GUSA creates petition for greater transparency in the Foreign Language and Linguistics Department
In yesterday’s weekly GUSA email, they included a petition to have greater transparency regarding doctoral candidates teaching classes within the Foreign Language and Linguistics Department (FLL). The petition was authored by GUSA Senator At-Large Adam Shinbrot (COL ’18).
According to Shinbrot, one of the major issues regarding transparency in the department is that if students have a problem with an instructor, suggestions about improving the class, or a question in general, they are not told who to contact.
“Some departments have people on staff who are in charge of teaching Ph.D. students how to instruct a class, and giving students this person’s contact information in the syllabus would be really helpful,” he told Vox. “Students are also not made aware that instructors actually have to go through substantial training to be permitted to teach classes.”
Shinbrot, who was initially under the impression that these Ph.D. students did not have any special training at all, said he believes that students should receive clarity regarding the use of their tuition dollars and deserve to know that they are getting the best instructors the University has to offer.
As a point of clarification, not all departments in the FLL use doctoral candidate students to instruct classes, and some departments do not even have a Ph.D. program.
“However, the departments who do take part in this all require instructors to undergo some sort of training,” Shinbrot said. “For example, in the linguistics department, there is an extensive course on how to teach linguistics and set of evaluations done by university professors before they are allowed to teach a class.”
The ultimate goal of this petition, according to Shinbrot, is for Georgetown to be more open and informative upfront with students.
“Simply, I want Georgetown to take the 15 extra minutes during syllabus week to tell students this information and to outline it in the syllabus,” he said. “I also hope that the university continues to ensure that instructors are qualified and effective teachers.”
Photo: Georgetown University