May 12, 2003

Another Semester Down

Well Sping semester and finals are done with at last. It wasn't too bad of a semester between the internship and half semester course. Sadly though today I started an interim class and am registered for summer classes as well. Some time off would really be nice but I'll pass in the interest of getting done sooner.

In other school related news I have to make it clear how much I would strongly recommend against going to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale to anyone. My experience as a whole has been nothing but negative in my time here. When I started in the computer science department I had poor counselors and a pathetic set of teachers outside of Bob McGlinn. I took some time off thinking I was the problem since I might be burnt out. In retrospect yes I probably needed to slow down a little bit but I think the school was at more fault than I was. I eventually rejoined the college as an Information Systems Technologies.

Wow, once again I was completely floored by the total lack of caring the staff has shown outisde a select few instructors. I figured it would be bad when the only advisor for the department had cancelled the first two meetings I had with her. The first time there wasn't even the courtesy to call the prior day, she left a message on my answering machine that morning which I of course didn't get a note taped to her door. At least the 2nd trip she called the day before. On the third trip though she wasn't there again and left a note to see the department chair. My counselor had already made a schedule and left it with her for me. I'm so glad my input is valued. Of course as I tried to correct it to fit my schedule I emailed her and the emails were ignored for weeks before I called multiple times to pin her down.

This wouldn't be a big deal but we can't register by phone or online which I find somewhat comical anyway. The school no longer sends report cards to save money and says we can print them online, why can't we make another step into this century and allow people to register online too? I have just gotten off the phone with this counselor who told me I can't register for a web based course in my major because I'm not registered as a distance learning student and it would be too much work to track students between them. I just don't see how it makes sense to restict students from taking classes that would work better for them, especially in such a small major as mine. I tried to protest the point but as usual got nowhere. I guess I should be grateful for a piece of the 3 hours a day slice she has allocated as office hours.

I should give a special thanks to Dr. Gonzenbach who despite not having even had me in a class yet allowed me to circumvent my counselors judgement on allowing me to do my internship this last semester. My counselor, without knowing anything about my skills, where I work, what I've done, etc completely refused me the opportunity to do my internship saying I needed more classes first. She said the only way around it was to talk to the internship coordinator, which I did. Dr. Gonzenbach listened to what my experience was and what I planned to do and agreed to let me do it. Thankfully at least one preson on the IST staff feels as though they can spare some time to work with a student.

In short at SIU, I've felt very much like students aren't the primary concern of anyone, but more of a nuissance. I've seen nothing but tuition hikes while the university hires non-tenure instructors to save a buck. While I manage to get a printed statement all the time, the financial aid office hasn't responded to an email I sent them three weeks ago. I've had classes where the instructor hated being there as much as the students. I've also had classes where the instructor wasn't even close to being qualified to teach the class. At least a majority of people in my major felt they were signing up for something that would be different than what they have gotten, yet our opinions are never solicited.

We're treated like a source of money that they deserved, but don't respect. I truly feel that outside of a few instructors that I've had that this school is run far more like a corrupt business with continually inflating administrative overhead costs than it is like a learning institution. I know the two do overlap to a degree in any school but I think it goes to an extreme here. If you want a quality education and a positive learning experience, I think there are plenty of other schools to look out. Once it could have been said that at least the school was cheap, but thats quickly changing even.

And now to call the financial aid office to see how I can pay my tuition at this poor institution.

Posted by johnm at May 12, 2003 02:47 PM
Post a comment