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Opening at East Central College

East Central College (ECC) in Union, Missouri, is
seeking a full-time physical science/pre-engineering
instructor beginning Fall 2004. Anyone thinking of
applying for this position is warned to think again.

Where to begin...

1. You will be required to teach utterly unqualified
students, and the college administration could care

In one course, it soon became apparent that the
students did not know how to solve the simplest
algebraic equation, I surveyed the students and found
that only two of twelve had completed Intermediate
Algebra, the course prerequisite listed in the school
catalog. One had only completed "Algebra II in high
school." When I asked the students why their advisor
did not check their prerequisites, they told me the
advisor said, "There are no prerequisites. The course
will be easy."

In a vo-tech physics class I asked a student to solve
the equation v=at for t. The student replied, "How do
I do that." The student told me he had not taken a
math class for TEN YEARS. When I informed my
department head of these and several similar problems,
I was told "We can't drop them all. Do the best your
can." Can't let academic integrity get in the way of a
tuition check.

2. I taught a physical science course. I quickly
discovered that 90% of the students are elementary
education majors. I also learned that previous
instructors of this course had taught it as a "how to
teach science to kids" course and that the education
faculty was telling the students, "It's an easy
class." I asked the dean about this and was told,
"It's a physical science course. Teach it as a
physical science course." But as soon as the students
learned that they would be expected to learn science,
they complained to the dean. The dean told me the
students were unhappy, because the class was too hard
and "I need to make the students happy."

3. ECC students have learned that if they don't like
the grade you give them, all they have to do is
complain to the dean. More than once grades for my
students have been changed by the dean without even
speaking to me first.

One student failed my course in the spring. Two months
after the semester ended, the student asked the dean
to change it to a "no grade." The dean "asked" me to
change the grade. I explained that the student
received the grade he earned. The dean "asked" me
again to change the grade. This went back and forth
for a couple of weeks; each time the dean became more
insistent. Finally, the department head called me and
yelled at me to change the grade. Fearing for my job,
I signed the grade change form, though I noted on the
form that I only did so "as directed by the dean."

4. The dean has also excused students from attending
my classes without asking me first. I usually have a
very strict attendance policy. The first semester at
ECC I explained my policy to both my department head
and the dean and asked whether this strict policy was
okay. I was told that it was and that "you set the
policy in your classes." What I didn't know is that
this meant it was okay only if it wasn't enforced and
if a student didn't complain. The first time a student
ran afoul of the attendance policy, the dean called me
in and told me to let the student off.

5. Even the engineering students are woefully lacking
in basic math, learning, and ethical skills. At the
beginning of the semester in an electric circuits
course, I asked the students to solve without a
calculator a 2x2 and a 3x3 system of equations
(integer coefficients). After half an hour, NOBODY was
able to solve both problems. Only two gave solutions
(though an incorrect ones) to the 3x3 system, and
three could not even correctly solve the 2x2 system
(they didn't even bother to check their solutions by

The engineering students do not take timed tests.
Exams are administered in the "Testing Center" and no
time limits are enforced. Students learn there is no
need to be well-prepared or to work quickly and

You will have no opportunity before these students
come to your class to teach them effective math and
test-taking skills. Circuits is a terminal course at
ECC, and you won't be teaching any other
pre-engineering courses, so, for the 2-3 years before
these students come to you, the students learn such
skills are not necessary to getting a good grade.

In a C++ programming class I caught six of thirteen
students cheating on the first out-of-class
programming project. They weren't even smart enough
to change the variable names or even the comments.

6. 80% of your teaching load will be in courses at the
very lowest level. You will teach only one advanced
course in the fall semester and one in the spring. The
rest of your time will be filled with pre-college
math, vo-tech science, and physical science (for
elementary ed majors). ECC has a strict seniority
system when teaching assignments are made. Since all
other advanced math, physics, and pre-engineering are
already taught by current faculty, you are shut out
(permanently?) from teaching these courses. Calculus
III, Engineering Physics, and Engineering Mechanics
are taught by the same person, so the students suffer
from severe inbreeding which accounts, in part, for
the skills problem mentioned above.

7. Health insurance premiums went up about 25% from
last year. Count on the premiums for family coverage
taking about 1/3 of your gross salary.

You have been warned.

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