January 22, 2003
college teacher get passing grade in Integrity 101?
Question: (A-002) As a part-time, single, female,
college student with a full-time job, pursuing a bachelors
degree in computer science, every class and every dollar
are important to me.
the Fall Semester of 2002, while completing the second
of a three-session math class, at a local community college,
an instructor created an economic hardship for me and
many other students.
first instructor required that we purchase a new calculus
textbook that he promised would be utilized for all three
semesters of the math class. The cost was $200. Early
in the second session, a different instructor decided
to change the textbook. She required that we purchase
yet another new textbook, with the same price-tag of $200.
Following the new instructors directive, along with
fellow students, I returned the first text to the college
bookstore and learned that it was only worth (as a used
textbook) $15. So, believing the book to be worth more
to me in my own library, I kept it. For me to earn $400
dollars requires a lot of hard work. Obviously, heavy,
unplanned and possibly unnecessary expenditures create
hardships. However, difficult as earning and spending
the money was, that is not my biggest concern.
question is this: did the instructor act with integrity
in changing the rules about the requirements
for her class?
Response: It doesnt sound like it. Creating
unnecessary economic hardships, with the arbitrary changing
of textbook requirements, demonstrates a lack of integrity.
At minimum, to change textbooks without a substantial
and reasonable explanation is insensitive.
can design classes, select textbooks, and execute their
teaching responsibilities as they choose within the legal
guidelines and operational procedures that pertain to
their respective institutions. In one way or another,
that is what is implied by academic freedom.
exists a possibility that the second instructor acted
sincerely out of a desire to replace a textbook that would
truly not meet the needs of the students. The instructor
may have replaced it with one which would better facilitate
the learning experience. If so, such an explanation should
have been given to you. As your question is written, however,
it does sound like a change made merely to suit the convenience
of the second instructor. Leaders, and instructors who
act with integrity, do not behave in that manner.
behaviors are not illegal. They do exhibit the lack of
a substantive teacher-student relationship.
While not present in your classroom during and after the
textbook change, it would not surprise me if that instructor
had lost most of the positive energy that can be so healthy
and productive in the classroom.
will determine how best to communicate this instructors
behavior to appropriate academic authorities.