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Students voice uncertainties about university instructor selection

Despite Georgia State’s thorough process to hire new instructors, students say they aren’t fully aware of the university’s selection procedures.

Perry Standridge, an art student at Georgia State, said he has faced difficulties with his instructors, one of whom is a graduate students.

“He’s teaching but I feel as though I can get the sense that he knows the subject. When it comes to like teaching the class, I feel like [I’m] having a hard time to projecting like what he knows,” Standridge said. “I can tell like he is kind of like struggling with it.”

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The instructor needed additional preparation before being selected to teach the course, according to Standridge.

“I feel like I would have like a more understanding and I won’t be struggling in the class like I am in this semester,” he said.

The selection of new instructors

Lynda Brown-Wright, Georgia State’s associate provost for Faculty Affairs, said professor selection begins with a search. The open position also has to be advertised.

“There’s a search committee who then makes recommendations to the Dean and the Dean makes recommendations to the provost,” she said.

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Brown-Wright also said what is looked for in a new instructor may vary based on the department.

“Sometimes people retire. You’re trying to replace them or you are looking for someone who has the skills that you are wanting to promote,” she said.

The process for selecting graduate students is also different than for regular instructors, according to Brown-Wright.

“They have to have so many hours of graduate work before they can teach. They have to have at least 18 hours of regular work so they can even be considered,” she said. “Their process is very different.”

Michelle Vilarimo, a Spanish language major with an international business concentration, said she doesn’t know how teachers are selected.

“I think if we are getting a new teacher who is supposed to teach for a whole new section, then they should be able to announce it to the whole student body” Vilarimo said.

Vilarimo also said professors should be selected based on their experiences.

“If they haven’t experienced it yet, I don’t think they will be able to give us the same amount of knowledge to actually throw ourselves out there,” she said.

 

Instructor Selection

 

Subjects taught by instructors are determined by the department chair, according to Brown-Wright.

Matching instructors to classes

Jessika Montia, a junior art major, said she doesn’t like only seeing ‘staff’ while selecting a class online.

Tyson Wild, a sophomore biology major, also said the trend of having a class say staff or the instructor needs to be changed.

“I feel like you should know the name of your professor. Just saying staff doesn’t help me because I could pick a bad professor or even if it’s a good professor because it is like rolling the dice,” Wild said.

Brown-Wright said the department chair decides who teaches a course saying ‘staff’ as the instructor name on the Paws website based on the professor’s qualifications.

“They want to make sure that the person is knowledgeable. We are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools,” she said. “We have to justify all of our professors and make sure that they have the adequate training to teach certain courses. So you have to have a degree in a certain area to be qualified to teach courses.”

The guidelines for instructors

The current faculty handbook covers topics including employment policies, faculty development and faculty evaluation.

Brown-Wright said the faculty handbook is also in the process of being updated.

“We have done a lot of the changes in the handbook but some of the information in the faculty handbook needs to be updated and some of it is not relevant,” she said. “It’s not major policy changes. It’s just making sure that our process and procedures are actually updated on what we are doing.”

She also said she is not sure when the updated faculty handbook will be completed but hopes to get the updated version finished as soon as possible.

Professors receive additional training at Georgia State through the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and the Office of Faculty Affairs and Teaching Innovation, according to Brown-Wright.

The Office of Faculty Affairs offers workshops on Georgia State’s culture and how the professors should work with students and obtain student success, according to Brown-Wright.

Montia also said she faced a situation where one of her teachers posted the tests incorrectly, causing difficulties for students to take them.

“I don’t think she understood what was actually going on and because of that I had to drop the class,” she said.

Montia also said professors should be trained more on topics such as the portal before classes start.