Survey attempt suggests curriculum reform a taboo subject for faculty discussion

Our very own, highly respected, commentator on campus life and affairs

Our very own, highly respected, commentator on campus life and affairs

Maude Pritchett, Crier Staff

My, my, it seems the Crier kids are stirring up quite a tizzy among the faculty lately.

Who knew that sending out a survey could create such a fuss? Oh boy, did it ever.

Crier students sent out a survey to faculty only asking them questions concerning the new curriculum proposal, and the process by which the curriculum proposal has been achieved. Some of the questions included the department they worked in and how long they have been at Saint Anselm.

Many professors felt the survey was not anonymous enough, and contained biased questions concerning the curriculum. For example, one of the questions asked if one less theology requirement would be a detriment to students. There were multiple choice answers for each question, and two write-in answers at the end of the survey.

I was fairly surprised at the extreme displeasure shown by the faculty to the survey. I know these Crier kids tend to get into a boat-load of trouble each issue, but from what they’ve told me this survey was not written with the intent to cause the kettle to boil over.

The fact that faculty have such a high sensitivity to the topic shows me more than ever before about the true nature of this process – and what I see is not good.

Many of the dissatisfied faculty members expressed serious concern that the survey could harm their jobs if their opinions were exposed. This sounds more like faculty from my day than today’s “tell all” culture.

When I was a young lady, the administration had a tight reign over the faculty, and the faculty did not step out of line. Faculty in turn had a tight reign over students and they did not fall out of line. Well, I should say students tried not to fall out of line. There was a time or two when I myself, well, let’s just say that I had a few minor slips while at Saint Anselm.

Anyway, I did not expect the same level of sensitivity from faculty as I would have in my day. I thought where everyone puts their business on MyFace, or whatever it is called, society’s culture had shifted to a more open communication.

Apparently, that is not the case when it comes to the curriculum reform. The reaction from the faculty tells more than survey results could about the curriculum process. If the entire system were open and transparent with criticism and praise equally welcomed, then there may not have been as much concern over the survey.

Unlike myself, the survey is not flawless. Issues like wording and format, but from what I can deduce, which in my old age is rapidly becoming less and less, faculty were pleased to have a source reach out to them and ask their opinion on the matter. That was the main goal of the survey. As a former student, and a star contributor for the college paper, I can say that the message of the survey was to gather a general take of faculty opinion, and give those not directly involved in the process a chance to speak out in a comfortable way.

I hope this matter is all wrapped up by the time I write to you all next. I would love to hear what some of my old professors have to say on the process, but you might have to dig them up first.