The Park School of Communications loves to hire professors that are professionals in their field — former or current editors, reporters, producers or even business execs — which, in theory, is a great idea. Professionals teaching their craft? What could go wrong?
The problem is that when these teachers get in the classroom, they have no idea what they’re doing. They’re disorganized, scatterbrained and vague. They’re perpetually changing assignments and tests and grades. In short, they can’t teach. They can write a perfect 1,000 word feature story in a heartbeat. But can they effectively instruct someone else how to do the same? No, because doing and teaching are two completely different skills, and that’s a concept that Park apparently cannot grasp.
I’ve spent semesters watching professors look concepts up in Google in lieu of actually teaching us, telling us to take notes on the Wikipedia page. Sorry, I didn’t realize I was paying $35,000 in tuition to practice using search engines. I’ve also had professors even recruit students from the class to teach for them and show the rest of the class how to use programs like FinalCut and InDesign, which were supposed to be cornerstones of the entire course. This is perfect because we get to practice being unpaid interns, doing the job of our superiors to cover up their incompetence.
I’m not speaking for every professor in Park and definitely not every professor I’ve had as a journalism major. I’ve had some amazing professors, but the couple of bad ones I’ve had have put a damper on my overall experience in journalism classes here. This is a problem that the administration in Park seriously needs to address. It’s awesome to have people who are accomplished in the fields they’re teaching, but they also need to be able to relay information and be an actual teacher. It’s definitely not impossible to have the best of both worlds (big ups to my man Jeff Cohen), but the hiring process needs to be way more selective to find them. Otherwise, it hurts us as students and lowers the quality of the entire Park school.