Petition in Response to Robert Stevens' Music 190 Course sign now

We, the undersigned feel that we have been mislead and mistreated by Professor Robert Stephens throughout Music 190. From the first day of class, Stevens has not followed what we believed were requirements for every professor teaching any course. We were never given a clear syllabus. Our lectures were unclear, disorganized and misleading. Professor Stevens was frequently absent from lecture, leaving the teaching assistants to create a lesson plan on the material they felt would be important to know. The communication between the professor and the TA's was practically non existent. Finally, exams and quizzes were never returned, leaving students confused and unclear about their average in the course, even after the final exam. The following details exactly what has happened in the course over the last three months.

1) The class was never given a clear syllabus. It included no dates, and the only assignment marked on the syllabus was the midterm which was designated as simply 'week 7.' However, after just a few lectures, it because clear to students that the professor was not following his own syllabus, so students did not know when to expect an exam. The teaching assistants confirmed our suspicions that this syllabus was misleading when they told us that certain chapters of the text on the syllabus would be removed from the exam because he never went over them in class. Further, up until the week before the exam the teaching assistants were unclear when the midterm would occur because it had not been prepared, and the professor hadn't given any indication when the exam should be prepared.
2) The communication between the Professor and the teaching assistants was essentially nonexistent. We were told we would have quizzes, and reviewed during discussion periods for them, however these never occurred. Until a week before the midterm, the teaching assistants were unsure of when it would be and exactly what material it would contain. The students and the teaching assistants were never informed how much our two grades, one quiz and one midterm, would be worth in respect to our final average. When the teaching assistants were presented with questions about the grade distribution, they replied that it was the professors decision and he had not yet decided what it would be. When Professor Stevens went to Cuba, any questions we had about the final exam were left unanswered by Professor Stevens and the teaching assistants. This is because, according to the TA's, the professor was not answering his e-mails while in Cuba.
3) Professor Stevens' absence was perhaps the biggest problem for the class. He was present for only two of the lectures after the midterm exam. The teaching assistants distributed a practice final exam, which had a very similar format to the midterm exam, that they felt would include the material we needed to know. Until thirty six hours before the final, we assumed that this material would be the material on the exam, therefore most students studied as such. However, Saturday night, Professor Stephens posted a study guide that was based on material very different than what was on the practice test, and what had not been included in the lectures while he was away. Instead it included material from the textbook which had been strongly de-emphasized during the class. Students were left confused as to what would be emphasized on the exam.
4) The students who studied adequately for the exam agree that they came into the room feeling more than prepared for the final. However, upon first glance it was clear that this exam was very different than any other assignment, practice test, or information we had previously been given. The exam was almost completely fill in the blank. Several of the questions could have been considered subjective, unless one memorized the text book word-for-word, to know exactly what the professor wanted as an answer. The listening samples asked us to identify elements of music such as phrasing which was not clearly defined or demonstrated during class or in the book. The definitions on the exam were obscure and foreign, and students were misled into thinking that they would not appear on an exam. Most students felt this exam was unreasonable, did not stress important information pertinent to the class, and several students expressed this concern directly during the exam.
We understand that the difficulty of the class, the material covered on test and quizzes, and the material presented during lecture are largely up to the discretion of the instructor. However, had we been given correct information with sufficient time to study, it is certain that we as a class would have done much better on the exam. However, we feel that as students who took the time out to study for this class have been betrayed by a distant professor who did not seem to have time for the class but threw an impossible test together at the last moment. While we have not decided what remediation should occur, something should be done. There is no reason why students, who to their best knowledge, had an A average in the class before the final walk out with half an exam blank. There is no reason why a professor should attend fewer lectures than his students. The act of students collaborating together in the most stressful week of the semester speaks for itself. We hope that something will be done so this does not happen to future students.

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Latest Signatures

  • 15 December 201550. Brendan K
    I support this petition
  • 11 December 201549. Laura G
    I support this petition
  • 18 November 201548. Kelly Kathleenm
  • 18 November 201547. Joseph Gforanj
  • 17 November 201546. Daniel W
    this test was a HORRIBLE representation of the material in this class. I wasn't even aware of the "study guide" given by stevens and there was a running joke in our TA's section about not knowing when our midterms were coming back, how they were going to
  • 08 August 201545. Brittany V
    I support this petition
  • 04 August 201544. David Al
    Exam was brutally unfair. I got a 90 on the midterm, on the final, i could have gotten less than a 50 easily.
  • 15 July 201543. Kyle C
    We were also informed that the test would be mostly multiple choice, which greatly affected the method in which I studied, and I admit that the prepared final review posted on-line was very last minute. Im signing this petition only in hopes that our fina
  • 12 July 201542. Robin M
    I support this petition
  • 25 June 201541. Alaina M
    I support this petition
  • 07 February 201540. Jennifer M
    i just want to say that dr stephens is not a bad guy...he just has not been a good teacher over this semester's course. the final was completely unfair due to the facts: 1. he left for cuba for an entire month of classes 2. i am paying to take this class
  • 16 January 201539. Leah W
  • 05 December 201438. Jane D
    It is not the fact that the exam was hard that bothers me, but that we were not prepared at all for an exam of this magnitude, nor were we presented with half this material in class.
  • 29 November 201437. Liana Mb
    I support this petition
  • 13 November 201436. Lisa M
    I support this petition
  • 09 September 201435. Greg N
  • 16 August 201434. Christine N
    I support this petition
  • 05 July 201433. Kristen S
    I support this petition
  • 28 June 201432. Eleni B
    I can honestly say I studied long and hard for this exam and if my gpa suffers because of this final, I'll be devastated. I believe in tough exams, but I also believe in fairness. This exam was anything but.
  • 05 May 201431. Brian P
    I support this petition
  • 28 April 201430. Andrew P
  • 21 April 201429. Sarah S
    the final was way out of line and unfair
  • 06 April 201428. Erika Renaek
  • 27 March 201427. Vyacheslav V
    I think the whole situation with Dr. Stephens is outrageous
  • 15 March 201426. Wayne C
    he said the test would be made up of multiple choice, a matching section, a true/false section, SOME fill in the blanks, and a listening section. The test was 80\% fill in the blanks with maybe three multiple choice questions and a listening section. I st
  • 17 January 201425. Richard F
  • 16 October 201324. Stephanie A
    Even after thoroughly studying his last minute study guide, and feeling VERY prepared for the format we were promised, I too found myself making up answers with the hopes it might earn me a few points. For some of the fill-in-the-blanks, it was nearly imp

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