Published March 20, 2008
To the Daily:
Misinterpreting Hagen's quality teaching for unfair grade inflation practices
As a proud student of the psychology department, I found it disappointing to hear the accusations brought against Prof. John Hagen in The Ann Arbor News by Hagen's colleagues at the University. Having taken three courses with Hagen, including an independent study course, I found his classes stimulating and his grading policy fair. Rather than being concerned with norm-referenced performance, Hagen gave his students the relevant feedback necessary for retention and improvement. It is unfortunate that such a distinguished professor would have such damaging statements made about him. Not only is it disrespectful to Hagen and his teaching practices, but also to the athletes mentioned who take his courses.
As students at the University, athletes are expected to perform just like other students. And alas, they do in some courses. Why is this troubling? Further, why is the psychology department not interested in understanding how students seem to be retaining information and learning substantially more in courses taught by Hagen, instead of accusing him of grade inflation?
It's unfortunate that Hagen had to be unwittingly caught in the middle of a lapse in professionalism. I would hope that apologies are in order, and I would advise anyone who may feel differently to take one of his courses if you haven't. It's my sincere belief that it might be one of the most relevant experiences you'll have here at the University.
Those who stay should get better football seating
As a lifelong Michigan football fan, I was excited to receive the e-mail last week about buying tickets for next season. I was especially excited because I will be starting a graduate program in the School of Information next fall. Since it will be my fifth year at the University, I naturally thought that I would be receiving a higher priority than I did this past season. I was angry and disappointed to learn that because the Athletic Department restructured how it will determine ticket priority, I would not be receiving the highest priority seating. I will now have priority behind the undergraduate seniors, many of whom will only be starting their fourth year at the University.
Graduate students with undergraduate degrees from the University should have the highest priority because they have been at the University for a longer period of time and willingly chose to return here. I don't believe that I am alone in this situation, and I urge the Athletic Department to reconsider its policy so that it doesn't unjustly punish those who decide to stay at the University. As Bo Schembechler so famously declared, "Those who stay will be champions."