I have a professor who is teaching an upper class man renaissance art history course. I am very passionate about this subject so I already have lots of prior knowledge.

I found some inaccuracies in her lectures and tried to confront her about them, providing sources and all. She still insists she is correct and graded me unfairly. Again, this is an upper class course and she teaches it like an introductory level course. The information she provides is inaccurate and she teaches by asking us to a memorize each picture and its statistics (name, date, medium, size, location), and covers none of the historical elements of the piece artist or era.

I'm very frustrated with her and I'm not sure what to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • 7
    Can you drop the course? Can you test out of it later? Confrontation will probably hurt you.
    – Buffy
    Sep 25, 2020 at 19:50
  • 1
    Keep in mind that humanities professors are often paid less than minimum wage. Sep 26, 2020 at 6:30
  • 2
    I hope you user name on here is not real... If your targeted lecturer sees it it may not help you.
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 26, 2020 at 8:03
  • 1
    @user111388 United States, because of the free market. Sep 26, 2020 at 10:02
  • 1
    @AnonymousPhysicist Really? At university level? It's mind blowing
    – AnOrAn
    Sep 26, 2020 at 15:04

2 Answers 2


Your professor sounds simply incompetent - sorry you have to deal with this, but it is an unfortunate fact of life that one runs across such people every once in a while, in academia and pretty much everywhere else.

As for what to do: about the unfair grading, follow the process for appealing a grade. About her general incompetence, if she is grossly incompetent, a reasonable option would be to complain about her to the art history department. If she is only mildly incompetent, you can drop the class or leave a bad review at the end of the semester. Those are your options really, I doubt anyone will be able to offer anything substantially different. Good luck!

  • 3
    You might be right, but before being confident of that, one needs to think about: 1. Are the 'sources' that OP cited high-quality (e.g. peer-reviewed)? 2. Among sources of similar or higher quality to those cited by OP, is there a true consensus position on the points of contention between OP and professor? 3. What are the published intended learning outcomes of the course, and is focusing on 'name, date, medium, size, location' well-aligned with those outcomes? 4. Is there a respectable school of art criticism that does avoid referring to 'historical elements of the piece artist or era'? Sep 26, 2020 at 15:55

I have been in a similar situation with a statistics professor when I was in college. I think that the best option would be to talk to the department chair. This is assuming that what you are discussing is factual errors, of course, and not different interpretations of art, etc.

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