I would like some advice about a specific professor in my program of study. I seriously feel that this professor has a problem teaching graduate students. On more than one instance, class was let out one hour early because the professor did not have enough material to last the entire allotted two hours of classroom time. The professor is an adjunct, part time lecturer and the class only meets once per week. 15 weeks are scheduled on the syllabus. The professor does not actually teach but flies through PowerPoint slides that are not even his own. For our midterm, I was able to find the answers to the questions online even before the actual exam.

I am a graduate student and have paid serious money to take this course. I would like some advice as to whether its advisable to report to the departmental head or dean regarding this matter. One final note, many of my peers come from a culture where group solidarity is prized over individual rights. Thanks for any feedback!

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    Is your goal to stop the professor from teaching future students, from you being required to take his class, from having to pay for the class, or make him improve his teaching in the future? Oct 29, 2014 at 8:22
  • This is what course evaluations are for. Oct 29, 2014 at 13:46
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    @user1938107 My goal would be make him improve his teaching going forward THIS semester if at all possible. My classmates and I have a consensus. If he does not, the first option would be a backup.
    – Anthony
    Oct 29, 2014 at 14:40
  • A thing that might be of relevance is whether you can give us a background as to how much experience this professor has had teaching. If he's using someone else's slides, this may in fact be, for example, his first time teaching a the subject, and might be applicable in getting a grasp on the instructor's experience.
    – Compass
    Oct 29, 2014 at 18:03
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    @Compass The latest that I could I find on my University's teaching evaluation system was that his earliest course was Fall 2013. This is his only course and he taught this course only once before
    – Anthony
    Oct 29, 2014 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


You should discuss this situation with your department graduate chair or a similar authority. It is important to give your program feedback so that they can improve. However, keep your feedback constructive. The word "report" is excessively negative.

I think you should adopt some perspective. Often, graduate level courses are not treated as seriously as undergraduate courses because graduate students are expected to spend their time on independent research, not course work. Also, while you may be paying a lot of tuition, it is unlikely that an adjunct professor is receiving very much pay. Many adjuncts are working many jobs to pay their living expenses. They often receive no training from employers. Poor teaching by adjuncts can reflect problems with the structure of the institution rather than with the individual adjunct.

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    Regarding the second paragraph, one way to address that is actually complaining. This way the institution gets notified of the problem.
    – Davidmh
    Oct 29, 2014 at 18:05
  • Good point about pay. General question - is the pay of an adjunct public information, or available by request, or does it depend? Oct 29, 2014 at 22:55
  • The pay of employees of public universities is typically a public record. Also see adjunct.chronicle.com Oct 30, 2014 at 2:41
  • @AnonymousPhysicist If I do share my observations, ( phrasing), is it the norm in academia for anonymity to be an option?
    – Anthony
    Oct 30, 2014 at 2:47
  • A minor point - at my institution all courses have a course coordinator/convenor that is a full time employee at the institution (or at least always have been in my experience). If there is such a person for the course you are taking, they might be a better place to start than the graduate chair.
    – DTR
    Oct 30, 2014 at 9:52

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