Caring with excellence? Students want to see change


As students make their way to classes for the first time on Florida A&M’s campus, they are overwhelmed and bursting with excitement at the thought of a new journey. There are new activities, students and professors to meet.

But not soon after, there is talk among the students about certain professors. They question whether they have any regard for the students and if their tuition money is being used appropriately.

I don’t feel as if students receive the caring FAMU claims to offer. I personally feel that the care is individualized. There are a handful of professors who will make and take the time to work with you and show an interest in a student’s academic career.

Some professors don’t seem to care about their profession at all. The problem with the lack of care is that I think things have become routine and mediocre. It clearly shows up in their teachings. I’ve heard some say, “This is just a job.”

This is where my money is going?

“I was even told by one professor on the first day of class that we were all going to fail the class and to just drop it right then,” said Michael Johnson, a pre-pharmacy student from Miami.

To me, that example does not show “Excellence with caring.”

For example, during the spring semester of my junior year, my anatomy and physiology lab professor would show up late to class most days but wanted to extend class to make up for the lost time.

It may seem as if the professor was concerned with whether we got the information, but he just seemed callous. There was no concern for the students’ scheduled appointments, including classes or extracurricular activities.

That’s poor management on the teacher’s part, which then leads to students not receiving the lesson they paid for.

 That was one of many moments that struck me as implausible. Here is this professor, who, if the roles were reversed, would have had something to say if I mosey in thirty minutes late to class.

“Getting a well-rounded education is very important,” said Jerica Lodge, a fourth-year cardiopulmonary science student from Jacksonville, Fla. “Without the support missing from the faculty and staff at this university, students feel like they are alone sometimes.”

I continue to meet students who have had the displeasure of repeating courses, which could have simply been avoided if there were professors of higher caliber. Most times these are decent people, just terrible teachers. They lack the ability to convey the key points, thereby having a higher student fail rate than pass.

“Many of the teachers I had were not efficient at translating information,” Johnson said.

To turn it around, FAMU is going to have to do more than strive for excellence. The university must demand it, not only from the professors but from those at the top. This is not something that is magically going to get better overnight. This is a work in progress, and I can only hope that the change is soon.