Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two Rants Are Enough

My second rant of the day about the students at McGill.*  First, they stop bottled war from being sold on campus.  Today, they protested the closing of the Architecture Cafe, the last bastion of student-run food service on campus.  I understand their plight--that the student-run businesses were cheaper, and McGill sold them out by agreeing to a contractor that insisted in a monopoly for food stuff on campus.  But this is the loudest protest I have seen at McGill other than random student unions marching on campus to get the students to protest modest tuition increases.  For a modest dent in food choice. 

I guess I am miffed at their priorities.  I do think students should protest about stuff that offends them--that is a key part of the college experience.  But having spent the first several weeks of the term fending off students who could not get into a senior level lecture class of 80 students, I find the class size/class choice problem to be a bigger issue.  Partly this is a problem we have caused, as course reductions mean fewer classes, bigger classes, so I should not be pushing them to protest.  But aside from a small number of honors seminars, in poli sci, we end up having more than a few 80 person classes at the 400 level--courses for juniors and seniors.  That, um, sucks.  It is good for me since I can get a TA to do the grading, but they have been here long enough to have a non-lecture experience at the advanced level.  I need to learn from Mills Kelly how to run an 80 person class with few or any lectures, I guess. 

And I guess the students are on to something as protesting something as complicated as class size and choice is probably not going to be effective, given all of the constraints under which McGill is operating.  Plus it might mean me teaching more classes.....

*  To be clear, I have the highest respect for the students here, as my blog has repeatedly asserted. They are curious, smart, interesting, interested, dynamic and do not complain much about grades.  They do the work really well and make me think. 

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