- Students claimed in a petition for their subpar test results.
- The faculty head reportedly received a letter from about 20 coworkers objecting to the termination of his contract.
- Students’ subpar performance was a symptom of a larger pattern in which students were finding it harder to concentrate.
Questions have been raised regarding the firing of a chemistry instructor at New York University (NYU), who was fired after his students complained about their grades and turned in a petition about how challenging his course was.
According to a report, chemistry instructor Maitland Jones Jr. received notice of his termination in August, just before the start of this academic year.
Students claimed in a petition for their subpar test results.
85 of Dr. Jones’ 350 students claimed in a petition created last spring that Dr. Jones was to blame for their subpar test results. The students alleged in a list of bullet points that the professor had used a “condescending and demanding” tone, which was hurting their chances of succeeding.
We urge you to recognize that a class with such a high percentage of withdrawals and low grades has failed to prioritize students’ learning and well-being and presents a negative image of the chemistry department as well as the university as a whole.
According to a report, Dr. Jones was also accused of not offering extra credit, removing Zoom access to lectures when some students had Covid, and eliminating an exam.
He refutes those assertions. The professor claimed that in addition to reducing the number of exams because the university scheduled the first test date after six classes, which was too soon, he even paid $5,000 of his own money to record lectures that are currently used by the institution. The lecture hall’s technology, according to Dr. Jones, prevented him from recording his whiteboard problems during lectures.
Although there were only 85 students in the 350-person class, the university gave the students the option to withdraw from the course or have their grades reviewed, according to the report. One of the students is alleged to have “hyperventilated” about their grades and chances of getting into medical school.
When dismissing the professor in August due to poor student performance, the chairman of the university’s chemistry faculty cited concerns from tuition fee billpayers (i.e., parents of students), according to the Times. This prompted letters of support from Dr. Jones’s students and staff.
The faculty head reportedly received a letter from about 20 coworkers objecting to the termination of his contract.
The faculty head reportedly received a letter from about 20 of Dr. Jones’ coworkers objecting to the termination of his contract. They claimed that it established “a precedent, completely devoid of due process, that could undermine faculty freedoms and correspondingly enfeeble proven pedagogical practices.”
Chemistry professor and former colleague Paramjit Arora told that the deans are clearly concerned with the bottom line and that they want satisfied students to recommend the university favorably so that more people will apply and the US News rankings will keep rising.
Others, like former department head James W. Canary, stated in an interview that while they respected Dr. Jones, he could have communicated with students more effectively and wasn’t always harsh.
According to Dr. Canary, “He hasn’t changed his style or methods in a good many years.” “But the students have changed, and they were expecting and asking for more support from the faculty when they were having trouble.”
Another NYU professor responded to the report on Twitter by saying she didn’t think lowering standards would benefit American universities or students’ chances of being admitted to medical school.
“Especially in highly technical classes, I don’t believe universities should react to it by lowering standards for what constitutes understanding the material. That does the complete opposite of preparing students for the fields they want to enter, claimed journalism professor Elizabeth Spiers in a thread on Twitter on Monday.
The mission of higher education would be compromised, she continued, if universities dumbed down the standard of instruction because capitalism requires that parents get their money’s worth and views that value as whatever gets students a good grade. Having said that, I believe that grading is detrimental to learning in many graduate programs. One of them is not organic chemistry.
Students’ subpar performance was a symptom of a larger pattern in which students were finding it harder to concentrate.
In response to the dismissal, Dr. Jones told that some students’ subpar performance was a symptom of a larger pattern in which students were finding it harder to concentrate or do well on exams, which he claimed to have made easier.
He complained to the university in a letter of grievance, writing, “In the last two years, they fell off a cliff. We are currently seeing zeros and single-digit scores.
Dr. Jones continued, having reached retirement age: “I don’t want my job back. I simply want to prevent this from happening to anyone else.
An NYU spokesperson discounted the conclusions of the Times article and Dr. Jones’s response to the situation in a statement to The Independent on Tuesday.
“A professor was not ‘fired’ in this instance because students complained about their grades. In this instance, a professor was hired on a one-year contract specifically to teach a course, but because he failed to uphold the university’s pedagogical standards, his contract was not renewed.
In one of Professor Maitland Jones’ organic chemistry classes in the spring of 2022, there was, among other troubling indicators, a very high rate of student withdrawals, a student petition signed by 82 students, and course evaluations scores that were by far the worst among members of the Chemistry Department as well as among all the University’s undergraduate science major students.
“It also does not speak well of Professor Jones’ dedication to his students that, upon learning that his appointment would not be renewed, he halted the final grading of his current students’ assignments and left everyone in the dark,” the letter continued. In essence, he was hired to teach, but he struggled.