For the Frustrated Pratties
Hello fellow Pratties! The year is finally coming to an end, and all of our hard work is paying off. With that being said, I would just like to give you guys a few tips I have on what I have learned over these past few semesters at Pratt, specifically concerning class issues. Whether it’s an issue with a specific professor, a class syllabus, or a change within a department, students do have a say in their education and they have a right to question whether what they are subjected to is conducive to their educational growth. They should know how to go about bringing change or clarification within their department without feeling as though they will be persecuted for doing so, especially when they are paying customers. Here are some steps for how to go about handling class issues at Pratt.
1. Approach your Professor.
The first thing you should do when an issue with a class arises is communicate with your professor. You can take the time to write them a well thought out email outlining your concerns, which will not only make you seem more professional, but will leave a paper trail just in case things start to get messy. No matter how angry or confused you may be, try not to speak with an accusatory tone in your email. This can only lead to more conflict.
2. Talk to your Advisor
If things do not go well with your Professor, continue to speak in a professional manner with another faculty member, such as your advisor. Set up an appointment, email them the same concerns you sent your professor, and talk it out. It could all be a simple miscommunication, and your Advisor should provide you with some good advice as to how to deal with the situation.
3. Speak to your Department Chair
This may seem a bit more intimidating than the previous 2 steps. However, your department chair is there to improve the department and give you the best education possible. The only issue here is scheduling an appointment, because Chairs are very busy people. But I am sure that if you approach the issue in a professional way, continue to email them with your concerns outlined, and focus on the issue at hand in your meeting, your issue can be resolved. Bring classmates with you, or get their input about your class in writing so that there is concrete evidence that your issue is real and not just a personal bias.
4. Speak with your Dean
Just like your Department Chair, the Dean of your school is there to make sure that Pratt is providing the best for its students. Making an appointment with the Dean is a bit more difficult than the previous 3 steps, however it can be very helpful because they are in direct communication with the department chair and may be able to clarify the situation even further. As long as you have a serious, rational issue with a class and you aren’t simply whining about a teacher you don’t get along with, you can achieve your goal of resolving the conflict.
And remember, it’s best to nip class issues in the bud early on. The sooner you do something about it, the sooner it can be fixed, and the more you get out of the $60,000 education you came to New York for!
Best of luck next semester