Grrrrr: Incompetence

I’m just venting.

Don’t you hate it when people don’t do their jobs, don’t return phone calls, don’t follow through on things they say they will follow through on? ESPECIALLY when they kind of have some level of control over your life?

My fifth daughter has been battling the college Advisor from Lalaland over stuff like this. Pip is getting an AA in library science. The college switched program content requirements for the library science field mid-stream.  This should not have mattered to my daughter because those already in the older program could be grandfathered in.   However, somehow, her Advisor managed to sandwich her between programs so while my child thought she was still doing the old program as discussed with the Advisor from Lalaland,  said Advisor with paper shreds for brains actually had her taking some classes for the new one, some for the old one (and some, I think, that weren’t quite the right match for either one) so that in the process, my poor girl wasn’t actually fulfilling requirements for any existing program. She could have completed her AA by this December if Lalaland knew what she was doing. As it was, we were at least grateful that Pip found out her Advisor’s error (and she found it, the Advisor did not) *before* she would have expected to complete the program so she had time to fix it. It did injure her motivation somewhat, as she has struggled to complete the assignments in the class she hates the most since she found out she doesn’t need it for either program and it’s not really teaching her anything she doesn’t already know anyway, so every exercise is akin to forcing a a calculus student to do fifty problems of basic long division. It’s not that she can’t do it, it’s that it’s a tedious waste of time.

So, how was it that the student discovered the error the Advisor had created? The student was trying to get into a course, and it wasn’t going well (mainly because the Advisor wasn’t following through), and so my girl emailed Dr. Person In Charge Of All Things Library Science for the state, who is able to give special permission to students to enroll in certain courses, to ask about it. And that professional person actually looked at my daughters college course records and wrote her back to tell her that it appeared she wasn’t eligible for the class she wanted to take because she wasn’t taking courses consistent with *either* program. My daughter explained what she had been told by her Advisor, and Dr. Person In Charge Of All Things Library Science for the state actually looked over the course-load, program requirements,  and the curriculum offerings and explained to her what she needed to do to fix it. So she took the letter to her Advisor and adjusted what she could and the Advisor put her back in the correct program, and supposedly she was back on track.

Now all she needs is a single practicum course. She had wanted to take it this current term, but couldn’t because her Advisor’s error meant she was lacking prerequisites. So, naturally, this course isn’t typically offered this coming semester. In other words, she’s done, except for one course she can’t take until summer. But she will be a new bride this summer and she did not want to be a college student during that time (the practicum will likely require that she commute a good distance, too).

However, weeks ago the A. told her she would talk to that same Dr. Person In Charge Of All Things Library Science for the state to see about making a special plan for my child, since it was the A’s fault. The Advisor from Lalaland said she would call my daughter back the very next day to let her know how that discussion went.   It surprises nobody here that there was no return phone call. My daughter has called her Advisor and left multiple messages, and has never heard anything back. The Advisor’s secretary finally told her to email the A. because she would get a better response that way, so she did. In the email she succintly introduced herself as the student whose courseload had somehow been switched to a hybrid animal that completed no requirements for graduation at all, but with Dr. Person In Charge Of All Things Library Science for the state’s help, had been put back on track, that now she only needed her practicum, and she also reminded her A that they had met in person 3 weeks ago, and at that meeting the Advisor had promised to talk to Dr. Person In Charge Of All Things Library Science for the state to make special arrangements for my daughter and had promised a return phone call 3 weeks ago, and had yet to return any phone calls at all.

Yesterday my child finally heard back from her Advisor. She merely got an email which just reiterated all the generic catalog information about the practicum she needs not being available til summer, too bad, have a nice holiday.  Lalaland either doesn’t remember who my child is, or she just wishes my child to be quiet and go away.

So….. at long last (I have been pleading with her to voice some complaints somewhere), my daughter wrote once more to Dr. Person In Charge Of All Things Library Science for the state. She apologized for bothering her, and included all the above information.

Dr. Person In Charge Of All Things Library Science for the state emailed back the next day. She is going to see what she can do to help work this out, although at this late date, not even she can promise to fix it. However, she did give my girl some advice on what she can do in the meantime that might be helpful, AND Dr. Person In Charge Of All Things Library Science for the state also says tersely she will be speaking to the Advisor and the college administration about what’s been going on as well.

I hope it’s not terribly unChristlike of me to say that I hope she speaks sharply,  poniards, in fact, so that every word stabs and stabs hard, particularly to the point of motivating somebody, somewhere, to get their ducks in a row so that other students do not have somebody who doesn’t know what they are doing (and seems not to care) freely making ducks and drakes of their very expensive college education.

In our case, it’s frustrating enough and the program is technically free to us (except for time, gas and head-aches) because of that middle class welfare program, college grants, and because in our state children of disabled vets go to state schools for free. I hate to think what this Advisor might be doing to students who have to pay for their unnecessary classes with loans and their parents’ 2nd mortgages.

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  1. Fatcat
    Posted December 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    When I was in college many moons ago, my adviser who was also one of my professors, graded my practicum. At our last meeting, she said she could not find that I had made 1 single error, however, no one was perfect, so she was giving me a B for mistakes she was sure I had made.

    I hadn’t.


    I’m feeling your frustration, although I think ya’lls is worse because I did get to graduate on time, albeit with a lower grade than I had earned.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted December 5, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I had the opposite experience. My practicum was essentially a notebook of material I collected, organized, and tied together with lots of painstaking notes and articles I wrote. It sounds simple enough, but I had put an incredible amount of time and effort into it. My teacher flipped through the notebook by fanning the pages- he couldn’t have read a single thing, said it looked good, and gave me an A.

      I had him for the second level of my practicum the next semester. I’d learned my lesson. I did nothing until the end of the term when I dusted off the same notebook, turned it in as it was, and received another A.

  2. HeatherHH
    Posted December 5, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    This adviser sounds really, really bad. But, unfortunately my husband and I both found that most advisers at our large state university were not really that helpful, because of time constraints, limited awareness of general college-wide liberal arts requirements, difficulty knowing/remembering individual students’ situations, etc. We both read our course catalog, looked at current and past course offerings, planned out our own rough long-term plan, as well as our plan of courses for the next semester, and took it in to be rubber-stamped.

    Should an adviser be good at advising? Yes. Should a teacher in a college/university classroom be good at teaching? Yes. Unfortunately hires at big universities often have more to do with ability to bring in research money than with teaching, and once you’re on staff, you’re going to be assigned students to advise.

    • HeatherHH
      Posted December 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Oh, and is there any recourse to change adviser? Or to officially file a complaint with a department head?

      • Headmistress, zookeeper
        Posted December 5, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        She can’t change advisors, but the person at the state level is talking to the dep’t head about what’s been going on.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted December 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      It’s a small community college, so the workload is not what you’re imagining. And since the requirements for the state program were changed mid-stream, and the Advisor wouldn’t rubber stamp things, and is handing out bad information like ‘under the new program, you need this class, and you shouldn’t take that one,’ I’m not sure your approach would have prevented the mess.

  3. Elizabeth
    Posted December 6, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I was waiting to get into my schools nursing program. I had to take some prerequisites but I figured I’d take classes I needed for both my associates and my bachelors in nursing. I wasn’t yet in the program and so through general advisors I was told I had to take language classes and a few other classes (as they were general rrequirements). I was weeks into my second Spanish class before I spoke with a nursing advisor and was informed that the general advisors were not able to help nursing students as the program is so different. I lost several hundred dollars and learned nothing helpful. I was 19. I learned to question everything from then on. It was a life lesson of sorts.

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