The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Students, faculty discuss classroom participation

The Center for Teaching Excellence hosted a panel discussion entitled “Who Should be Accountable & Responsible in the Classroom?” Thursday afternoon in Dallas Hall’s McCord Auditorium.

Political science professor Dennis Simon moderated the event, joining biology professor Rick Jones as the two faculty members on the panel. Junior history major Lauren Cook, junior business major Grant Goodman and junior philosophy, English and Spanish major Keith Kobylka comprised the student portion of the panel.

Simon began by describing why student interaction is so important in his political science courses.

“The liberal arts depend on a good proportion of the class being engaged,” he said.

Simon and Jones highlighted some of their greatest expectations of students, including regular attendance and reading course material ahead of time.

“A student doesn’t have to come to my class,” Jones said, “but they also don’t have to pass.”

The students then offered some expectations of themselves and their peers.

“Students owe a certain degree of respect to professors,” Kobylka said, “like having the reading done and being prepared to actively discuss the material.”

Cook agreed, adding that while students should be held to a level of accountability, they should not be expected to always have the right answers. In addition, those who answer incorrectly when called upon should not be written off as poor students by the professor.

As Kobylka explained, a student who stumbles over a question in class may simply be nervous, not unprepared.

“In a new environment,” he said, “some students are uncomfortable about expressing their opinions. Being forced to speak up will help the student gain confidence and demonstrate that doing the work does pay off.”

Panelists then moved to topics ranging from the differences between high school and college academics, the amount of responsibility placed on the student and those who frequently miss class, showing up only to hand in an assignment or take an exam.

“One of my pet peeves,” Goodman said, “is students who just come to class to copy the homework. Students who do nothing shouldn’t get the same credit I do.”

Goodman also pointed out one way he feels the student-teacher relationship can be improved while enhancing the overall classroom experience.

“When professors allow students to be involved in the class,” he said, “it is a much easier learning environment.”

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