Monday, September 6, 2010

Complaints.

This post won't just be me whining for 2000 words. In fact, I won't be whining at all. Thought I should let you know that before you decide to leave.

I spent a little bit of time as I registered for my three CSE classes this semester checking out my professors on RateMyProfessors.com.

My professor for Introduction to Artificial Intelligence had no reviews, but he is my academic advisor, and his father taught at Calvin some time ago, so I'm sure he's a nice guy. I have heard he is a bit dry, but I can handle dry as long as his grading is fair and the workload avoids being over the top.

The professor teaching Microarchitecture had only one rating, but it was generally positive. I think that should be a pretty interesting class regardless of who teaches it, but hopefully he turns out to be a positive force in the classroom rather than an obstacle to be overcome.

That brings me to my final professor, teaching Introduction to Operating Systems. Reading through his reviews, it quickly became evident that students have really appreciated his style and his desire to help them learn.

At this point I ran across several reviews that caught my eye. Both mentioned that their single complaint with this professor is that he talks about Christianity and his faith in class. Needless to say, I am thrilled about this complaint on a personal level. It will be exciting to see how he manages to work his beliefs into the curriculum.

There is another issue at hand, however, and I am still undecided on exactly what my stance is. The University of Michigan is a public school, and we have all heard about the separation of Church and State at some point. What is, or should be permissible for a professor to do or say as an employee of the state within a classroom setting? Maybe it is helpful to look at some possible actions to attempt to determine where the line between what should and should not be allowed.
  • Forcing any kind of religion on students - obviously a bad thing. It should never affect someone's performance or grade in class.
  • Conducting prayer time, devotions, etc. before class probably falls under this umbrella as well. I would be incredibly uncomfortable if someone with religious beliefs different than mine did this.
  • Bringing up your beliefs and mentioning your faith is fine, as long as it isn't presented as "course material."
It should be interesting to see how much this professor brings up the subject of his Christianity and how he does so. I look forward to chatting with him about it at some point and picking his brain about how he decides what to say and what not to say. I have never experienced a public school environment, so it would be difficult for me to gauge how tough it is to walk the line between witnessing by example and being pushy.

One thing I do think is very important is the fact that he at least mentions that he is a Christian. This disclosure opens the door for his actions, regardless of whether they are strictly religious or simply actions indicating how he conducts himself on a daily basis, to be a witness and a positive force.

Classes start tomorrow morning at 9am, so I need desperately to get some sleep (spent Saturday night on the floor and Sunday night on a couch). Time for all of this to get shockingly real!

2 comments:

  1. Kudos to the professor. People try to erase Christianity from everyday life wherever possible. It's nice to hear about someone sticking up for their Christianity and for our Lord Jesus Christ. People need to know.

    God Bless

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