Last semester I taught a course and this semester I’m taking one. I’m nuts, huh? Most people who are on the verge of being 27 and already have a Masters Degree are doing all that they can to stay away from being a student in a classroom again!
Monmouth University is offering a course that falls directly in line with what I do for a living (it’s about various approaches to fundraising). My company and I felt that it would be good for my “professional development” and that since it was so close to home, I should pursue the course. I agreed and this ultimately led to a huge hassle with the Monmouth University administration (who managed to not only get a $35 application fee out of me, but also to double-charge me for a parking ticket that I apparently received as an undergraduate and would have to have paid already in order to graduate). For those out there in the working world, I can sum up my experiences trying to take this course very simply – Monmouth University is not prepared or ready to offer professional development courses.
Not only was I treated like an 18 year-old kid who was just starting college, but even after establishing that I was an alumnus of the university, a part-time employee of the university, and that I had a Masters Degree and thus was not interested in applying for a Masters Degree program – the folks on the phone still couldn’t fathom what I was trying to do. What was I trying to do? Audit a course for professional development. Simple. Unfortunately, until their professional development admittance procedure is more “professional,” I will not be able to recommend to any of my professional colleagues that they attend MU to learn more about their trades.
Class started this past Monday night and I immediately remembered why I left Monmouth’s Masters Program after one semester a few years ago. The atmosphere in the classroom was uniquely Monmouth. The teacher treated the students as though they were incoming Freshmen and the requirements for the course look almost exactly like what one would expect out of a Freshman Seminar class. There are four 3-page papers, three 3-minute presentations, and a group project all due in the semester. We were lectured for about 20 minutes on the importance of not having a cell phone ring during class time. We were reprimanded in advance for missing any scheduled classes and scolded about how our final grade would be effected. I’m auditing the course, so I’m getting an “AU” as a grade no matter what I do.
But what shocked me the most on the first night was how the course description was changed before our eyes. It’s a little bit hard to explain, but the course description that sold me on the course was changed to include this course as a subsection of a larger study, which wasn’t what I was sold. The thing is, I’ve been through the Monmouth system before I and I realize there is no use in complaining because it gets no where; the system is specifically set up to be hard to navigate and tedious. This is why I loved going to Rutgers so much (in my view, Rutgers handled problems before they even popped up).
But I’m smart enough to realize that the pre-class administrative nightmare should have no bearing on my perception of the course and the first night of class should have little influence on my overall recommendation of the course itself, so I will reserve a final judgment until the course ends. I will say, however, that so far I’ve gotten exactly what I expected out of Monmouth…
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