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April 3rd, 2015
Letter to the editor

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Dear Editor,

I looked forward to attending UCM. I looked forward to attending classes, albeit online, and interacting with my peers. I looked forward to my GI Bill actually amounting to something. I looked forward to a staff that supported its students and teachers who actually cared about the educational process. I looked forward to a lot of things.

Last Friday I withdrew from UCM. I will never return. The bulk of the things I looked forward to never transpired. I kept my end of the bargain. Where was the school?

I took one class in the compressed spring semester, CDM3000 (Introduction to Crisis and Disaster Management). I’ve taken a number of Federal Emergency Management Agency courses, so this seemed to be a good fit. I dove into the course with passion and motivation. It was almost three weeks before I received my first grade from the instructor (adjunct). For my initial class submission and my biography/introduction on Blackboard, I received 10/15 and 5/10 with no instructor comments. My wife enjoyed the fact that I flunked my biography. I had taken two automated quizzes at that point, with a 98 percent average. What went wrong?

I tried to contact my instructor. No joy. I contacted the department head. She was dismissive and made every excuse for the instructor. She offered to “fix my grades.” I contacted the president and the provost’s office. Same treatment with a non-committal “we’ll get back to you.” I received a phone call from the finance office. I was told the president’s office had directed that my fees be refunded. I contacted the veterans office. I received staunch support, from the crisis and disaster management department head, who is a friend of a veterans office worker.

I finally heard from the instructor 2 1/2 days after my message, a terse note saying that they found a problem in the grading criteria. They had been using a previous course’s protocols on this new course. Maybe that’s why the data for the midterm was dated November 2014.

No attempt has been made by the school to contact me regarding this matter. You would think that in a matter as serious as this, and with the promise of being contacted, that the school would be prompt. One can only speculate why they are staying so silent, when they know I have the evidence.

Students of all ages come prepared to learn and have a reasonable expectation that their instructors will come with a similar dedication to teach. I know I had it when I was an instructor in the Marine Corps. Perhaps that’s too much to ask at UCM. So much for integrity and responsibility.

Stuart Bracken,
B.S. (History ‘86)
M.A. (Adult Education ‘91)

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