It has come to my attention that it seems that most professors are leaving most major assignments until the second half of the semester, when students are most stressed due to finals and to the increased intensity of courses. While during the first half of the semester I only had three major assignments due, after Fall Break I have had to turn in about 10. Our student handbook states that no major assignment counting 20 percent or more of our grade can be assigned during the last two weeks of the semester. As far as I have read, this is the only limitation placed upon professors.
Unfortunately, I have noticed that not only are a lot of major assignments worth exactly 20 percent of my grade are due during the last two weeks of class, but that about 60 percent or more of my graded assignments are requested during the latter half of the semester. With most professors doing this, students find themselves jamming as much information as possible into their brains. They stress themselves more than necessary and focus on merely memorizing facts, instead of digesting them and processing them to make the connections that a Liberal Arts education is supposed to help you make. If Southwestern is such a liberal arts institution as it claims to be, then why are we being required to simply jam information into our minds at the end of each semester?
I believe that a policy should be implemented which would require professors to require a minimum of forty percent of our grades by the middle of the semester. Such a policy would help both students and professors avoid unnecessary stress during the latter half, and especially during the final weeks, of each semester. It would also give students a better opportunity to actually learn the material that they are supposed to be learning in class, because they would be forced to digest it much more in advance. I believe that it is in the best interest of our student body to propose such a policy.
However, I understand others may view this issue differently, so if your opinion differs from mine, then please e-mail the editor of this section (or leave a comment here — Ed) so that we may open the debate to perhaps changing school policy. Furthermore, I have only looked at the Student Handbook, so if any of the other handbooks (such as the Professor’s handbooks) state differently from the student’s, then please inform us of this difference, so that we may request that it be shown on the Student Handbook. I look forward to a discussion of this issue.