Professors eager to return to their labs to continue research and students motivated solely by a letter grade are ever increasing phenomenona here at BYU. It’s leading to an ever-widening gap between students and teachers and seems to mock the motto of our own university. But a simple change of attitude concerning learning, on the part of the professor, could have a big effect around campus.
BYU has 1500 faculty members — 90 percent of whom are tenured or tenure tracked. Simply put, 90 percent of professors “are in.” Their job is secure unless they really screw up. We see the symptoms of this every day in our classes: lack of preparation and a lack of desire to improve.
The university has invested thousands of dollars into programs designed to assist teachers to improve their teaching — programs such as Students Consulting on Teaching, which allows professors to invite paid students to interview, video record and review their teaching. Sadly, these resources go unused. Why improve when you don’t have to?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a student, and I’m not free of blame. Often times, the pressure to academically perform well corrodes the desire we have to learn. “Entering to learn” becomes “Enter wherever we can get a good grade for the smallest amount of work possible.” Frustrated professors, tired of hearing the neverending eight-worded question, “Is this going to be on the test?” feel we don’t “Enter to Learn” at all.
But imagine the learning environment where our motto was a reality: Enter to Learn. Go forth to Serve.