Since I have graduated, I am no longer afraid to tell the internet where I went to college: Iowa State University.
This post is a complaint about one of the instructors there. And I will be using her real name so that any potential readers that I may have who might go to ISU who might plan on taking one of her classes might reconsider that decision. Because she sucks.
Her name is Brenna Dixon. She is a Lecturer in the English Department, teaching ENGL 250 and ENGL 304, among other classes. Emphasis on “Lecturer” because it bothered me to no end whenever a student would call her “Professor.” At this time, she is NOT a professor, nor even an assistant professor, thus she has not earned the right to be called that. Since she only has her Master’s degree and no doctorate, in all my communications with her I called her “Ms. Dixon” as is appropriate.
She seems like a likable person. She is happy and cheerful, and she likes students. Heck, she is barely older than most of us. These are qualities that might make a good instructor. The problem is she was very informal and lacked authority, so these qualities make it seem like she is trying to be everyone’s friend and did not establish her as the clear leader in the classroom. The class felt unprofessional. Like my mother used to say, “I not your friend; I am your mother.” The same should be said of teachers. Establish authority. Be the leader. Don’t act too informal. Be professional.
The amount of work she assigned was insane. Yes, I am sure that there were those who could manage it. But I know they were not in the most difficult majors of, say, engineering or physics. They were Elementary Education or English majors. Having many friends in all, I know the workload for the more technical majors is greater than for the more artsy majors. This woman assigned so much reading and writing, it felt like she thought hers was the only class you were taking. Nope, sorry honey! I’ve got a project on Dark Matter to work on, Cosmology homework to finish, Ethics papers to write. I do not have time for your bullcrap.
Sure, the class I took with her was “Introduction to Fiction – Short Story.” But do you know how many short stories we actually wrote? Two five-page stories, double spaced. And then we expanded one of those stories to ten pages. That is it. We spent most of our time reading each other’s stories and writing critiques. And there were several people who had terrible grammar (gross) or terribly boring stories (even more gross).
She also only taught anything for about 4 weeks. Then we just did in class critiques of peer stories. For the rest of the semester. It was monotonous. Considering the English department has a strict attendance policy, this was not fun at all. In fact, this was probably what dropped my grade.
But the real problem I have with Ms. Brenna Dixon is that she is a liar. During the final weeks of class, I had to get a paper signed by each of my instructors designating what the lowest possible grade I could receive in the class would be. The paper was to be submitted to the university’s Enrollment Office, with my ROTC unit receiving a copy. This was done so that the Navy would know that I would pass all my classes and be able to commission.
The paper CLEARLY, in bold letters, read “Minimum Grade.”
Anyway, when she signed my paper, she put down that my minimum grade would be an “A.” I was ecstatic because I thought that, due to my many absences and missed Critical Reading Responses, I would at most receive a “B.” When my grades were officially posted a few days ago, however, she gave me a “C+.” Wow.
I am not mad about getting a C+. Gosh darn, I probably deserve it (even though I received A’s and B’s on all my assignments, so basing a grade off attendance should not be allowed, but that is another story).
What I am mad about is that she lied, cheerfully, straight to my face. She lied to the University, and she lied to ROTC.
Either that or she did not clearly read the paper and put down my maximum grade instead. The paper CLEARLY, in bold letters, read “Minimum Grade.” But after all her preaching about critical reading and making us post so many critical reading responses, you would think that she would be able to read such a simple paper.
So between Liar or Hypocrite, I think I will go with Liar.
There you have it, Brenna Dixon is a Liar. And, for the record, she is the worst instructor I ever had at Iowa State University, bar none! And that is saying something, considering how many bad professors there are in the Physics Department.
I already wrote a very in-depth evaluation of her (a first for me; usually I just skip those). And I have rated her on “Rate My Professor.” I read some of the other ratings on that site, and someone called her “Ditzy Dixon.” The name fits so that it what I will refer to her as for now and forever.
Goodbye, Ditzy Dixon. You better hope you never see me again.