Wednesday, May 09, 2012


I was having lunch and a conversation with a couple of colleagues in out lunch room this afternoon, when a student stopped in and asked if someone had office hours.  He explained that he needed to have someone proofread his portfolio right away before he sent it off, and the writing center didn't have an open slot, so he needed one of us to do it.  None of us jumped up to offer to proofread, but we did suggest that he talk to the professor he'd written it for.  That, it seemed, wasn't possible.  None of us recognized the name he said, so it wasn't someone any of us knew.

And off he went.

I later heard that he walked into another prof's office and put the portfolio on her desk, expecting her to proofread it.  She declined.

I hope he doesn't get to fill out a satisfaction assessment form, because we'll all fail on the "doing everything we can to help all NWU students succeed" part.


  1. Well, on the one hand, good for the student realizing his portfolio needed proofreading. On the other hand, a good, swift kick in the pants to the student for thinking that he could outsource that to any random faculty member he could find on zero notice!

  2. For a while a couple of years ago, students started trolling up and down the English hallway asking whoever looked "free" (in their eyes) to go over their history papers with them. The department finally had a meeting where we all agreed on our party line, which was "I'm sorry that I can't help you right now. Have you gone to the Writing Lab to sign up for an appointment? [often the answer was basically, "no, because strolling up and down the hallway seemed more convenient.] Have you met with your history teacher about the paper?" The reality is that most English teachers were apparently giving more helpful feedback than the social studies teachers, but it just wasn't fair, or even possible, for us to start functioning as the history department's support staff, so we put our collective foot down.

  3. I'm betting a requirement of the assigned task was obtaining feedback via "peer review" and the darling child postponed until doing so had become nearly impossible to accomplish...

  4. Wow. That's bold. I have had a current student ask me to read and comment on a paper for another venue, but this was an honor's presentation, not a class. It wasn't getting graded. I was happy to help because I had time, but I wouldn't do that for a random student who was trying to squirrel his/her way out of doing his/her own work. Weird.

  5. One of my bugbears is (some) students' assumption that "English professor" = "copy-editor-on-demand." As the Director of the Honors Program, I've had several students say that they're glad I'll be on their Honors thesis committees (it's part of my job) because I can "check their grammar."

    Yes, I got a Ph.D. in "grammar-checking."