Recognition for professors’ work is overdue

The past year and a half has been challenging for Hastings College. Students are frustrated by having to throw out their four-year plan. Administrators are working out the rewriting of procedures of long-held standards. However, today I want to focus on the brains of HC: the professors. The amount of work you have done for HC in the last year has gone mostly unnoticed, and a thank you has been long overdue.

The student to faculty ratio sits at around 14:1. About 67% of classes have less than 20 students. These statistics mean that the professors know their students as more than just students. I have seen professors go to graduated students’ weddings. I have had assignments where professors check in on student’s well-being. We share stories with each other, and you give us advice not just in professional life but also personal life, too. In many ways, you are our parents away from our home, in addition to being parents at your own home. 

This commitment does not come without sacrifice. It takes up time from your personal lives and in many ways, you are always on the clock. As students, we see this. We know you hear about the wild parties that happened over the weekend and the personal success of individual students. We also hear about yours: your volunteer work, your child’s soccer game, your parent’s passing away. Over the last year though, we have also heard about the difficulties you have been going through: working 60 hours a week holding class, grading papers, meeting one-on-one to discuss an academic project and helping groups you sponsor. As HC is entering 2.0, you now have to also restructure a class; and for our more senior professors, restructure a curriculum. 

We, students, see that it is not easy. We see many of you feeling drained, even when you hide it very well. I personally feel that my education has suffered as you now have to redistribute your time from educating to classroom architecture. I’m not mad or frustrated about it; I have skipped a few classes to do work for a student group before. The issue lies in the lack of recognition for your commitment.

For that reason, I want to thank you for your work and encourage my fellow peers and your higher-ups to show their appreciation. In a perfect world, you have earned a raise or bonus, but given the college’s current financial sustainability and uncertainty, that is difficult. At the least, you have earned a thank you. 

When I came to visit HC, I had the opportunity to spend the night with a now-graduated student during a bus trip from Colorado to Hastings. According to him, what makes HC special is the teachers’ ability to recognize potential and give students more work to help them grow. This means more work for you, and yet you still do it. This commitment is not new; the alumni-turned-professor knows that. As a soon-to-be alumni, I ask that you continue this work. The professors are the HC advantage.