Monday, September 22, 2008

TDR Freshman Issue

The Freshman Issue of The Dartmouth Review is now online, with a little something for everyone, including updates to our infamous Best and Worst Professors column, additions to our list of Courses of Note, and Professor Jeffrey Hart's take on what constitutes a college education.

* Dartmouth's Best and Worst Professors
* Courses of Note
* Greek Life, pen-portraits; Greek Life: A Freshman Girl's Take
* Freshman Etiquette
*A review of freshman summer reading
* Last Word.

18 comments:

doubtingthomas said...

What the heck's going on here?

This year, a professor makes the "best" list:

Professor Heck is one of Dartmouth’s most beloved professors. Her classes in the Art History department stand out for their ability to contextualize art, architecture, history, and culture in their time, weaving each together to give a complete picture. Her class on American Architecture is a must take, as is her Writing 5 class on the founding fathers. Professor Heck’s passions for the American founding, Thomas Jefferson, and colonial architecture are infectious. A fascinating individual both inside and outside the classroom, with classes and office hours always filled to capacity, Professor Heck and her art history classes will change the way you look at the world.

But in 2000, she was on the "worst" list:

Heck's lecture style bears an uncanny resemblence to that of your fifth grade social studies teacher—that really annoying one. Heck's passion is architecture, and she indulges it at the thorough expense of whatever topic her class is nominally about, be it Jefferson or American political thought. Her 'American Intellectual History Before the Civil War' class one summer did not read a single text from the relevant period (Jefferson, Madison, Emerson, and Douglass were all ignored) but they sure saw a lot of slides. Marlene Heck operates on a truly elementary level.

Did she really go from "elementary" to "must-take"? How?

Oh Really? said...

http://dartreview.com/archives/2000/09/18/the_damned_dartmouths_worst_professors.php

which 2000 worst list are you talking about? She's not on there.

doubtingthomas said...

Yes, really. The negative report on Heck was part of the article when it was published in 2000. It remained part of the Review's online archive until it was quietly excised this month, along with the paragraph on Thomas.

This seems a little Orwellian. I guess the paper now claims it didn't actually say what it said eight years ago. I hope the Review asked the editors and writers of the 2000 article before it altered their work to make it look like they intended to leave out Heck and Thomas. At least we will always have the paper copies from that era to set the record straight.

From the version of the 2000 article cached as recently as September 6, 2008:

Marlene Heck
History

Marlene Heck is married to Kevin Reinhardt, one of the finer professor in Dartmouth's Religion Department, and she could certainly benefit from a little advice on the art of teaching. Heck's lecture style bears an uncanny resemblence to that of your fifth grade social studies teacher—that really annoying one. Heck's passion is architecture, and she indulges it at the thorough expense of whatever topic her class is nominally about, be it Jefferson or American political thought. Her 'American Intellectual History Before the Civil War' class one summer did not read a single text from the relevant period (Jefferson, Madison, Emerson, and Douglass were all ignored) but they sure saw a lot of slides. Marlene Heck operates on a truly elementary level.

Christie Thomas
Philosophy

This woman is extremely young, extremely nervous, and has such a difficult time controlling any class that she can't impart any real philosophical insights. The Philosophy Department has several renowned scholars and outstanding teachers—Bernard Gert, Jim Moor, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. The rest of the Department is altogether horrible. Christie Thomas might well be the worst. If you want to re-live your middle-school glory days of lobbing spitballs at a befuddled and bespectacled teacher, take Christie Thomas's classes. There is no other reason.

the Review's archived version of the article is missing both paragraphs.

Anonymous said...

It's not unfathomable that a professor improves with time...and 8 years is a lot of time to improve.

doubtingthomas said...

I guess so, if you really work at it. She got the "Dartmouth Student Assembly Profiles in Excellence Teaching Award" in 2007, and the Review's praise sounds like it was cribbed from the nomination.

That still doesn't explain why the Review went back and whitewashed its past criticism. Probably a disgruntled staffer.

Fair is fair said...

C'mon, kids, fess up! TDR would crucify the Daily D for engaging in similar revisionism. Admit it, you're busted!

doubtingthomas said...

Is this worse than Dartmouth responding to complaints by removing an entire essay wherein Wright talked about the responsibilities of free speech? Dartmouth didn't cut just one paragraph and imply that Wright had never said such a thing.

@ ASE: does this week's Heck Yes paragraph quote a student's writing or Dartmouth PR without attribution? The announcement quoted student nomination statements, and I'm pretty sure one of them made the remarkable claim that Lecturer Heck could 'change the way you look at the world'.

Anonymous said...

Do the prior commenters mean to suggest that professors can never change?

In 2000, the student body was different, the review staff was different, and Heck was 8 years younger and less experienced.

Anonymous said...

Irwin's Free Trade Under Fire merits a mention, as it did several years back in this feature. A WSJ article after Seattle WTO?--That was back in 1999!

anonymous 1:52 said...

To: Anonymous, 10:06.

Someone has been secretly doctoring past issues of the Review on the web to bring them into agreement with today's political winds.

No one has fessed up, apologized, blamed a hacker, or said she got permission from the '01s to go through their writing and delete the sensitive paragraphs.

If The Dartmouth acted like the Review, there would be a big brouhaha.

Instead, people imply it's okay to erase an inconvenient history as long as the professor has gotten better since then. Jeepers.

Michael J. Edgar said...

As the Web Editor of The Review who posted the latest issue online, I will assure our readers that I did not edit the 2000 "Worst Professors" article. I will be looking into who made these edits, or if it is a technical error - and will restore the missing content upon doing so.

Michael J. Edgar '10

Anonymous said...

Only 3 science profs on each of the best and worst lists; and only 1/2 sciences courses (Chem 5/6) reviewed.

Don't you TDR folks take anything other than history, govt, classics, and econ?

No wonder rational analysis appears so infrequently in your work.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you Mr. Edgar, please let your readership know when the censorship has been undone.

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