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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Meeting with Marie Laveau
    Quote Originally Posted by MCFinARL View Post
    Okay, but that doesn't necessarily mean that anything shady is going on--someone could just be encouraging basketball players to take Swahili because it's an easy class for everyone at UNC.

    When my daughter was at Duke, she took beginning Italian, because she wanted to study abroad in Italy. The class was completely legit, but Italian turns out to be a fairly easy language to learn, compared to languages like French or German. About half the members of her small section (15 or 20 students, IIRC) were athletes (not basketball players, as it happens). It's possible, of course, that many Duke athletes have always wanted to learn Italian; it's also possible that athletes may choose certain courses (or be encouraged to choose certain courses) because they will demand less time than others, because they meet at times that don't conflict with practice, and because if several members of a team are taking the same course they can study together for more efficiency.

    This may chafe a bit against our most idealized notions about the student-athlete, but I don't think there is anything remotely wrong with it, and there are plenty of non-athletes who choose classes (especially ones they are taking to fill requirements) because they are easy.
    When it comes to course selection, word of mouth intelligence from others seems to influence students regarding which courses to take or even which sections to seek out. I've observed such patterns not only among athletes, but also among fraternities.

    It was "common knowledge" years ago during my undergraduate days that a certain poli sci prof was supposed to be easy. There were many athletes in his classes.... but there weren't many A's and B's turned out to take some real work. Sometimes classes and/or professors turn out to be rather different than the myth on campus.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Greenville, SC
    Quote Originally Posted by arnie is still king View Post
    UNC is between a rock and hard place on this one. Its apparent that signficant fraud has occurred within the Afro-American Studies Department and heads should roll in addition to the "retirement" of the previous department head. However, to critize anyone else in the department or publicly address the issues, would be politically incorrect. I'm sure they hope the issue will simply go away and no action needs be taken. Somehow, I don't think avid State fans will let that happen.
    Though I seldom visit other fan sites I took a look over at Pack Pride and it looks they will be chasing after this like an avid dog. "Avid" isn't quite the adjective though. Many State still hold a grudge from back in the Valvano days.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Quote Originally Posted by Devil in the Blue Dress View Post
    When it comes to course selection, word of mouth intelligence from others seems to influence students regarding which courses to take or even which sections to seek out. I've observed such patterns not only among athletes, but also among fraternities.

    It was "common knowledge" years ago during my undergraduate days that a certain poli sci prof was supposed to be easy. There were many athletes in his classes.... but there weren't many A's and B's turned out to take some real work. Sometimes classes and/or professors turn out to be rather different than the myth on campus.
    Yes, I had such an experience myself meeting a lab science requirement with astronomy--turned out I actually had to do not only the Saturday morning labs but homework observations at night, as well as actually learn a lot about astronomy. Should have taken geology, I guess...

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Meeting with Marie Laveau
    Quote Originally Posted by MCFinARL View Post
    Yes, I had such an experience myself meeting a lab science requirement with astronomy--turned out I actually had to do not only the Saturday morning labs but homework observations at night, as well as actually learn a lot about astronomy. Should have taken geology, I guess...
    I'm happy to say that the professor became a friend for life and his class is one I actually remember much about even today. Others who took his courses have said the same thing. It would be easy to look at the high count of athletes each semester and conclude that this was a course designed for jocks to stay eligible. All is not as it appears!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Correct side of the Durham/CH border
    Intro to Jazz with Paul Jeffrey. Everyone took that course for an easy A. There were a handful of athletes who dutifully sat in the back row of Baldwin earning their grade when I took the course... which I totally did because I wanted to learn about jazz.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Rosenrosen View Post
    Intro to Jazz with Paul Jeffrey. Everyone took that course for an easy A. There were a handful of athletes who dutifully sat in the back row of Baldwin earning their grade when I took the course... which I totally did because I wanted to learn about jazz.
    I took a Jazz Improv class with Paul Jeffrey where you had to play your instrument. Not an easy class to meet his standards.
    "What, me worry?" -- Roy Williams

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    I took a Jazz Improv class with Paul Jeffrey where you had to play your instrument. Not an easy class to meet his standards.
    A lot of professors turn out to be completely different people depending on whether or not you take their intro classes or their higher level courses. I had one philosophy prof in particular who was known as an easy A, but when I took a grad-level course with him, it turned out to be a slaughterfest. Toughest B+ I ever earned.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Quote Originally Posted by Jderf View Post
    A lot of professors turn out to be completely different people depending on whether or not you take their intro classes or their higher level courses. I had one philosophy prof in particular who was known as an easy A, but when I took a grad-level course with him, it turned out to be a slaughterfest. Toughest B+ I ever earned.
    That's a really good point. A lot of profs probably don't take the intro courses all that seriously and don't have very high expectations for student performance. But in an upper level class, they are more engaged, have higher expectations, and may see their role as enforcing the standards of their profession, rather than imparting a dollop of general information about the field to undergrads who will need no more.

  9. #29
    Well when I was attending Swahili at Duke everyone thought it was the easiest class ever and it was full of athletes, but let me tell you that Swahili is not an easy language and that the professor took it very seriously. That was the hardest A+ of all the A+ grades I recieved.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Greenville, SC
    The academic fraud news has made it past the borders of NC. There is a blurb on it from Inside Higher Ed.

    A link

  11. #31
    "On Monday, Tom Ross, the UNC system president, said in a statement that he saw no need to look further into the academic improprieties.

    I believe that this was an isolated situation and that the campus has taken appropriate steps to correct problems and put additional safeguards in place, Ross said."

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by Slackerb View Post
    "On Monday, Tom Ross, the UNC system president, said in a statement that he saw no need to look further into the academic improprieties.

    I believe that this was an isolated situation and that the campus has taken appropriate steps to correct problems and put additional safeguards in place, Ross said."
    "Nothing to see here . . . just keep moving . . . ."
    "What, me worry?" -- Roy Williams

  13. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Slackerb View Post
    "On Monday, Tom Ross, the UNC system president, said in a statement that he saw no need to look further into the academic improprieties.

    I believe that this was an isolated situation and that the campus has taken appropriate steps to correct problems and put additional safeguards in place, Ross said."
    I hope this is the case and that the issue goes no deeper. But I am still suspicious. Whenever, I see athletes involved in academic fraud, I can't help but wonder how deeply the athletic department was involved. If an athletic department is willing to accept cheating to keep an athlete qualified, chances are pretty good that there was also some cheating in recruiting the athlete.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Hope this doesn't include the B-Ball team. One of the great things about the Duke-Carolina rivalry has always been that both programs were
    (relatively speaking) paragons of academic virtue. Much as I detested Deano, he always made sure that his players graduated (if they intended
    to), and that they really did their school work. Same for Duke, obviously. If Carolina were caught cheating, it would sure take away a lot of the
    shine on the rivalry.

  15. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by hq2 View Post
    If Carolina were caught cheating, it would sure take away a lot of the
    shine on the rivalry.
    Carolina HAS BEEN caught cheating.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    I suspect that if there were a number of Duke basketball players caught up in an academic "issue" there would be very few Carolina fans who would feel bad about that.

    So I guess I'm just reciprocating in advance.
    "What, me worry?" -- Roy Williams

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Quote Originally Posted by JimBD View Post
    I hope this is the case and that the issue goes no deeper. But I am still suspicious. Whenever, I see athletes involved in academic fraud, I can't help but wonder how deeply the athletic department was involved. If an athletic department is willing to accept cheating to keep an athlete qualified, chances are pretty good that there was also some cheating in recruiting the athlete.
    The fact that they let the department chair retire with pension certainly makes me suspicious that they knew about it, or they know there's more to find.

  18. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Slackerb View Post
    "On Monday, Tom Ross, the UNC system president, said in a statement that he saw no need to look further into the academic improprieties.

    “I believe that this was an isolated situation and that the campus has taken appropriate steps to correct problems and put additional safeguards in place,” Ross said."
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    "Nothing to see here . . . just keep moving . . . ."
    Thanks to Slackerb for the quotation. Here's a link to Raleigh News & Observer story: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/...l-players.html

    As to OldPhiKap's point, I'm of 2 minds. Ross didn't "say" much of anything, so in that sense there's nothing to see here. But in so doing he may have said quite a bit. For me, the key words, because so vague, in Ross's statement are "situation," "the campus," and "additional safeguards."

    "Situation" is imprecise enough to obscure the fundamental academic issues at the heart of the scandal.

    Not clear who constitutes "the campus," a lovely misdirection word. I'm still waiting for some comment from the faculty, who, at least internally, presumably had something to say about academic fraud perpetrated by one of their own, against others of their own. Not only did a faculty member subvert the academic integrity of the institution, but he did so by subverting the academic/professional judgment of several colleagues.

    The adjective "additional" is a nice - i.e., "nice" - touch, too, as it implies, incorrectly in the event, that some safeguards against professorial fraud of this particular sort were actually in place.

    I don't care whether the UNC basketball team is touched by this. Actually, I hope not, though I guess I wouldn't be heartbroken. I'm more interested in the impact of this scandal on the reputation of a great university, which, IMO, isn't best served by Ross's attempt to stop well short of a real explanation.

    It's now a commonplace that "It's the coverup, not the crime......" I guess I might be convinced that Ross isn't, literally, covering up. But he does seem intent on making the scandal go away without a full accounting. That seems close to a distinction without a difference.

    I don't "blame" Ross for hoping that this goes away with no further inquiry. I'm skeptical that his muddy statement - nothing to see here, indeed - serves the long-term interests of the university. But maybe the partial and half-truths in his statement will suffice for the several more directly interested constituencies.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Greenville, SC
    I believe that this was an isolated situation and that the campus has taken appropriate steps to correct problems and put additional safeguards in place, Ross said."

    The big weasel word in the sentence for me is "believe." You can believe anything you want with or without proof. If he had said that he had "verified" that it was an isolated situation then I might believe he had really investigated.

  20. #40

    easy profs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Devil in the Blue Dress View Post
    It was "common knowledge" years ago during my undergraduate days that a certain poli sci prof was supposed to be easy. There were many athletes in his classes.... but there weren't many A's and B's turned out to take some real work. Sometimes classes and/or professors turn out to be rather different than the myth on campus.
    Just curious ... would the poly sci prof you're talking about be nicknamed "Suitcase"?

    When I was at Duke we had Theodore Ropp in the History Department. He was a world renowned military historian, who taught an undergrad course in the subject that was fondly known as "Guns and Boats" -- it was packed with athletes. It was regarded as an easy B, basically because Ropp had such contempt for the undergradate student that he was impresed by the slightest show of intelligence. But he was an interesting teacher -- his account of the Italian Navy's experiment with heavy, muzzle-loading rifled cannon had his class rolling on the floor in laughter.

    I signed up for a higher level course that was supposed to be taught by Ropp. Instead, he was on sabbatical and his course was taught by a visiting professor at UNC. The first day of the class, he told us how overrated Duke students were and warned us that he was going to make us work. He told us he would be the toughest grader we ever saw. I thought about dropping the class, but I was (and still am) very interested in the subject, so I stuck it out. It was one of the easiest classes I had at Duke, even easier than my first class with Ropp.

    I know it's not fair, but ever since, my view of UNC academics was shaped by this UNC prof who thought he was the toughest teacher we'd ever see ... and was instead the easiest.

    PS I later had a grad-level seminar with Professor Ropp and had to work my butt off to get a B. He was a totally different prof at the grad level and when he taught his introductory undergrad course. Brilliant historian -- even if Guns and Boats was a snap course.

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