I wrote about this a couple of days ago, but one more thought about the silly photo that the DE found on the SIU webpage.
It was OK that the photographer took the shot. They take lots of pictures and throw away almost all of them looking for the one great shot in the bunch.
It wasn't OK that it was choosen as a good picture. It wasn't OK that it was put on the SIU webpage.
It was a good thing that the DE saw the picture and wrote a story about it. They really got the idea and wrote a constructive story about how SIU needs to improve. Good work.
The point that has been missed until now is why no one has called out the students on their complete lack of skills learning the material of the class. When you look at the students, no one is taking notes. As some of you know, when you take notes a different part of your brain is being used and you learn in a much improved way to passive listening. Of the 11 students we can see in that almost famous shot, only one looks to be taking notes. Students who don't take notes in math classes don't generally pass.
If I had to pick the one key point of SIU's downward slide, it would have to be the low academic achievement of students that SIU has allowed in these last years. The students aren't being challenged, grades are being given to students who have not learned the material and done the work, degrees are being awarded to some students who simply do not deserve them.
Should SIU give away results like the local junior colleges? Should SIU cheapen their degrees to the point that employers no longer expect a minimum level of achievement from SIU graduates? Should a SIU graduate's first manager in the real world be the first to demand reasonable effort and results? I think this has been the management message at SIUC over the last few years.
The students and SIU need to get it together and figure out how to teach the students to learn. To demand the students learn and to fail student who don't. The place is full of smart kids who need to be asked to jump a higher bar and the university is failing them. Of course, this generation of students is very happy to slide by.
The reputation that should really worry SIU is if people believe that the students who go to U of I get good jobs and the students who come to SIU move back into their parent's house and become assistant managers at Subway. Doesn't matter if you do good research then, SIU will be on the road to heck.