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Message to admin: please care

by Archives January 23, 2002

Lately, I have noticed that there are more and more people are becoming disgruntled and frustrated with the university administration and its policies. We are surrounded by a university administration that obviously does not know how to deal with its prime customers, the students.
The administration is simply out of the reach of students in general. An “out of sight out of mind” attitude can work, but it will be challenged when something goes wrong.
Every day at this university, students must deal with the hassles of being a student. For most, that includes work, studying, going to classes, and yet more studying. Not all classroom experiences go smoothly, so when a student tries to get help for a problem with classes, the last thing they want is to add another headache to their day.
The policy is when you have a problem, you must go see your academic advisor. In my experience, that has been all but an enjoyable one. All I needed was to ask a question that would take 1.5 minutes of the advisor’s time. Consistently the answer that I got was “Sorry, he does not take phone calls from students, you need an appointment,” or “He is unavailable.” By the way, for good measure, the appointments were three weeks from the date I phoned.
To make things worse, the fact that I could not get some immediate attention could have jeopardized my grades and my future education. When things such as this happen, it sends a clear message to students that the administration does not care about us.
This is unacceptable.
This same attitude is carried out elsewhere throughout the university. Policy-making is geared at making administration easier, but increasing the processes and steps that students have to go through.
For instance, the complaints system at Concordia is horrible. Let’s start with the obvious way to express ourselves: the course evaluation. After all the money we spend at Concordia, there are still full-time professors who are cocky enough to get in front of a classroom and announce: “It doesn’t matter what you write on the evaluation. I can’t get fired. What a waste of time this is.” With attitudes like this, no wonder some students are frustrated.
Furthermore, the fact that this university will not release the names of any of its professors in the course calendar is another clear sign that the administration could not care less about what the students want. If there was no TBA designation in the calendar, some courses and course sections would be filled to capacity and overcrowded while in others, firing a cannonball into the classroom would likely not hit anybody. Fully listing professors in the schedules would be an alternative (or even a complement) to the course evaluation as a device for students to express themselves.
Just as the educational system and programs are geared towards students, so too should the way in which complaints and concerns are being handled. We shouldn’t only get real education, but also real services for the real world.

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