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Case of Deceptive Description

Category 3: Safety and Comportment


Professor Ruff is a physical chemist with a reputation for being a rigorous grader. English is not his first language, but he does a reasonable job explaining this difficult subject. In fact, Ruff's students actually perform better on standardized exams than any others in the department. Still students complain about the work they must put into the course in order to achieve success. Pandy and Hap are student leaders who conduct a vigorous campaign to assign negative responses on the end-of-the-semester evaluation forms for certain instructors, such as Professor Ruff. As an additional bonus, they find unfilled forms and use these to skew the results of Professor Ruff's student ratings even further. A couple of Pandy and Hap's peers report this scheme to the department chair.

Stage 1

What action do you think WAS taken?

A. When the institution questioned retaining Ruff, the chair reported this incident and worked to make sure that student ratings were not considered when evaluating Ruff's contributions to the school.

B. Ruff was not granted renewal of his contract and had to return to his country of birth to find an academic job.

Stage 2

What action do you think SHOULD have been taken?

A. The chair should intervene with the retention/tenure/promotion committee on behalf of Ruff.

B. The chair should support the students, since they pay for tuition and have a right to their opinions.

C. The chair should make sure the tenure committee is aware of objective measures of the performance of Ruff'’s students.

D. The chair should bring charges against Pandy and Hap for unethical behavior.

E. The chair needs to ignore this, as it is impossible to prove, and would take him away from more important aspects of his work.