The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Last issue, we looked at the trending Professor Watchlist recently published by Turning Point USA. The Watchlist is a student-led list of complaints against “liberal” professors, and lists the names of the professors that conservative students feel “discriminate against” conservative ideas and values.
While most of the professors on the list didn’t actually do anything wrong (i.e., some revealed the existence of white privilege and climate change to a few students — apparently surprised), some professors’ biases were actually getting in the way of learning.
But out of the list of over 200 professors, not one Miami professor was included.
As finals loom menacingly over Miami students in the upcoming weeks, it’s easy to have an attitude against professors here, especially those in our larger lectures, for giving us so much work with seemingly little time to dedicate to us one-on-one. Finals is like taking all of the stress that we have felt throughout the semester and concentrating it into one highly caffeinated, poorly managed final week. It’s terrible.
Around this time, it’s easy to forget that the kind of education we get here at Miami is, in fact, exceptional. It’s part of the United States’ list of eight Public Ivies, a list that was made back in 1985 and has remained consistent over time. While we know that college rankings can be generally arbitrary, the “Public Ivy” ranking is directly related to high-achieving students and faculty, consistent excellence, overall aesthetic and honorable traditions.
For some students, the idea that Miami has an overwhelming commitment to undergraduate teaching feels kind of like a little pat on the back for the school and doesn’t really mean anything for the students. In reality, Miami has one of the greatest commitments and focuses on undergraduate writing skills, with almost every course on campus requiring some kind of writing-based grade and with the somewhat-new requirement of students needing to take a writing class in order to graduate. The Western program is one of the most unique of its kind and allows students to create their own majors. And the business school here is one of the best in the country.
From the standpoint of potential first-years, those superlatives shine bright, they entice high schoolers and convince them of our university’s top-tier academia. Great. Accolades and appearances have their place, they serve their function in recruitment and that’s grand.
But what should concern us current students is the abundance of professors who care about our futures more than we could imagine.
Have you ever gone to your professor’s office hours? Many of the Miami faculty are excellent when it comes to sitting down with their students and clearing things up a little bit — and that help is not limited to the final three weeks of a given semester, nor should it be.
The semi-annual delivery of finals has arrived and a good chunk of the student population now scrambles to make up for the semester they spent ignoring the concept of “office hours.” It may not be too late this semester to salvage that, but swathes of students will all be thinking the same thing, making for an office-hours bottleneck.
But there’s always next semester! We urge the student body to meet with their professors next semester within the first three weeks. Spend some time picking their Ph.D. and/or M.A. brains. Get to know these masters of their crafts and learn firsthand what it feels like to spend the semester’s end without pangs of mental pain and dread.