Standardization of economics classes

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Tue Aug 29 13:13:52 MDT 1995


I am not a happy person today. At one of the colleges where I teach (in
this case, "Basic Economics"), I have received a *directive* aimed at
"standardizing" the economics classes. The source of the directive is a
Dean with, obviously, no training in or understanding of economics.

I have been told that I *must* use the text entitled _Economics
Explained_ by Robert Heilbroner and Lester Thurow for the *Fall* semester
(just a couple of weeks away). There are many problems with this book,
not the least of which is that it was not designed to be a text for a 4
credit college class. I was not consulted about the choice of text or
asked to explain my ideas or preferences regarding texts.

It gets worse. I was told in writing that the school intended "to provide
exams of a true/false, multiple choice or short answer in-class exam,
rather than term papers or in-class exams"! I was even told verbally that
standard (true/false;multiple choice) exams will be prepared *for me* and
I will be *required* to use those exams exclusively!

The above goes against everything I believe in regarding pedagogy and
learning. It is an insult and an abomination to faculty and to the poor
students who will have to suffer through such a "standardized" course.
I will not tell you the name of the school now, but if I did that would
make the scandal of this obscenity (and hypocrisy) even more apparent.

I have two requests: 1) can people tell me whether this kind of vulgarity
                       is happening to the same extent at other colleges?;
                     2) could you please address commentary concerning
                       these actions to the list so that I can then use
                       them as ammunition against the dreaded and tyrannical
                       administrator?

Thanks in advance.

Jerry



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