Monthly Archives: October 2009

Students, are you professional?

I recently read “Survey: College grads unprofessional” and began thinking, I hope no one says that about our department graduates. Although I have some issues with the information presented in the short excerpt (I’m sure my issues will be cleared up once I listen to the podcast), such as methodology, research sponsor, questions asked, ecetera, it did get me thinking about what I am doing to prepare students for life after graduation.

Photo credit: Amber Rhea

Photo credit: Amber Rhea

Students complete internships, participate in various organizations, maintain a job, etc. , but do not always make the connection between now and then. This is evident through the rumblings in the hall. For example, a colleague overhead a student exiting a course say to a fellow classmate, “Man this class isn’t called ‘Public Speaking Outlining”; it’s ‘Public Speaking!’ I just don’t get why we have to do outlines at all!! They should NOT be part of our grades!” It’s statements of this nature that make me wonder if they will ever “get it.”

Although we (professors) attempt to prepare students for entry into the job force, students must desire to better themselves. It is heartbreaking to hear and see students view assignments as irrelevant. As shown through some of the comments provided in the story excerpt regarding the survey, employers are seeking graduates with good grammar, hard work ethics, professionalism, ecetera. These are not attributes that magically appear. They require consistent practice and the ability to take constructive criticism and move forward. How can you hone these skills if you are not provided the work to practice them? You don’t become an expert overnight. Therefore, I’d rather you fail an assignment in class, which is a designated place of learning, as oppose to losing a job.

I can’t recount the number of times I’ve had past graduates send me an e-mail or stop by my office when they return to campus and express their gratitude to me for pushing them to complete tasks beyond their comfort level while maintaining integrity and professionalism. Many of them admit they didn’t understand why my expectations were so high, until they were working in an office, but are nevertheless thankful. They also check-in with me every now and then to make sure that I’m not slacking on the job 🙂 These are the alumni that remind me and allow me to share their stories with current students in hopes that these students will realize that the workload is NOT a form of punishment, but a strategic decision to make them better. A degree may get you the job, but it is the traits learned/honed while obtaining the degree that dictactes whether or not you keep the job.

What are your thoughts on the survey findings? How or can this issue of unprofessionalism be combated?

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Filed under personal thoughts

Univeristy Dress Policy

Over the last few years more and more Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) have implemented a dress code policy of some kind with Morehouse College (ATL) being the latest. View the CNN clip.

Granted a dress code policy is fairly easy to implement at a private university, but what about those of us who work for public universities?
I clearly remember asking my department chair during my first week on the job if I could implement a dress policy in my classroom. Of course the answer was no, but the point was how do I get students to understand that neither I nor their classmates wish to see their pajamas, do-rags, unmentionables, or anything else that should stay in the privacy of their home.

Photo credit:Mike Benedetti

Photo credit:Mike Benedetti

I’m sure your thinking, “Well your working, you should be dressed everyday.” True, but you can be appropriately dressed in a pair of blue  jeans, and that’s my point.  Regardless of whether your university is public or private, at minimum have respect for your family. Really, do you think your parents, grandparents, or whomever else you respect would approve of you wearing pajamas to class (or Wal-Mart) after they’ve spent money on your education? Uh…..NO. Besides, your professor is NOT the only one working in the classrooms. As a student you are working as well, for recommendation letters,  as representatives of a campus organization, to increase your GPA for potential job employment, etc.

So next time  you see someone or you consider walking around in pajama pants and what have you, ask yourself “Did I just pass a future employer, misrepresent my organization, misrepresent myself, etc?”

These are just my thoughts, but I’d like to hear your comments. What are your dress expectations when you walk onto a college campus?

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Filed under classes, personal thoughts

Why students should have a Twitter account

Due to the popularity of Twitter, one would assume that EVERY student has a Twitter account right? Wrong! I come across students everyday who make comments like “Twitter is just another Facebook. Why do I need an account?” Or one of my favorites, “I’m just suppose to follow and read tweets. This is pointless.” This lead me to thinking, “Why should students have a Twitter account?”

Photo credit: 10ch

Photo credit: 10ch

Below is a list of reasons I’ve compiled to answer that question, along with reasons submitted via Twitter.

  1. Connections. This is the most obvious as Twitter is a social networking site. The idea is that you will connect with others that have the same interest as you.
  2. To Learn. Learn about the business you wish to enter. Listen to what others are saying about an organization or career path.
  3. Self-promotion. If you are good at something (i.e. strong writer, producing YouTube videos, etc.) and want to share it with others, Twitter can help with that.  Twitter is also an ideal platform to let others know if you are looking for an internship or job. However, this could be a double-edge sword, so be cautious of how you promote yourself.
  4. Research. What does the competition for the job market look like? Are there skill sets you need to acquire prior to graduation to remain current in your desired field?
  5. Brevity. You must get your meaning across in 140 characters. Twitter will force you to be concise. That’s not a bad habit.
  6. Stay current. What are the trends in your area of interest? What’s the talk around the water cooler?
  7. Access. Your new found connections come with access to a plethora of information. People are willing to help, even if that means just pointing you in the right direction.

What are some additional reasons you believe students should have a Twitter account? Why do you (or don’t you) have a Twitter account?

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Filed under public relations

Think before you drop that course

With drop/add without academic penalty around the corner, the question becomes “Should I drop this course?” Before you answer yes or no, let’s consider a few things.

  1. What’s your TRUE grade? It’s one thing to estimate your grade based on returned assignments, but an estimate is not a true account. Write down all the grades you have, along with how much each assignment was worth and determine your true grade.
  2. Attendance Policy. Where do  you stand with the class attendance policy? Does your professor deduct points after missing a certain amount of classes? Is attendance counted towards your overall grade? Also consider if there is a departmental attendance policy.
  3. Withdraw Policy. Some universities, such as Georgia Southern, dictate a maximum number of withdrawals throughout your college career. Make sure that you carefully consider the withdraw policy prior to making your decision.
  4. Course offerings. Is this a course that is offered multiple times throughout the academic year? Is a it a prerequisite for the next course in your program? Will withdrawing from this course hinder your personal graduation plan?
  5. Be proactive. No one knows better about what you need to do to successfully pass a course than the individual teaching the course. Don’t wait till the day before withdrawal to talk with your professor about your success in the course.

Withdrawing from a college course is not an issue that should be taken lightly.

I would like to hear from you. What are some additional things one should consider prior to withdrawing from a course?

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Filed under classes