A while ago, when I was still a student of a particular premier institution, I criticized how poor a particular subject department of the institution was. Ruiyuan told me when when I am done with my tertiary education in that subject, perhaps even after completing my PhD, I should write the department a letter to ‘thank’ them for inspiring me. My criticism at that time ranged from the quality of the teachers to the design of lecture notes as well as the general pedagogical approach adopted by the department. Note, of course, that this subject is a social science.
Perhaps I was too anxious, or that this issue have been with me for quite some time – I decided I should do a draft of the letter that I am about to send 8 years or so down the road. Matters then, (hopefully) might not be the same as the present but nonetheless, a nice draft should convince the future me that I took this matter very seriously. Here’s my draft:
To Whom It May Concern
We all know your department sucks, please do the following:
(1) Review your course material and provide more readings (or recommendation on additional readings). Use good English and make sure diagrams are well-annotated. Ensure that your chunks of text in the notes are really in point-form.
(2) Prevent wastage of lecture time by cutting down on the scolding of late-comers, starting lectures on time and removing the administrative need of marking attendance.
(3) Please teach concepts and theories and introduce the history of these discoveries as lesson progresses. Do not merely feed ‘answers’ to the questions you believe would come out for exams. Such ‘assessment-oriented’ approach do not imbue students with the desire to explore the subject for themselves.
(4) Do not make us memorize definitions just for convenience of the markers, it kills our passion for the subject. Focus on making us understand the subject and appreciate the predictive beauty of these theories.
Please consider my suggestion for the good of students passionate about the subject before entering our institution.
Thank you for your kind attention.
To save myself of trouble, I’ll probably be sending out the letter after ORD. Nonetheless, I hope to collect at least a hundred signatures from ex-students (my peers) who have done the subject to accompany the letter, as a demonstration that my letter do indeed holds majority opinion about the department in question. I would also welcome comments on modifying the letter to reduce the impression of an intentional, vicious assault of the department.