Courtesy of Pexels

New York University professor, Maitland Jones Jr., was recently fired due to student unhappiness with the way his organic chemistry classes were held. Eighty-two of his 350 students signed a petition blaming the professor for their falling test scores and class grades. Dr. Jones, however, tells a different story; one of students ditching classes, not turning in assignments, and showing up to exams unprepared while lacking knowledge of the information. The former professor has claimed that in this post-pandemic university environment, not only were students not studying, but it seems they didn’t know how to study at all. 

After two years of online classes and lowered expectations,  professors and students are forced to adapt to ever-changing environments. However, these lowered expectations have lowered overall student engagement and their ability to learn and retain information. During Zoom schooling, many students may have felt as if they were on a break from school. Rather than adapting to online learning, universities and K-12 schools made major allowances for students. Class rigor was exponentially decreased, assignments were excused, and those that were not, ended up being completed with the help of the internet. On top of all this, professors and universities alike were extremely accommodating during transition periods, often filming all lectures and posting them for students to view, offering hybrid classes, not mandating attendance and more. 

Many students are still coping with the effects of the pandemic on their mental and physical health, which is why it’s important for professors to continue to offer these accommodations to their students. On the other hand, when attending university, students are training to become professionals and work with real people in the real world, so it is important that universities maintain a certain degree of rigor. Dr. Jones was an organic chemistry professor teaching potential medical students, many of whose discontent with their exam scores stemmed from the fact that they were too low to allow them even to apply to medical school.  

With the era of Zoom academia concluding, classes are returning to pre-pandemic rigor levels forcing students to wake up and smell the coffee. Education is a changing and evolving field, and in order to continue to create positive change, students must be able to communicate their needs to professors and their respective universities openly.