co., Inc., as a “farmout” and once more we were making something no one else wanted to make.
We had never had such a dreadful assignment. Anyone working with this “superstink” is branded and given a wide berth. No matter how amorous his spouse may be, passion crumples despite baths, Chlorox and Dentine. For a while we made isovaleroyl chloride at Cedar Terrace. It created pandemonium among residents who first sniffed each other, came to the plant to sniff us, and then sniffled to their lawyers.

    Dimsdale in reply to scooterjay. | October 4, 2022 at 4:38 pm

    Of course, working in the lab next to someone with a professional fascination for the reproductive habits of ferrets, with all scent glands intact, was a bit awe inspiring as well.

Common:

Professor, I think I deserve a higher grade on this test.

What makes you think that?

I need to get into med school.

    henrybowman in reply to gibbie. | October 4, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    ““Students were misreading exam questions at an astonishing rate,” he wrote in a grievance to the university”
    So relieved to hear that all these folks once again have a chance to be my doctor.

      alaskabob in reply to henrybowman. | October 4, 2022 at 2:48 pm

      As a teaching assistant, the University’s freshman chemistry class was a disaster. A third of the freshmen (can I say “freshman” anymore?) were failing but the state decreed only 10% could be flunked. No… we didn’t lower the standards…we set up mentoring and extra instruction. The students could not understand the questions… reading comprehension and conversion of worded questions was bad. That was 1973. It has only gotten worse as standards have been watered down.

Orgo is perfect for med school students – all memorization – just like being a doctor.

Dr. Jones is right on about test scores and student quality regarding after our government’s response to covid. I am seeing a lot of it in secondary school. The students simply will not sit down and study. They won’t do it. When they fail they and their parents complain that X is too hard rather than address the reason they think X is too hard.

The concentration I studied at university (molecular biology and chemistry) is what most people used for a pre-med. It absolutely terrifies me that some of those people in my classes might be working doctors today.

nordic prince | October 4, 2022 at 1:30 pm

I would like to know the names of the crybabies, so I could avoid any practice that might hire them in the future.

Fat_Freddys_Cat | October 4, 2022 at 1:31 pm

I just can’t wait until the government takes over medicine entirely and I’m assigned one of these whimpering fools as my doctor. Looks like I’d better learn more about home remedies…

    NIH has an online library, just sayin.

    The US taxpayers funded an enormous amount of research into cancer and immune system function due to the HIV epidemic. The result is a library of medicines, some of them old, cheap and well-tolerated, that can be used to treat both viral and bacterial diseases in people with trashed immune systems. Many of them are widely available.

    I got my first really good cites to SARS-COV-2 treatments from someone who said he is an HIV patient.

Reduce admissions requirements leads to
reduced academic requirements, which leads to [<– you are here]
reduced qualified job pool applicants, which leads to
reduced productivity, inventions, advancements, which leads to
reduced quality of life of the society.

On the surface this looks stupid, but at the same time, there are some HORRIFICALLY BAD professors out there, and for him to get fired makes me feel like he was already on thin ice for shitty teaching in the past.

I had a ‘professor’ in college that was completely and utterly worthless. Allegedly she was always a bad teacher, but it was taken to the next level when we all thought she was actually going senile, she would just stare at the board the entire class muttering almost unintelligibly as she ‘taught’, and frequently she would just go ‘uhm…..’ and then trail off for a good minute or two before suddenly starting to speak again.

She was utterly and completely worthless as a teacher, and if we thought a petition would have gotten her fired we absolutely would have done it.

    Dimsdale in reply to Olinser. | October 4, 2022 at 4:45 pm

    I had two profs that simply did not teach in any measurable way. They were what we called ‘deadwood” in the department, tenured, safe and functionless.

    I had to teach myself biochemistry and molecular biology because they sure weren’t doing it.

    That said, we need more data.

      artichoke in reply to Dimsdale. | October 4, 2022 at 10:39 pm

      Med school weedouts. The attitude is probably that it doesn’t really matter, it’s supposed to be an obstacle course.

    artichoke in reply to Olinser. | October 4, 2022 at 10:42 pm

    He won teaching awards at Princeton where he had a whole career as a professor. He wrote a textbook. At Princeton the premeds can probably handle “tough but inspiring” while the NYU kids may just be crushed by it.

    I wish med schools would stop taking GPA over everything. A kid who barely gets thru chem at Princeton is likely to be better than almost anyone coming out of NYU, and is the doctor I would prefer. But the 3.8 from NYU will be admitted and the 2.9 from Princeton has no chance.

      MajorWood in reply to artichoke. | October 6, 2022 at 11:47 am

      And of course the universal standardized tests be rayciss. A standardized test is the preferred gateway, until it works against you. Organic requires both inspiration and perspiration, and I suspect it is more the latter which had the students upset.

The lockdown idiocy is the core of it, just as the professor said. Like advanced math, a long layoff dulls the application of the previously acquired knowledge. These advanced classes must be taught in a continuum of instruction to be effective, with constant application and practice.

    artichoke in reply to puhiawa. | October 4, 2022 at 10:37 pm

    Or, conversely, you review it and then do well in the next class. That is, if you have good work habits. If I have a doctor, I want him/her to be able to remember what they learned in med school, in relevant papers, etc. Thus it is a reasonable discriminator of quality that matters. If a student fails in such a case, it is their fault and I prefer the one that succeeded.

In 7 or so years may want to start asking any younger doctors where they got their undergrads.

    JHogan in reply to aivanther. | October 4, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    And lean towards white and east Asian guys.

    Not out of racism, but because those guys are now heavily discriminated against and need to work a lot harder to overcome DEI preferences and quotas.

    artichoke in reply to aivanther. | October 4, 2022 at 10:33 pm

    We already do check, and we don’t ask. Our insurance company has it in their provider database. When undergrad or med school is missing, we don’t assume it was a top institution.

American Human | October 4, 2022 at 2:53 pm

I had my share of professors in Uni. One or two in particular stood out as outstanding.
1 – Thermodynamics: He never gave you an answer but prodded you and prodded you with questions until you thought out both your question and the right answer.
2 – Advanced Field Theory: A very thorough teacher who developed everything in field theory from Maxwell’s equations and explained it so simply that you felt you’d known it all along and that he was just reminding you. Also, his tests “separated the men from the boys” as the saying used to go (not sure what it would be now).

    Classes in the top STEM colleges that are supposed to be hard. Very hard.

    When I was in studying for my degree (a long time ago) Thermo was the class that weeded out the mediocre from the serious contenders. Fewer than half those who started finished.

    Don’t know if that’s still the case.

      MarkS in reply to JHogan. | October 4, 2022 at 4:06 pm

      Thermodynamics was the most interesting course that I ever had

      artichoke in reply to JHogan. | October 4, 2022 at 10:31 pm

      That’s the most mathematical, as chem classes go. And the most chemical, as physics classes go, although they tend to approach it from statistical mechanics and not care about the chemistry side of the applications. So you have to be able to do a bit of both, not too much of either.

        MajorWood in reply to artichoke. | October 6, 2022 at 11:52 am

        Remember kids, a centralized government is thermodynamically unstable. The big question is whether it will be a big boom or a prolonged fizzle.

    Sure, I had a very good chemistry professor and a great statics/dynamics teacher (he was missing about the first joint of his index finger that he lost in a submarine periscope and he had a disconcerting habit of pointing that finger at people when he was talking to them).

    But for every one of the good ones you have the HORRIFICALLY bad Differential Equations professor I mentioned above, or the English professor that decided that the entire final exam was going to be based on a book that happened to be on the reading list and he hadn’t talked about ONCE the entire semester.

As a sort of addendum to this, just recently, I went into teaching high school science after my college stint, hoping to address the need for STEM teachers, and you would not believe how disinterested the students are, with a notable few that actually wanted to learn. It was disheartening.

The parochial school I taught at was significantly better, offered fewer, but more rigorous courses, and the kids were motivated. Maybe parents paying tuition provided the “skin in the game” needed to stimulate parental involvement.

School vouchers, please (sans the Blaine amendments)….

    Dathurtz in reply to Dimsdale. | October 4, 2022 at 5:33 pm

    Amen. You try to motivate the unmotivated that have real potential, but you mostly teach the ones that want to go into STEM.

      artichoke in reply to Dathurtz. | October 4, 2022 at 10:28 pm

      Isn’t that almost the same? How many who could succeed in a STEM degree choose to major in something else, really?

      I’d want to hire STEM graduates for almost any sort of job, even unrelated to STEM, for that reason. A STEM grad with a bit of polishing can probably do better in a political science role than someone with that undergrad major, for example. That would be my bias if I were hiring college students.

I’m an NYU alumni – it used to be a school for top students. Now’s it’s an affirmative action, woke cesspool.

I don’t know if getting into med school is still very hard. But from when it was, the usual advice was to go to a relatively easy college, definitely not Princeton, and ace your classes. Turn down the Princeton undergrad acceptance and go somewhere else.

NYU has now distinguished itself as such a “relatively easy college”. Probably it’s better to have a doctor who didn’t go to noname-U as undergrad, especially not NYU going forward.

    alaskabob in reply to artichoke. | October 6, 2022 at 12:55 am

    That is where the MCAT was supposed to make a difference. There are five critical ingredients for success. GPA, MCAT, Degrees, Letters of Recommendation, LUCK.

    In considering going back for the pre-requisites, I talked first to the biology profs and they recommended going the chemistry route as more successful in getting into med school. It was great advice. Since I was there for the pre-requisite courses I went full in . Organic (200) in summer school, Fall semister was Graduate Organic (500), Quantitative Analysis (300), P-Chem (400), Biochem (300) and comparative anatomy. Spring was the same except Embryology instead of Comparative. In short… one year to go from second year organic to grad school the following Fall. I think that load showed i was both into masochism and could handle med school load. My GPA was not really high, but I destroyed the MCAT and everything else finally fell into place… but not all at once. Hopefully, the med school admissions takes everything into account and not just the kid’s parents donating $$$$$$$$ to the school, being alumni, faculty or famous families. If you had been a nurse or other provider, or over 26 some schools would not look at you.

“New York University did not favor its students by removing Professor Jones.”

New York University did not favor the students’ future patients by removing Professor Jones. FTFY

Eighty-three students found organic chemistry too hard, They ran to the administration, who appeased the 83, and the professor was forced out.

Another spineless administration. So much for academic rigor.

Ironic that no one seems to understand that the overemphasis on STEM in elementary school and high school has contributed to the overall sub literacy of our society.

    henrybowman in reply to M Poppins. | October 6, 2022 at 3:07 am

    I disagree.
    STEM teaches you to respect reality, because if you don’t reality bites back.
    Arts and styro courses seduce you to treat your personal fantasies as reality.
    My personal experience is that illiterates do extremely badly in engineering, particularly coding.

    MajorWood in reply to M Poppins. | October 6, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    I suspect that stupid and lazy are bigger contributors to sub-literacy of our society. If there were an overemphasis on STEM, then more kids would be able multiply 6 and 9 and not need their phone or a calculator to do it. I think Douglas Adams was onto something with “42.”

It is hard to know whether orgo still is what it was 45-50 years ago when I went to college. It was a very difficult course in the sense that you had to memorize the famed Morrison & Boyd book as you’d memorize a cookbook, but it did not have the mathematical sophistication or theoretical depth of physical chemistry or advanced physics courses (which pre-meds almost never dared to take).

I majored in Chemistry at a small Liberal Arts college in the 70s. That was when grade inflation had just started to take off in the Liberal Arts. Analytical Chemistry (Honors freshman chemistry) was the the weed out class, and then we all hit Organic. The class size did shrink, again.

It was simple: you can’t pass Chemistry courses without learning something. I went through my entire high school career without ever studying for a test. For college Chemistry, (also Math and Physics) I had to not only study, but work through problems, and if I wanted to get the bonus points on any test, I had to be able to extend the principles we’d covered in a different direction.

My first love, was literature, but to be honest, I could already read and write. I would wander over to the Liberal Arts building, and take classes where the students didn’t do the reading assignments, and tried to pry hints about the subject matter of the (easy) tests, and waste time so they didn’t have to cover anything new. Then, some of them would get pissed at me for “blowing the curve.” Those were the Education majors. Certain of the professors catered to them.

Liberal Arts professors and Education majors have ruined our school system because they have been allowed to be lazy and unproductive, and they have taken it out on everyone else (STEM people).