Skip to content
Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(CNN)   NYU fires famous organic chemistry professor because snowflakes complained his class was too hard   (cnn.com) divider line
    More: Fail, Tenure, University, spate of student complaints, Professor, Maitland Jones Jr., students' fragile emotions, Academia, Education  
•       •       •

4408 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Oct 2022 at 5:30 AM (9 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



237 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | » | Newest | Show all

 
2022-10-04 11:41:21 PM  
They're not wrong organic chem is freaking hard.
 
2022-10-05 3:38:08 AM  
Difficult syllabus is no reason to fire a prof

I took a circuit design class that had a 25% pass rate. Most took the class two or three times in order to pass. It wasn't that that too much material was covered or too much expected of the students. It was that the little material presented was farking hard to grasp conceptually. If you don't get that " ah ha!" moment where everything clicks, you're not going to pass. I assume parts of organic chemistry to be like that
 
2022-10-05 5:28:13 AM  
Just because you're good at a field doesn't mean you're good at teaching.
 
2022-10-05 5:33:09 AM  
What happened to tenure? Did he not qualify for some reason?
 
2022-10-05 5:34:53 AM  

Lambskincoat: They're not wrong organic chem is freaking hard.


If it's too hard for you, seek another profession. Because after graduation, you're going to find science doesn't give a crap if something is hard ir not.
 
2022-10-05 5:39:49 AM  

Tyrone Slothrop: What happened to tenure? Did he not qualify for some reason?


He is retired and was teaching on a yearly contract.
 
2022-10-05 5:45:12 AM  
Organic chemistry is challenging, but I feel like it is often taught in ways that make it harder to understand instead of easier, which is a shame.

I've never understood why there is so much rote memorization involved.  The important part is understanding the mechanism, which is plenty hard.
 
2022-10-05 5:45:32 AM  
That article was all over the place.

It went from "why was he fired?, to "if he was a woman, he would have been fired a lot sooner".
 
2022-10-05 5:45:34 AM  

Tyrone Slothrop: What happened to tenure? Did he not qualify for some reason?


Dude was already retired from another university and he was teaching here on a yearly contract  He is in his 80's.
 
2022-10-05 5:46:45 AM  

Lambskincoat: They're not wrong organic chem is freaking hard.


I liked it when i had it at uni, wasn't all that difficult feom what i could remember. Now the 2nd year biochem, that was a friggin nightmare. The exam was usually all multiple-choice, but still regarded throuought the entire uni as the most difficult 2nd year exam amongs everything else.
 
2022-10-05 5:57:31 AM  
I was a Marine Sciences major until organic chemistry. Then I became a Classics major.

The pandemic screwed over students wherever they were in k-12. Less damage was done if you were lucky enough to be in Higher Education during pandemic.

The students who signed that petition did not solve the problem.
 
2022-10-05 5:59:03 AM  

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: That article was all over the place.

It went from "why was he fired?, to "if he was a woman, he would have been fired a lot sooner".


Yeaaaaaaah...... there's something else going on. FTFA: "It's worth noting that according to the Times, students expressed surprise that Jones was fired, which their petition did not call for." Sounds like he stepped on some Very Important Toes somewhere somewhen somehow. Probably personal.
 
2022-10-05 5:59:38 AM  
A lot of students should never go straight to a university like NYU.  They should likely work their way up to that level of rigor through local and state schools before enrolling.  But people seem to love wasting their time and lots of money when they aren't actually prepared.  I wonder how well "It's too hard!" goes over at schools like MIT and Caltech.
 
2022-10-05 5:59:53 AM  
I was a chem major, and the dorm was mostly chem undergrads. They had a big periodic table in the dorm common area, and Carbon was almost totally destroyed by people who had failed an organics exam.
 
2022-10-05 6:00:37 AM  

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: That article was all over the place.

It went from "why was he fired?, to "if he was a woman, he would have been fired a lot sooner".


Stupid article, didn't tell me what to think at all
 
2022-10-05 6:01:44 AM  
They noted that Jones did not offer extra credit and that he did not make his lectures available via Zoom.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-10-05 6:01:54 AM  
FTA: "dismissiveness, unresponsiveness, condescension and opacity about grading"

So I'm confused. The professor is saying the students aren't passing because they have low ability, but the students complaints don't seem to have anything to do with the difficulty of the class- they're complaining about the professor acting unprofessionally.

It seems like "I got fired because I didn't pass the snowflakes" might actually be "I got fired because I'm unprofessional and subjectively grading instead of following my own syllabus and rubrick"
 
2022-10-05 6:02:54 AM  
Jones was also, according to some students, harsh, sarcastic and dismissive;

y.yarn.coView Full Size
 
2022-10-05 6:03:45 AM  
It is important to note that some professors are just shiat at their job.

I've had more than a few, and the university always deferred to 'well, it's a tough subject'. You know what makes it tougher? A shiatty teacher. Like one who doesn't speak English at all, or who is accomplished in their field and so up their own ass that they don't so much "teach" as "belittle people for not being as smart as them".
 
2022-10-05 6:05:25 AM  

wingedkat: I've never understood why there is so much rote memorization involved.  The important part is understanding the mechanism, which is plenty hard.


A lot of kids who take organic chemistry are on the pre-med track.  The purpose of organic is to weed out the kids who aren't gonna hack it in medical school.  No other reason, really; physicians don't really use organic chemistry in the clinic -- certainly much less than pharmacists do, and it's not required on the pre-pharm track anymore.
 
2022-10-05 6:05:31 AM  

Squik2: Difficult syllabus is no reason to fire a prof

I took a circuit design class that had a 25% pass rate. Most took the class two or three times in order to pass. It wasn't that that too much material was covered or too much expected of the students. It was that the little material presented was farking hard to grasp conceptually. If you don't get that " ah ha!" moment where everything clicks, you're not going to pass. I assume parts of organic chemistry to be like that


That means the instructor sucks.  His job is to teach, not just present material.  Any idiot can present material.  If you are on the job and your boss sucks bad enough, no matter how good you are, you are going to fail.
 
2022-10-05 6:07:49 AM  
Organic is traditionally has the course for weeding out of weak  students.
 
2022-10-05 6:20:18 AM  
FTFA

Remote learning was a spectacular failure.

I'd posit that that's less an inherent problem with remote learning, and more a problem of teachers being expected to overnight develop an entirely new skill set ('cos I'm dumb, yet with the right support-/good material- I've remotely studied six university-level modules, and achieved a mark of at least 100% in all of them)

There is also some evidence that[students] have become less resilient, more anxious and less able to cope with life setbacks

Maybe they've noticed that they're living in a country with no safety net and on a dying f#cking planet where the ownership class is more interested in yet another superyacht than in doing anything to fix - or at least delay - the problems..? * shrugs *
 
2022-10-05 6:20:18 AM  
Not so CSB and tl;dr story:

One of the hardest and worst subjects I've ever taken. That, and biochemistry, both taught similarly, were so awful. You have to learn how to envision 2D drawings as 3D molecules. I remember sitting there in class in 1975 trying to keep up drawing these complex molecules for my notes as the prof draw them so quickly and talked as he wrote, so it was impossible being able to keep up with what he was talking about while drawing them in my notebook, because the drawing was so complicated, you'd always be behind, you couldn't draw it in time and hear and understand what he was saying at the same time. You'd miss what he was teaching. So you'd have this massive drawing at the end without knowing what the hell reaction he had just described. You'd get this super complex two dimensional drawing that you had to imagine in three dimensions, and you had to understand the reaction he described happening to it from this two dimensional rendering that you were still trying to finish drawing. Looking at the book didn't help at all. I would be in tears taking tests, not being able to make sense out of anything I was looking at.

Today, with computer technology, and also with students having cameras and recording devices, OC could be taught with the whole molecules shown already drawn and in 3 dimensions, with reactions shown through animation. So students wouldn't need to imagine in 3D from a 2D rendering, or take written notes during the lecture, because they'd have access to the drawings and animation at any time online. So given this, I'm thinking the prof was not a very good teacher. Because all the sophisticated teaching tools are right there today. If he was old enough to have written that gigantic brick of a book, maybe he was still drawing molecules in 2d on a whiteboard.

I had to take three quarters of OC, and one of biochem. I got mostly Ds, and barely passed. This, biochem, and genetics tanked my GPA, all while I aced my other science classes like microbiology, bacteriology, parasitology, mycology. It destroyed my confidence and desire for post-grad education in the scientific fields I was interested in. Plus I didn't even think I could get into grad school without an excellent GPA. I had intern jobs volunteering at the student health center running biological tests, and also in the VA hospital in the cytology lab, where I was being mentored and applying practical knowledge. I was good at this work and liked it. But it ended with graduation.
 
2022-10-05 6:21:17 AM  

Squik2: Difficult syllabus is no reason to fire a prof

I took a circuit design class that had a 25% pass rate. Most took the class two or three times in order to pass. It wasn't that that too much material was covered or too much expected of the students. It was that the little material presented was farking hard to grasp conceptually. If you don't get that " ah ha!" moment where everything clicks, you're not going to pass. I assume parts of organic chemistry to be like that


I also took multiple circuit analysis classes, and my lab partner who was an incredibly smart guy said he almost failed chemistry.
 
2022-10-05 6:24:29 AM  

Tyrone Slothrop: What happened to tenure? Did he not qualify for some reason?


FTA he was tenured at Princeton and was employed at NYU in retirement on a yearly basis.

So, probably not tenure track.
 
2022-10-05 6:27:46 AM  
Organic chemistry is hard.  But you likely take it because you have to, so I think I'd side with the prof on this one.
Normally I hate the idea that a professor makes their sh*tty class more than 1/5 of your workload.  Especially if he's the instructor of course material that has nothing to do with a students major or career path, I'd hope university staff would put a leash on him.  but you should already know what you're in for when you sign up for Organic Chemistry.

/I don't think the topic of cost and waste in an undergrad degree is part of this story
 
2022-10-05 6:29:43 AM  

TheMysteriousStranger: Organic is traditionally has the course for weeding out of weak  students.


My first day of class in organic at Univ.of Illinois the prof said he will flunk 25% of the the class regardless of scores because they admit too many students as chem majors. The department cannot accept that many students at the upper levels.  "You should consider dropping the course if not confident you can handle it."  I passed it and passed the even harder biochem class but eventually changed major to micro.

/40 years ago
 
2022-10-05 6:31:53 AM  

wingedkat: Organic chemistry is challenging, but I feel like it is often taught in ways that make it harder to understand instead of easier, which is a shame.

I've never understood why there is so much rote memorization involved.  The important part is understanding the mechanism, which is plenty hard.


This is exactly the problem of much of education. Hell, it's not just a problem in teaching science, it's even a problem in teaching history by making kids memorize names and places and dates instead of setting any conceptual stage about what was actually going on at the time.
 
2022-10-05 6:34:06 AM  

ReluctantLondon: There is also some evidence that[students] have become less resilient, more anxious and less able to cope with life setbacks

Maybe they've noticed that they're living in a country with no safety net and on a dying f#cking planet where the ownership class is more interested in yet another superyacht than in doing anything to fix - or at least delay - the problems..? * shrugs *


Clearly they have no chance of achieving a comfortable and fulfilling life and should just give up already.
 
2022-10-05 6:38:50 AM  

vrax: A lot of students should never go straight to a university like NYU.  They should likely work their way up to that level of rigor through local and state schools before enrolling.  But people seem to love wasting their time and lots of money when they aren't actually prepared.  I wonder how well "It's too hard!" goes over at schools like MIT and Caltech.


Organic chem isn't a first or second year subject, and inorganic chemistry does not really prepare you for it. Besides, in a state school science class, you are very likely sitting in a lecture auditorium with 300 other students and not exactly getting the best "level of rigor" as a result.
 
2022-10-05 6:40:45 AM  
Professor Goddard (not that one) would do impossible tests. In a dynamics course he handed out the final on day one, and it included absurd problems like a coiled pipe that had an outlet, and we had to figure out it's deflection by the end of the course. We had to devise a formula that would model the deflection for different materials and pressures. Completely impossible for under graduates.

He'd also do "content absorption" tests. 400+ questions about a topic we had been studying, and then he'd grade on a curve. Unless you blew the curve. In materials science for under grads we just needed to get the big ideas. We loved him and hated him.

/all I know about O-chem comes from TIKAL and PIKAL recipes
 
2022-10-05 6:41:26 AM  
All I know is that the Organic Chemistry textbook is still a better love story than Twilight.

With much more crying by the reader of the textbook...
 
2022-10-05 6:41:44 AM  
If you think organic chemistry is hard, you've never taken underwater basket weaving. It's hard enough to weave baskets but the water makes 'em real slippery.

On a more serious note, I'm of the opinion that the students are Grey's Anatomy or ER fans. Medicine is so exciting! I'm gonna be a doctor! And then a class comes along where you are required to rote memorize chemical reactions, the difference between a hydrocarbon and a carbohydrate, and the catalytic process of mitochondria. The medical career field is not like the idiotic TV shows that are contrived and cliche. Real medicine is like House MD, where hospitals are populated by residents who are still wet behind the ears led by people who are perpetually tired and rarely if ever competent.
 
2022-10-05 6:42:16 AM  
Lol, "extra Credit"

This ain't High School

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-10-05 6:43:48 AM  

koder: Just because you're good at a field doesn't mean you're good at teaching.


He won several awards for his teaching. Fark those students.
 
2022-10-05 6:47:00 AM  
I had a physics II professor that was similar. Although he was not an as*hole personality, his teaching method was awful and his tests were extremely difficult. The same group of students that took Physics 1 and passed easily enough with another teacher, were all now wallowing in his class. Not everyone is set out to be a teacher, I know I am awful at teaching.
 
2022-10-05 6:47:16 AM  

Tom Marvolo Bombadil: ReluctantLondon: There is also some evidence that[students] have become less resilient, more anxious and less able to cope with life setbacks

Maybe they've noticed that they're living in a country with no safety net and on a dying f#cking planet where the ownership class is more interested in yet another superyacht than in doing anything to fix - or at least delay - the problems..? * shrugs *

Clearly they have no chance of achieving a comfortable and fulfilling life and should just give up already.


I'm not certain what message you took from what I wrote; mostly what I was trying to say was that school less-than-living-wage doesn't botched-response-to-pandemic happen school-shooting in attempt-to-disregard-election-results a stripping-choice-from-~50%-of-the-population vacuum.
 
2022-10-05 6:47:59 AM  

HighlanderRPI: Lol, "extra Credit"

This ain't High School

[Fark user image 850x461]


Extra credit for a course like this might be a practical internship.
 
2022-10-05 6:49:00 AM  

dodecahedron: vrax: A lot of students should never go straight to a university like NYU.  They should likely work their way up to that level of rigor through local and state schools before enrolling.  But people seem to love wasting their time and lots of money when they aren't actually prepared.  I wonder how well "It's too hard!" goes over at schools like MIT and Caltech.

Organic chem isn't a first or second year subject, and inorganic chemistry does not really prepare you for it. Besides, in a state school science class, you are very likely sitting in a lecture auditorium with 300 other students and not exactly getting the best "level of rigor" as a result.


We took it as sophmores at my university. First year was basic chemistry and lab. Second year ochem and lab that took for farking ever. Third year physical chemistry I and II and labs or biochemistry or both depending on concentration. And yes, it was a state school.
 
2022-10-05 6:49:13 AM  

Mr_Vimes: koder: Just because you're good at a field doesn't mean you're good at teaching.

He won several awards for his teaching. Fark those students.


The students were not calling for his dismissal.
And past performance does not necessarily indicate he's currently a good instructor.
 
2022-10-05 6:49:31 AM  

HighlanderRPI: Lol, "extra Credit"

This ain't High School

[Fark user image image 850x461]


Lol he thinks college is the real world
 
2022-10-05 6:51:46 AM  
Did he try rapping his lectures to be more relatable to the kids?
 
2022-10-05 6:52:44 AM  

hestheone: Squik2: Difficult syllabus is no reason to fire a prof

I took a circuit design class that had a 25% pass rate. Most took the class two or three times in order to pass. It wasn't that that too much material was covered or too much expected of the students. It was that the little material presented was farking hard to grasp conceptually. If you don't get that " ah ha!" moment where everything clicks, you're not going to pass. I assume parts of organic chemistry to be like that

That means the instructor sucks.  His job is to teach, not just present material.  Any idiot can present material.  If you are on the job and your boss sucks bad enough, no matter how good you are, you are going to fail.


I dated a physics professor for a while. He taught mainly graduate students. One time he was a little down. I asked what was bothering him, and he said that his students weren't getting the material. He was concerned and wondered how he could present it more clearly which makes me think he was ultimately a good teacher. But then, students probably don't go on to graduate studies in physics unless they have an aptitude for it.
 
2022-10-05 6:52:48 AM  

Mr_Vimes: koder: Just because you're good at a field doesn't mean you're good at teaching.

He won several awards for his teaching. Fark those students.


How many awards, when, and who from? Fark knee-jerk assumptions.
 
2022-10-05 6:52:49 AM  

Squik2: Difficult syllabus is no reason to fire a prof

I took a circuit design class that had a 25% pass rate. Most took the class two or three times in order to pass. It wasn't that that too much material was covered or too much expected of the students. It was that the little material presented was farking hard to grasp conceptually. If you don't get that " ah ha!" moment where everything clicks, you're not going to pass. I assume parts of organic chemistry to be like that


It actually has been for a very long time. At my alma mater we had a tenure track math professor who was denied tenure because he was in the habit of giving exams covering 3 to 4 chapters of the book while only teaching two and leaving the others as exercises for the reader. I never had him but I do remember that he bragged of the fact that he gave a 120 point exam And the class average was a 12 with two perfects out of 25 students. One of the perfects was from a student who had previously flunked the class and knew what was coming.

Well I do not doubt grade inflation is a real thing and students seem to expect high grades for no effort, it does seem that this professor was a poor teacher no matter how good a chemist he actually is. To reflect, I had a class from a computer science professor who was the notoriously tough grader in the department. But his tests were always on material that he had covered in class and the man went out of his way to have office hours if you were stuck and would spend lots of extra time to make certain that you understood the material if you were willing to put in the effort. He was not dismissive in class of people who weren't getting it. He got tenure, despite not grading easy.
 
2022-10-05 6:54:06 AM  

koder: Just because you're good at a field doesn't mean you're good at teaching.


According to TFA (reading is FUN-damental), he was tenured at Princeton and even wrote a textbook.

Maybe if Cayden von Brayden spent as much time studying as he did floating petitions demanding teachers be fired because that D- hurt his fee fees, he would have better grades.
 
2022-10-05 6:54:28 AM  
Physical chemist here, so I have my own opinions on organic but there have been a bunch of Twitter comments from other profs about this that indicate things aren't quite as they seem

Over noted that he's one of those that wrote a textbook and then requires his students to buy it

He's also an 80 year old who is talking a slot that might go to someone younger
 
2022-10-05 6:56:37 AM  

koder: Just because you're good at a field doesn't mean you're good at teaching.


Farmers are outstanding in their field
 
2022-10-05 6:56:41 AM  

dsmith42: dodecahedron: vrax: A lot of students should never go straight to a university like NYU.  They should likely work their way up to that level of rigor through local and state schools before enrolling.  But people seem to love wasting their time and lots of money when they aren't actually prepared.  I wonder how well "It's too hard!" goes over at schools like MIT and Caltech.

Organic chem isn't a first or second year subject, and inorganic chemistry does not really prepare you for it. Besides, in a state school science class, you are very likely sitting in a lecture auditorium with 300 other students and not exactly getting the best "level of rigor" as a result.

We took it as sophmores at my university. First year was basic chemistry and lab. Second year ochem and lab that took for farking ever. Third year physical chemistry I and II and labs or biochemistry or both depending on concentration. And yes, it was a state school.


Whether second or third year, I still don't agree with you that there's anything you take in your first or second year that adequately prepares you for OC and thinking in three dimensions from a 2D teaching environment. So no, I still disagree with your assumption about these students not having the adequate level of rigor just because they didn't attend a state school for the first couple of years.
 
Displayed 50 of 237 comments


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | » | Newest | Show all


View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking




On Twitter


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.