Alum urges real learning, classroom efficiency


I’m responding to Aryssa Carvalho’s Op-Ed about Upper Division GE classes from Issue 7.

I graduated from SSU with a B.S. in Business Admin. in 2011 and I am in my final semester of the MBA program.  After many years here, I cannot help but to agree with the points that Miss Carvalho brings up.  I had the unfortunate luck of taking all three of my Upper Division GE classes in one semester.  One class was great, the Holocaust lecture series.  The other two were beyond terrible.  

For one of them, the professor let the students modify the syllabus as we went along.  Most people can imagine how much we actually learned: nothing.  The other class’ professor was a space-case that was so far out in left field that the majority of class was disconnected the entire semester.  I’ll save the topic of teachers who say “I’m tenured; I don’t care” for another day.

One of the factors that lead me to pursue my MBA was how little I felt I learned in my undergraduate program, even in many of my business classes.  I know that higher education is not even close to keeping pace with the skills that the job market is looking for. Every single week I read stories in the Harvard Business Review, Gallup, Yahoo Finance and the New York Times about the immense and growing gap between recent graduates and the entry-level skills that employers are looking for.  I understand that it takes a lot of time to develop and implement curriculum, but the decades-old method of teaching that SSU and other colleges utilizes is obsolete.

Sadly, some of my MBA courses have been nearly as useless as those in my undergraduate program.  I’ve been working full time since I graduated in 2011 with a handful of jobs (our MBA courses are taught at night).  I fail to find any connection between my work and my undergraduate education.  Some of the graduate level classes are lacking as well.  In my first years of college, I thought the old saying that “those who can’t do, teach” was silly.  Sadly, my opinion has changed since.  At this point, I feel as though both of my degrees will simply be pieces of paper that say I can handle the tediousness of school.

To conclude, please know that I have met many great people here including students, professors and administrators.  But to me, these people are great for what they do outside of the classroom.  Yes, there were moments in class where I learned quite a bit, but it is no longer adequate to place students in groups of 30-100 in a room for two hours to listen to a professor who often doesn’t even know how to use a computer.

Stephen Kirschenmann

B.S. Business Administration, Spring 2011

MBA, Fall 2013