Letter to the Editor | Professors shouldn’t settle | The Triangle


Letter to the Editor | Professors shouldn’t settle

Dear Editor:

Justin Roczniak’s “The Hazards of Curtis 231” (The Triangle, Feb. 20) speaks not only for the students who have to endure substandard and even squalid classrooms at Drexel, but for a silent faculty too. Too often, I have had to teach my classes in rooms that, particularly in Randell and Curtis, insult the purpose of education. We can’t, it seems, have too many places on campus to eat, bank or shop — that is, to part with more of our money — but when it comes to the business of education, well, students have already plunked down their cash and can’t have it back, so why bother to accommodate them?

Of course, students can vote with their feet, and do, which leads administrators to organize more committees to study the problem of retention. If they ever — God forbid, I suppose — stepped into one of dreary, unventilated, underfurnished rooms with the sardine seating students must put up with, a light might just go on. But then there would be one committee less to justify the fancy suites administrators give themselves, and how would that go down?

The problem, as Roczniak notes, is not confined to Randell and Curtis, but extends across the campus. Students, needless to say, deserve better — they deserve, in fact, the best. As for the faculty who tolerate such conditions, though, they are probably getting exactly what they do deserve.


Robert Zaller
Department of History and Politics

  • clsof2014

    As a recent grad I feel as if a majority of the teaching space is excellent. Now if your department and your classes are to teach a Core history class to non majors It would make sense that the University puts as much effort into the classroom it provides you as you do to the classes you “teach” in it. It is a known fact that a majority of your students will only show up in midterm and final dates and that there is no ample way to prepare for your exams besides reading your entire textbook because of a lack of syllabus or using the resources such as BBlearn or listservs that the university provides to you because students want an online interface as well as valuable information when they take a class. If you look at it a majority of the classes in the popular majors that generate money from enrollment have amazing facilities to use. I would look into the history of economics to realize that when there is a demand for something it generates money and can have nicer things.

    • safespaceforall

      You have clearly never had the pleasure of taking an upper-level history class with Dr. Zaller. If anything, he avoids textbooks and it’s necessary to attend class in order to learn. I am currently enrolled in one of his classes and every seat is full. In fact, for our midterm, we had to find another desk because there were not enough seats for those who did only choose to arrive for the midterm.

      A school that devalues an education simply because it does not suit an economic purpose should not be able to call itself a school. Liberal arts majors should have access to the same, physically safe learning spaces that business, engineering, and science majors have. This is consistently not the case here at Drexel.

    • Kim Post

      Though I can’t speak for Dr. Zaller’s classes, I will say that the best history classes I’ve taken combined academic publications (not textbooks) with excellent lectures, and that the ideal form of testing is for students to do historical writing of their own in a subject. At best, that makes BlackBoard Learn a way to submit your paper or a repository for links, tasks for which e-mail can suffice. Experiences will differ with other subjects, of course.

      As for “amazing facilities,” in my experience the facilities of say, the College of Business are mostly shiny and novel but with very little added value.

  • John Davids

    Drexel invests so much on engineering, business and biology departments/colleges that the university is willing to tear down historical academic campuses to build fancy and safe buildings only for them (e.g. PISB and GHALL). Fact of the matter is, schools like Penn State, which are cheaper and more well rounded, completely demolish Drexel in every single academic aspect.

    If Drexel has the slightest concern about the academic quality, they should invest much more time, money (stop wasting money on garbage constructions), and concern in strengthening the liberal arts focus.