Thursday, February 19, 2009


This is the latest from last semester's professor, currently on sabbatical in Australia. I received a D- on the final paper (which caused me to get an A- in the class) and I have asked for clarification. After 7 weeks, he has not clarified anything. Instead he chose to send this email:

I just received this email from Associate Dean, Professor _______ and I
think it is timely. Even though it describes undergraduates, I think it
is also relevant for MBAs. In asking for more feedback, I trust that
you will be open to very candid comments/insights which may or may not lower (he meant raise) your grade.

Cheers, ________
The article.

My response:

I'm not sure I understand how this article relates to me. Are you suggesting that my motivation for going through all of this is that I feel that I worked hard and thus deserve a higher grade than the A- that I have?

If so, sir, I find that insinuation extremely insulting. I work in an industry in which one is measured by results, not by the degree to which one puts in effort or the amount of entitlement one feels. Furthermore, in 22 years of receiving grades I have never contested one.

Even now, although this process has already taken 4 times longer than I could have imagined, I am still not yet contesting my grade. What I am doing still after seven weeks, is simply asking for an explanation of how that paper rates a D-, an explanation I have still not received.

I have zero interest in the beliefs of simpleminded students at other universities. I fully understand what it means to study in and for that matter to work in a meritocracy. Let’s keep our discussion to the issue at hand. I welcome any and all comments on the paper, and the more candid the better.


Kezza said...

Wow. I'd be pissed too. I had a similar situation during undergrad, and the prof ended up bumping the paper up a grade. Probably just so I would stop bugging her, but that was fine with me. Keep at it! And keep us posted.. I'm so intrigued now!

willowjp4 said...

That stinks! I'd demand explanation of a grade like that too. I can't believe the d-bag hasn't had the courtesy to clarify.

Erin said...

Wow, that's insulting. Good luck in attempting to receive an explanation.

I read that NYT article earlier this week and found it fascinating. And annoying. I think that mentality is a byproduct of the attitudes many boomers have used in raising children: teaching them, essentially, that they are so special and awesome that they are entitled to things, like As, that they may not deserve.

If grades were measured by the amount of work put in to receiving them, I should have had Cs throughout school. I'm glad professors are attempting to resist students' attempts to lobby for a better grade based simply on the amount of time put in.