Is this on the Syllabus? – Editorial

If NYC were to come to life and take the form of a human, it would be a college student. From sunrise to sunset, college students are constantly engaged in some sort of activity. Whether you’re cramming for tomorrow’s Advanced Abstract Algebra quiz, or listening to the sweet sounds of your unfinished chapter readings serenading you, just like city nightlife, there is always something else to do.

When a student registers for a class and is handed their syllabus, it acts as a binding contract between the student and professor. As students, we schedule internships, extracurricular activities and work around the course schedule given to us by our professors. When a professor spontaneously decides to make it mandatory for a student to attend an event outside of class, it dishevels the student’s schedule and puts the student at a disadvantage if they are unable to attend an event due to a prior commitment.

The Outlook believes that students should not be required to attend events outside of scheduled class meeting times because the events tend to conflict with prior engagements. We feel that it is unnecessary for professors to force students to attend events on campus causing students to skip a class, leave early or cancel other obligations just to attend this event and not get penalized.

Often, professors also assign students a supplemental reaction paper to be handed in after the event, which can be frustrating to students who were not able to attend the event. One editor said that it is completely ridiculous and counterproductive to assign more work to a student that was unable to attend the original event due to an over-packed schedule. Professors need to understand that some sort of compromise needs to be created for students who cannot attend mandatory events because, in most cases, the outcome usually isn’t fair for students.
Aaron Furgason, an associate professor of communication, feels that students should decide on their own whether or not they want to attend events outside of class. Furgason said, “I would never make it mandatory for students to attend an event on campus, but I will make the students aware of the event…If I do assign students to attend a mandatory event, it would be clearly outlined in the syllabus.”

Although the staff is opposed to being required to attend events outside of allocated class instruction time, we understand the benefit of attending these events. Events hosted by the University offer additional instruction from our peers, professors or even guest speakers that we would otherwise not have access to. As students of the University, we expect a high return on investment in regard to our education and events on campus provide students with additional opportunities to learn and participate in activities they may never do again.

Another editor said, “Honestly, I have yet to go to an outside of class lecture or presentation that hasn’t taught me anything, and usually I remember the outside of class content better than the inside class stuff. Overall, we as students are here at the university to learn.”
Some professors choose to offer extra credit to attend events as opposed to forcing students to go. The Outlook feels that offering the incentive of extra credit to attend events is a better approach than making an event mandatory. There are times where events on campus do compliment the classroom instruction and having a professor recommend an event to the class that students can further benefit from shows that professors are truly invested in the students and want to enhance their educational opportunities.

Eleanor Novek, an associate professor of communication, is in favor of providing extra credit to students who attend campus events. Novek believes attending events on campus allows students to be exposed to things they haven’t had the opportunity to partake in. Although many professors believe that requiring us to attend events on campus enhances our education process at the University and prepares us for the future, The Outlook feels that it is a disservice and an inconvenience to the students.

By forcing students to attend events outside of class, it suggests that the students do not want to be there in the first place, leading to inattentiveness during events and resistance towards the presenter. If professors want students to benefit from events on campus, the best they can do is make students aware of them. The students who want to take advantage of the opportunity will do so and the others will either miss out or fulfill their previous obligations.

Professors need to understand that they shouldn’t require students to attend events outside of class, because if someone isn’t interested in attending something, that’s it, check please. Professors already have the attention of the students for two and a half hours a week in the classroom and for countless hours while doing homework. As students, we cannot afford to take time off of work or skip class just to make one professor happy, but we will gladly consider the event if we finished that 20 page paper early and if extra credit is offered.