Monday, July 19, 2010

Taking it out on someone else?

This is a student I haven't seen in years. Stu was a Bio major for about a semester, is minoring in Bio (which requires no advising input from anyone in Bio), but has failed to drop the Bio major (despite reminders). Because Stu hasn't dropped the major, I am still considered Stu's advisor. Every once in a while Stu needs my signature for something. Here's an example of an e-mail I got today. Aside from the brackets, exactly as written.

Hey there [my first initial] so something happened with my dropping major to minor and im still considered and bio major but im trying to get enough credits to fill the minor and i will be on my [exchange program] this fall in [city] and have the opportunity to do that by taking a class at [college] its a 400 level evolution class and i was wondering if you could fill out the transfer credit form i filled it out but sometimes with pdas the info doesnt always transfer ... please let me know if there is a problem and what i can do to fix it thank you

I put Stu off to Stu's true major advisor. I could have done what Stu asked with no problem. Perhaps I am acting like a mean person, but today I couldn't tolerate an e-mail like that and Stu's asking me to fill out the paperwork from scratch (it WAS blank). Stu should have given me course descriptions, had the ppwrk finished, needing only my signature. Am I being vindictive from other things in my life? Or justly demanding a minimum of professionalism?


  1. Nope, tell Stu to get his crap together if he wants you to sign off on it. He has expectations of you signing the form and you are entitled to have the expectation of him having all his ducks in a row.

    Former and currently disgruntled signer of much student paperwork.

  2. You are not his mother. Hand it off, hand it back, but don't do the work.

  3. I'm meaner than you. I probably would have responded to Stu's email requesting an English translation.

    I just don't get people these days who 1) don't understand the need for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation in a professional setting and 2) don't make every effort to make it as easy as possible for someone doing them a favor.

  4. There is a special place in hell for people who don't respect punctuation or capitalization...

  5. Will our students ever take some personal responsibility?

    This has started happening to me. Usually I just forward the email on to their real advisor.

  6. I don't know. I can see how you wouldn't want to deal with this, but I'll take a basically polite, however unpunctuated, semi-English email over some of the obnoxious crap I've gotten... I've had students essentially attack me, acting like I'm their slave.

    What amazes me is how students make it to college without having learned this skill, and are somehow presumably (?) passing some of their classes with this kind of informal attitude about writing.

    I've had to grade answers on exams that read like this. My rubrics came down to giving pity points if they got any of the keywords right, points off for every missing spelling or grammatical error, and full credit only if the answer was fully literate and fully correct.

    Maybe we should all add a component to the syllabus (when a student in a class) or write up a contract we give our advisees, which clearly states that spelling and grammar are requirements for continued communication, forms must be completely filled out, etc. and make them sign it? Would that help send a message that we're all grownups here?

  7. Sounds like he needs to grow the fuck up and get his shit together. I'd tell him what the score is then kick him in the ass.

  8. read on, tideliar. I did in my polite way!