Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A graduate student told me about a professor who will raise a student's grade if it's lower than an A if the student publishes a poem in journal (with an ISSN) within a year.

Is this common practice? I have never heard of such a thing.

Is this an extra credit deal or is this professor implying he probably misjudged the quality of the student's work if she's able to obtain the stamp of approval from an editor? Or is it saying publication makes the world go round? Publication is all that matters in the end?

And the only stipulation for the grade bump is if the publication has an ISSN? It's a form to fill out. Any publication can get one. (Well, personal weblogs aren't eligible, but don't worry, it's still published -- even if it doesn't "count")

I've had professors who said don't be in a rush to publish, others who recommended places to send work. As an undergrad I had a professor who required all her students to submit to a magazine so we'd understand the process and in many cases, to make us aware such magazines existed. But publication never played into grading. I suppose it would be kind of cool to go back to a professor and be all "Remember my poems? The poems you consistently gave Cs? Well the Dinglesuck Review just took six and it has an ISSN and everything. In your face!"

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4 Comments:

At 1:36 PM, Blogger shanna said...

this practice, if it is indeed real, is ridiculous on so many levels.

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger Shann Palmer, blog admin said...

completely ridiculous but probably true-

I always ask students to submit to learn about the process (and rejection). besides, they don't really learn about writing brief cover letters in English class.

 
At 5:05 PM, Blogger Talia said...

I think that's a good idea...to teach your students about cover letters and bios and things like that. Most have never heard.

 
At 12:24 AM, Blogger Lyle Daggett said...

Truly a warped idea, for reasons it would take a long time to list.

Apparently, any poem at all would count, as long as the student had written it and it was published. Even a really badly written poem (by whatever criteria anyone wants to use).

So the professor is saying, in effect, that his/her literary standards are of less importance that the mere fact of publication; that the professor knows less about poetry than any editor of any literary magazine who has bothered to fill out an ISSN form.

That being the case, why even bother to require that the student publish a poem? Why is the professor bothering to teach, other than for the paycheck? Well anyway.

Your comment about going back to the professor, "Remember my poems?" etc., reminds me of something I read once about David Letterman.

A number of years ago Letterman made a large money donation toward the construction of a new building for the School of Broadcast Journalism at the university (Ball State in Indiana, I think?) where he had gone to school. The university put a plaque by the main entrance of the new building, to acknowledge Letterman's donation. The plaque read: "To all C students before and after me. David M. Letterman."

 

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