Professor goes on strike

Julie Knapp

Going on strike is a common term used by labor unions to say they aren’t going to work anymore until their needs have been meant.

Going on “strike” was what Loran Smith, professor of political science, told his Intro to State and Local Government class he was going to do Wednesday morning. He said he used the terminology to get their attention.

Smith announced to the students he was tired of just lecturing, not receiving any participation, and the students just regurgitating everything he’s said in lecture on their test.

“That’s not what education is about,” said Smith. “It’s about active learning, and the teacher is suppose to facilitate that.”

Smith will not be lecturing until early November when the class begins their section on local government. He will go to class when he is invited to join their discussion on various issues.

Laura Higbee, a senior history major and a student in the class, said approximately 25 students out of 47 did show up Friday morning, and they invited Smith to have a discussion on interest groups.

At first, Higbee said she was “hacked off” at the situation, but after she went and talked with Smith, she realized why he was doing it. She said the class was definitely different, but that it went a lot better on Friday.

“If you want to get a good grade now, you have to take ownership for your work,” said Higbee.

Smith said he was happy about Friday’s discussion, because people talked that have never talked in class before. The course is now essentially a Web course, because all of the notes are already online. Smith said he also sent out an e-mail highlighting main points from their discussion Friday morning.

While some students have agreed with Smith, many others have filed complaints to the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the chair of the political science department.

Smith said students filing complaints only supports his argument.

“That proves my case because they are so conditioned by a teacher just standing up and lecturing,” said Smith.

Many students have also gone to him and asked if he was specifically mad at them. He said that he was not mad at the student, but rather an attitude.

“The students are a victim of the attitude,” said Smith. “I’m sure if you asked other faculty members, they are upset with the attitude too.”