Students confront SGA with complaints of professor's unfair extra credit practices
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013 01:09
Concerns over the questionable sale of certain textbooks by professors have Student Government Association asking for answers from administration after receiving complaints from several students.
Students have complained to SGA officials about some professors having sales representatives from textbook publishing companies visit classes and sell unnecessary material to students, according to University Affairs Chief Spencer Copeland. He said that the issue is that professors are allegedly offering extra credit points for students who purchase the extra books.
“This crosses so many ethical boundaries,” Copeland said. “There’s no way we’re going to stand for that. We have a feeling that it’s not necessarily a set group of teachers but maybe entire departments, which is even grosser.”
Kaylyn Jensen, sophomore nursing major, said her psychology professor had her class buy a textbook and online content package only for the use of extra credit.
“We don't use the book, but the package is required to do the extra credit,” Jensen said.
She said some students paid upwards of $50 for the material.
Copeland also said he’s had multiple complaints from students about professors using their own publications for classes. It’s unclear, however, if any professors are violating the Texas State University System’s Rules and Regulations for Sam Houston State University.
Chapter V, subsection 4.842 of the Rules and Regulations states that “Textbooks… written or prepared by a member of the faculty of that Component, shall not be prescribed for the use of or sold to such students until such books… have been approved, with reasons stated, by the department head and approved by the academic vice president.”
The rules also indicate that professors must disclose exact pricing and profit before approval.
“If the professor is the leading expert in that field, there’s no reason that the book shouldn’t be used,” Copeland said. “But we need to make sure that it’s actually the best book, and not that they’re just trying to get something money from that.”
Copeland said that he wants to fulfill his duties as a member of SGA and do more than just pass legislation.
“We can write legislation, but personally, that’s not the most effective way,” Copeland said. “Legislation, how I see it, is more symbolic as a whole. We can say that this is what we’re going to do, but because of the nature of legislation… it’s easier to go directly.”
Other issues on SGA’s scope include professors giving extra credit opportunities that require students to do activities that aren’t necessarily beneficial to their education in that class. Another complaint was that some students feel that certain courses require a relatively large amount of writing yet aren’t considered writing enhanced.
SGA is planning a town hall meeting with faculty and staff later in the fall semester where students can voice their concerns directly to SHSU’s administration.