So to follow up on the post about the trouble the international class is having.
After carefully editing and proofing my suggestions through the Jed-filter, I sent off an email to my instructors, with 5 or 6 suggestions about how to improve the quality of work. Very simple things like: arrange lectures throughout the year.... hold a short seminar on how to detail at 1:1.... make a schedule and follow it.... facilitate between our other classes.... be proactive to find out why certain people continually struggle...
They wanted to meet with me to discuss 'my concerns' (ahem, shouldn't that be... 'their' concerns?)
The result was confusing. I sensed an overall rejection of every single one of my suggestions. They told me that they took this 'seriously', but what does that mean? Does it mean, for example:
"We will carefully look over and think about each of these suggestions, and try to think objectively how it could fit into the method of instruction here, and we will consult with the director and try as hard as possible to address the problems that your suggestions indicate."
Or does it mean:
"We feel personally insulted that you had the balls to question our teaching method here, and take it very seriously that you felt empowered enough to even bring this up. We are looking at putting you on academic probation."
My feeling was more the latter.
It's not that I don't recognize how hard it is to be an instructor at my institution. I realise there are probably proverbial buttloads of bureaucracy to wade through on a daily basis, and I've seen that the classes are not organized in conjunction with each other so there is always some kind of scheduling nightmare going on.
On the other hand, telling me that they couldn't figure out who was in year 4 or year 5 masters because the school never gave them a list... sounds to me like avoidance and excuses. There is a board just outside the secretary's office with our photos and names and what year we are in. Telling me that no one ever gave them the schedule for our classes also seems off, since I offered with both our external courses to provide the schedule.
Honestly I don't think I was suggesting a huge ideological shift or anything. I just said that the international class needs dedicated instructors who can put the time in to arrange and facilitate things for us, especially at the beginning when there is already so much to take on. But I got 'the wall' from both instructors, and now I see the case as hopeless.
The one action they agreed on was to inform students from the very beginning that the program was completely independent and self-run, that the projects were completely open and limitless and therefore ambiguous in scope; and that the instructors would basically be there as casual guides. And if you wanted lectures or help or wanted to learn something, you should consult anyone except them, and only as a last resort.
I told them point blank that they can choose to run the program any way they like, but that if it goes on like this, there won't be an international masters in a few years. They looked doubtful and unconcerned. I guess they didn't realise that there's not a student alive who would choose such a program if honestly presented with the scenario above.
Oh well. I tried.