Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Law Professors Do It Slower (and Later)

I was just trying to figure out if there is a better example of an elitist sense of entitlement than the propensity of law professors not to grade exams within a reasonable time. In most instances the entire grade is based on one final exam. I have yet to meet a student who was not anxious to find out the result of four months of effort. So, each professor has 25 to 200 students waiting. . . and waiting. And what are they waiting on? It’s easy. There are waiting on their professors simply to do their jobs. I am not saying they are asking for anything extraordinary. They are not asking their professors to toil away throughout the holiday. No, they have a simple request. Could you maybe, just maybe, do what you are paid to do? The answer is they cannot. When I was a student there was no formal deadline and I recall getting first semester grades in mid January or later. Now I work where there is a very liberal but formal deadline but it is routinely ignored without consequence. And I mean totally without consequence.

I wonder how many law professors who cannot grade papers in a timely way are the very same professors who claim to be responsive and "student friendly." Do they care as much when the effort requires is more than talk? Nice question, but I must admit I have no idea if there is a correlation between those who make a show of caring for students and those who do care. My hunch is that late graders do care about some things. I doubt a message to call the Harvard Law Review about a submitted article would be ignored. The same goes for a call from any appointments committee chair at any higher ranked school.

What is the thought process when a law professor looks at a stack of papers, knows of the deadline and about anxious students, but is not moved to grade. I guess when you get down to it, late grading is a sign of arrogance. What else?

1 comment:

Danielle said...

Thank you for that Professor Harrison. I appreciate it particularly at the moment because our grades have been posted and yet we are unable to check them because the page is "unavailable" and the University has closed us out of the computer system. It was great to have you as a Professor last semester, I appreciate how much you cared that we really learned in your class. Thanks again for loaning me your book.