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University professors should be encouraged to be students

When I was in Grade Nine, my teacher let us watch Jurassic Park. It was in protest of parents being upset over the “Theory of Evolution” content that he couldn’t teach.

It was cool when I was 13-years old, but looking back I realized he was probably over-worked, had few resources available to him to teach us science accurately, and wasn’t given the ability to research new ways of teaching theories.

I also now realize that parents can sometimes be dicks to teachers.

In this years’ Issue 7 of the Gazette, News Editor Alex Rose broke the story that the Dalhousie Faculty Association was planning for a potential strike. And one of the reasons was the lack of resources for research within our university’s departments.

The article also cited Dr. John Kirk, who has a 40-year career at Dalhousie University, who said that the university was hiring part-time faculty instead of replacing full-time faculty who retired.

At first, like many students, I didn’t think that was horrible.

Until I looked up the Dal pages of two of my Political Science professors, both of whom I have taken over four courses within the last two-years, and realized they’re only assistant professors.

In fact, Dal just has two tenured Political Science professors.

What the h-e double-hockey-stick.

These two assistant professors have put in the most amount of extra time with students I have seen throughout my entire four-years, and have also gone above-and-beyond the call of duty of any professor – and they made their classes interesting.

I showed up to classes that started before noon, specifically because they taught them.

To learn that these amazing professors – like many others that we have come to secretly admire and look for under class listings – are being denied proper resources and full-time placement?

It doesn’t make sense that a place concerned with “inspiring minds” would do this.

In high school, if you could even articulate an independent thought without crying, you were rewarded for being so “bright.” I didn’t come to university because I wanted to learn irrelevant theories from twenty-years ago, I wanted to be challenged with new ideas.

Most students come to university because they have some grasp on critical thinking abilities but want to become better.

We can’t become a better student unless our professors are also allowed to be students.

If our professors are not given adequate time to research, write, and study new theories, then their students will receive the short-end of the stick by not receiving a high-quality education.

Reading from textbooks is dull.

Listening to a lecture from a professor who has dedicated years of research to a particular field, travelled to that part of the world, discussed with brilliant thinkers their thoughts on the matter, is what we pay good money for.

If students want to listen to someone who is pulling facts out of their rear-end and using statements they may have read from a book or back of cereal box, they need only to go to their local frat party and find the guy who reeks of weed the most.

Students pay a fortune for their education, so the university might as well be using that fortune to pay for more full-time professors and full-time faculty.

If retired faculty’s salaries are actually going into a big pot, use that fund to hire a replacement, not a placeholder.

Students deserve a university education from professors who are encouraged and supported by the university to be students themselves. The growth of information available in our world has been exponential, and it’s time Dalhousie grew their full-time faculties to accommodate for this.


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