Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education


Date of this Version



Essays on Teaching Excellence" Toward the Best in the Academy (1994-1995) 6(3)

A publication of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education


Copyright 1995, Rita Rodabaugh. Used by permission


If we remember our own college days, most of us can think of at least one professor who was less than ideal. All of us have had professors who fit one or more of the following descriptions: dull, boring lecturer; confusing and hard to follow; too easy and presents no challenge; and so on. Yet if you describe your worst experience as a student, more than likely it was one in which you were treated unfairly.

For the past two years, much of my research has focused on college students' perceptions of fair practices in the classroom. From this research, I have concluded that unfair treatment is probably the single most important factor in student dissatisfaction with college and student attrition, and perhaps a major contributing factor in students' not achieving to potential. No matter how dynamic and interesting a professor is; no matter how creative he/she is in developing and using innovative techniques in the classroom; and no matter how organized and focused she/he is -- if the professor uses unfair practices in the classroom, all of that dynamic, creative brilliance will be for naught.