In Our Opinion: Northern State University faculty cannot leave students hanging

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Farm Forum

File this one under “Duh”: Northern State University officials recently reminded school faculty to show up for the classes they are assigned to teach.

The issue came up at the Feb. 4 NSU faculty senate meeting. Tom Hawley, provost and vice president of academic affairs at NSU, told those gathered that he had heard complaints from students that they’ve had instructors fail to show up for class, with no warning or alternate arrangements made.

Though Hawley said this isn’t a large, widespread problem, it was time to remind faculty of the proper procedures for informing Northern officials and students when a class will be missed.

NSU officials might not be able to say it, but we will: There is no excuse for faculty missing class or extreme tardiness without alerting school officials and students.

First of all, you know it’s a problem when even the students are complaining. The stereotype of students is that they can’t make it to class on time. What does that say when the young people are there and their teachers are not?

And remember what makes Northern such a draw for so many students here. Besides the convenience and affordability of an education at Northern, we hear so many students say they appreciate the small class size and the access to their teachers. A typical NSU student can get the personal touch, and that matters.

When their teacher fails to show up to class, that just tells those students they are just one of the faces in the crowd.

Stories like this reflect poorly on the university and the university system. While President Jim Smith is in India trying to build relationships to recruit students to come to Aberdeen, we have faculty members not showing up to teach students who are already in the seats?

And when South Dakota legislators — many of whom have proven not to be friends of education — hear stories like this, doesn’t it just feed their worst perceptions of the public university system?

So, show up.