I currently have a (graduate) professor who clearly does not understand the material she teaches at the level required by the course. This normally would not be a problem - I'm fine with educating myself via textbook - but unfortunately her inaccurate knowledge also extends to grading. I have no problem with studying hard for a difficult class, but I can't possibly know how to predict the exact incorrect ideas that the professor has and incorporate them into my work.
My first response was to very, verrrrry diplomatically approach the professor and talk to her about the questions - but she immediately became angry. I then talked to my advisor, who said that this isn't the first time she's heard of problems with this teacher. My advisor said that her only idea is for me to go to the head of the department, but I'd really prefer not to do this for two reasons:
- Relatively small department; it's likely that this professor has a good relationship with the department head, and I would look bad
- It seems like a "nuclear option" and I would prefer to avoid it (if possible)
This is my last semester of graduate coursework in molecular biology, and I have never had a problem like this before. I feel like my only option is to drop the course - without it, I would still have all my coursework requirements fulfilled - but I don't want to have a W on my transcript.
I have been unable to come up with a satisfactory way to resolve the problem.
Possibly helpful additional information
- I have talked to other students in the class; all (of the six I have talked to about the issue) have experienced similar problems in grading
- I have confirmation from other teachers that my answers are correct, but they don't want to confront a colleague (and I can't fault them for this)
- I don't dislike the teacher; she seems like a relatively OK person. I just wish she understood the content better
- The teacher can't possibly have a grudge against me, since I had never met her before the class
- I'm very interested in what this class covers, which is why I took it despite not needing to
- I have taught some of this material at the undergraduate and graduate level; I understand it's difficult stuff. It's more the teacher's attitude towards grading that is the problem.