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Professor removed for tough grading (Grade inflation has become the norm at LSU)
American Thinker ^ | 04/16/2010 | Thomas Lifson

Posted on 04/16/2010 7:33:18 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Grade inflation appears to have become policy at Louisiana State University, where Professor Dominique G. Homberger was removed from teaching an introductory biology course for giving tough grades. USA Today reports that the professor

... gives brief quizzes at the beginning of every class, to assure attendance and to make sure students are doing the reading. On her tests, she doesn't use a curve, as she believes that students must achieve mastery of the subject matter, not just achieve more mastery than the worst students in the course. For multiple choice questions, she gives 10 possible answers, not the expected 4, as she doesn't want students to get very far with guessing.

Kevin Carman, dean of the College of Basic Sciences, issued a statement, including:

"The class in question is an entry-level biology class for non-science majors, and, at mid-term, more than 90% of the students in Dr. Homberger's class were failing or had dropped the class. The extreme nature of the grading raised a concern, and we felt it was important to take some action to ensure that our students receive a rigorous, but fair, education. Professor Homberger is not being penalized in any way; her salary has not been decreased nor has any aspect of her appointment been changed."

Professor Homberger was using an ancient and honorable technique, shocking students into realizing how little they know, and how hard they will have to work if they want to become knowledgeable in a particular field. I am still grateful to my high school Latin teacher, Miss Williams, who taught me that grades had to be earned with hard work and endless memorization of verb conjugations. She was known as a holy terror, who whipped youngsters into shape. Whatever academic success I found later in life had something to do with Miss Williams giving me low grades on my first two Latin tests.

Professor Homberger understands this process far better than her dean:

"I believe in these students. They are capable," she said. And given that LSU boasts of being the state flagship, she said, she should hold students to high standards. Many of these students are in their first year, and are taking their first college-level science course, so there is an adjustment for them to make, Homberger said. But that doesn't mean professors should lower standards.

Homberger said she was told that some students had complained about her grades on the first test. "We are listening to the students who make excuses, and this is unfair to the other students," she said. "I think it's unfair to the students" to send a message that the way to deal with a difficult learning situation is "to complain" rather than to study harder.

Has LSU ever removed a professor for giving too many high grades? As a recoverign academic myself, I know that the easiest path is to give high grades. Nobody ever complains. But you cheat the students who could be doing much better.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: academia; college; education; gradeinflation; lsu; touchgrading
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1 posted on 04/16/2010 7:33:18 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
We need more like her...


2 posted on 04/16/2010 7:39:23 AM PDT by darkwing104 (Lets get dangerous)
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To: SeekAndFind
"I believe in these students. They are capable,"

Good for her! Finally, a professor who understands that coddling these kids does nothing but cripple them later in life when they run face-first into reality.

3 posted on 04/16/2010 7:39:23 AM PDT by thecabal (Destroy Progressivism)
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To: SeekAndFind

Grading on a curve was the beginning of the end, IMHO


4 posted on 04/16/2010 7:40:10 AM PDT by divine_moment_of_facts (Give me Liberty.. or I'll get up and get it for myself!)
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To: SeekAndFind

President Obummer removed for two-faced gloating (lying and bragging about it has become the norm at WH)


5 posted on 04/16/2010 7:41:28 AM PDT by bunkerhill7
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To: SeekAndFind

I hypothesize that if you spent more time reading the class material and showing up for class and less time staying up all night to do bong hits and missing her class, you would be passing her class.


6 posted on 04/16/2010 7:42:05 AM PDT by RC one (WHAT!!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

You make your course ridiculously easy, you get good student evaluations, the administration pats you on the back and this keeps the enrollment high and the tuition bucks coming in.

That’s exactly what I am involved with and I don’t care, I play the game because as a grad student I only have to do it one more year. But God bless this professor.


7 posted on 04/16/2010 7:42:37 AM PDT by Catphish
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To: SeekAndFind

I wonder how many LSU football and basketball players were in her class and whether the coaches made a phone call to the Dean.


8 posted on 04/16/2010 7:43:40 AM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: Labyrinthos

It’s a far cry from the days when Woody Hayes taught a History class at Ohio State.


9 posted on 04/16/2010 7:46:28 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: SeekAndFind

However, if 90% of the class is failing, she needs to do something differently.


10 posted on 04/16/2010 7:46:52 AM PDT by twigs
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To: SeekAndFind

ha, if only Obozo had encountered enough profs like this at Columbia and Harvard..... he never could have graduated!


11 posted on 04/16/2010 7:47:31 AM PDT by Enchante (Obama and Brennan think that 20% of terrorists re-joining the battle is just fine with them)
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To: SeekAndFind

AHA!!!Caught that bitch being a good teacher......fire her immediately...what if this gets out!!!


12 posted on 04/16/2010 7:48:30 AM PDT by ontap
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To: thecabal
Good for her! Finally, a professor who understands that coddling these kids does nothing but cripple them later in life when they run face-first into reality.

Is this phenomenon limited to the likes of LSU, or are even Ivy Leagues doing the same ?
13 posted on 04/16/2010 7:49:07 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: Catphish

“You make your course ridiculously easy, you get good student evaluations, the administration pats you on the back and this keeps the enrollment high and the tuition bucks coming in.

That’s exactly what I am involved with and I don’t care, I play the game because as a grad student I only have to do it one more year. But God bless this professor.

We appreciate your candor.


14 posted on 04/16/2010 7:49:33 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Support our troops....and vote out the RINOS!)
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To: SeekAndFind
My natural tendency is to side with the professor, but there are exceptions. I had a high school advanced math teacher who so traumatized me with his tests, that I went from intending to be a double E to pre-med, just so I wouldn't have to take much mathematics.

After I received my degree, I finally worked up the courage to take calculus. I wound up with a minor in math with a B+ average.

There are such things as abusive teachers who beat down students to stroke their own egos.

Don't know which this is, but as it is LSU (my alma mater), I suspect this is simply PC running the school and tearing down a good professor.
15 posted on 04/16/2010 7:50:07 AM PDT by Sudetenland (Slow to anger but terrible in vengence...such is the character of the American people.)
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To: Sudetenland
After I received my degree, I finally worked up the courage to take calculus. I wound up with a minor in math with a B+ average.

So, what are you now ? A doctor or an Electrical Engineer ?
16 posted on 04/16/2010 7:51:08 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: Labyrinthos

Actually not all athletes are poor students. Some of them are very good students, do the work, and show respect to the professors. They tend to be the swimmers, lacrosse players, and runners. Football and basketball players can be problematic but not all athletes.


17 posted on 04/16/2010 7:53:16 AM PDT by ladyjane
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To: twigs

Bull! It’s a college course if you are failing you have to cut down on the parties and study. Ten percent passed it so it is not an impossible task!! I think the 90% are probably either hunkering down or have dropped the course, either way her class will improve considerably.


18 posted on 04/16/2010 7:54:11 AM PDT by ontap
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To: SeekAndFind

Some Ivy League schools are far wose. Take a look at the reading lists for Cornell humanities courses, for example. What is said about white males would be hate speech if said about any other minority.


19 posted on 04/16/2010 7:54:14 AM PDT by bIlluminati (Don't just hope for change, work for change in 2010.)
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To: SeekAndFind

You mean she expects people to work, study, learn and succeed??? Why the BASTARD!!!


20 posted on 04/16/2010 7:55:02 AM PDT by Oldpuppymax
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To: SeekAndFind

Grading on the curve is great when you have a large group and a competitive enviroment. You can still have a minimum standard for passing.
A lot of these math and science courses for non-tech students are a joke however. They teach them moreas history of courses than any solid.


21 posted on 04/16/2010 7:55:10 AM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: SeekAndFind

One would think that a 90% failure rate would reflect poorly on the teacher. I’m not sure that it has anything to do with her grading too hard ... but, apparently, she wasn’t teaching anyone anything.

If 90% of your students can’t pass your test, you’re probably part of the problem. Your job is to prepare your students for your test.

SnakeDoc


22 posted on 04/16/2010 7:55:14 AM PDT by SnakeDoctor ("The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant [...] that even a god-king can bleed.")
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To: Sudetenland

I had a similar experience as a freshman in an English class. The prof had a very off-putting way of teaching and threatened to fail everyone except for me and another person who would get C’s, which is what showed up on my grade card at the end of the term. Months later when I got my transcript for transfer to another school, I found that the grade had been changed to an A. I always figured the administration must have told her she had to grade on the curve. I heard she wasn’t back the following year.


23 posted on 04/16/2010 7:56:35 AM PDT by Menehune56 ("Let them hate so long as they fear" (Oderint Dum Metuant), Lucius Accius, (170 BC - 86 BC))
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To: SeekAndFind

My email message to Dr. Homberger:

To: ‘zodhomb@lsu.edu
Subject: Grading in Higher Education

Professor Dr. Homberger:
Many thanks for your efforts to maintain academic standards, Good luck with the LSU administration.
Regards,


24 posted on 04/16/2010 7:57:22 AM PDT by bjc (Check the data!!)
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To: Labyrinthos

Bingo!


25 posted on 04/16/2010 7:57:44 AM PDT by thecabal (Destroy Progressivism)
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To: SeekAndFind

Grade inflation appears to have become policy at Louisiana State University, where Professor Dominique G. Homberger was removed from teaching an introductory biology course for giving tough grades.

Poor little students. Their lives are ruined by this hard grading professor. Oh, what will become of them, oh, woe.
For goodness sakes, when I was in school I had an English teacher that proudly proclaimed that most of us would never see a B in her class. We worked our butts off to prove her wrong. While some did, unfortunately, I didn’t. But, I sure learned a lot in that class.


26 posted on 04/16/2010 7:57:57 AM PDT by Bitsy
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To: SeekAndFind

“...LSU boasts of being the state flagship...”

Dumbing down education for globalization; these students should get use to bowing as part of daily employment.


27 posted on 04/16/2010 7:58:13 AM PDT by ntmxx (I am not so sure about this misdirection!)
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To: darkwing104

Absolutely. If the grades are “easy” then the diploma is worthless.............


28 posted on 04/16/2010 7:58:34 AM PDT by Red Badger (Education makes people easy to lead, difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.)
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To: SeekAndFind
That kind of test is what we used to get in Zoology.

You'd get maybe 6 choices, then you'd get choices like, 7: All of the above; 8: None of the above; 9: A and B, definitely not C, D and E, possibly F. 10: Definitely not A or B, possible C, D, and E and certainly F.

Well, you get the idea.

We hated those multiple choice tests, but it seems that is the way the subject was taught back then, becuase I've spoken to others that took the subject at a different school and their recollections are the same as mine.

29 posted on 04/16/2010 7:58:53 AM PDT by HIDEK6
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To: twigs

+1


30 posted on 04/16/2010 8:02:35 AM PDT by stormer
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To: SeekAndFind

Nothing new here. At my major northeast state university, promotion and tenure considerations include student evaluations. As long as student evaluations are good (better than 4 on a scale of 1-5), other factors are considered. If student evaluations fall below 4, it really doesn’t matter what else you do.

So... Give higher grades, get better evaluations, get promoted. Until colleges stop using student evaluations as a primary factor in promotion and tenure, the dumbing down will continue.

In the 31 years that I have been teaching, the standards have dropped to a point where students do not feel a need to study outside of class. Ever.


31 posted on 04/16/2010 8:02:54 AM PDT by Poser (Enjoying Prime Rib for 58 Years!)
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To: SnakeDoctor

32 posted on 04/16/2010 8:04:01 AM PDT by stormer
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To: SeekAndFind
We had a couple of Chinese exchange students in my graduate school. One had a good grasp of English, but the other one had a lot of problems. She didn't grasp the subject matter and had been given a pass by all the professors. She couldn't give a presentation, her papers were gibberish, and her responses in debates were unintelligible. One of the professors failed her and got so much flack from the Dean that he resigned his teaching position.
33 posted on 04/16/2010 8:05:16 AM PDT by mbynack (Retired USAF SMSgt)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’d say that she is doing one thing wrong. She needs to coordinate her efforts with the other professors in her department. It would be MUCH better to raise the standards across the board somewhat than to create a situation where one entry-level class is dramatically harder than all of the others.


34 posted on 04/16/2010 8:05:43 AM PDT by Onelifetogive (Flame away...)
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To: SeekAndFind

So...my daughter is taking a Calc-based Physics class and the teacher grades on a curve - the classic curve where the highest student gets enough points to get a 100 and everyone else gets that many points added.

As of mid-term 26 out of 53 students had dropped because they had a D or lower and many filed complaints about the professor.

Guess whose daughter was busting the curve with 97’s and 99’s?

My advice to the others? Show up for class, listen, take notes, do the homework, study, and try to get to bed before 3 am, then you’d be sitting pretty with high 90’s too.


35 posted on 04/16/2010 8:07:36 AM PDT by SoftballMominVA
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To: SeekAndFind

I recall taking a “find out how much you don’t know” test in English in High School. It was a hell of a test.

I went to a very good high school in a well-to-do Houston suburb. I was in an “advanced placement” college-level English class surrounded by the elite students in the school ... co-valedictorians (twin sisters, by the way), the entirety of the high school National Honors Society ... pretty much the intellectual leaders of the school (many of which were well smarter and more driven than I). From that class of thirty, I know of four doctors, two surgeons (not included in the doctors), three attorneys, a professional musician, and many graduates of elite colleges around this country. It was a class of high achievers.

The test was multiple choice ... 100 questions ... six-to-ten answer choices per question ... “mark all that apply” (i.e. if the answer was ABF, and you mark only AF ... you’re wrong).

The ENTIRE class failed (and these were kids that didn’t fail at ANYTHING). Though I would put MANY graduates of that class well beyond me in intellect ... I got the second highest score in the class — a 32%. The average score was 19%. It was a nightmare of a test.

SnakeDoc


36 posted on 04/16/2010 8:07:44 AM PDT by SnakeDoctor ("The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant [...] that even a god-king can bleed.")
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To: SeekAndFind

I had a Physics class and over half the class failed the first exam. The professor callout out about 20 names and advised them to drop the class because they didn’t have the skills to pass. He didn’t fudge a grade at all. If your grade was a 79.9, you got a C.


37 posted on 04/16/2010 8:07:56 AM PDT by mbynack (Retired USAF SMSgt)
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To: Catphish
You make your course ridiculously easy, you get good student evaluations, the administration pats you on the back and this keeps the enrollment high and the tuition bucks coming in.

This is EXACTLY true. I've been "pleasantly advised" to make sure that there are few failures in the courses I teach.

38 posted on 04/16/2010 8:09:42 AM PDT by cammie
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To: SeekAndFind
Education is secondary by today's standards , indoctrination however is the main course and it's inserted in every class in most colleges .
39 posted on 04/16/2010 8:09:50 AM PDT by lionheart 247365 (-:{ GLEN BECK is 0bama's TRANSPARENCY CZAR }:-)
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To: twigs

The 90% might try something different.


40 posted on 04/16/2010 8:10:04 AM PDT by lonestar (Better Obama picks his nose than our pockets!)
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To: SeekAndFind
Used to be, physics, biology, chemistry, and higher math were the courses used to weed out the dummies and lazy students and keep them from advancing into engineering, medicine, and chemistry. Seems like the schools want to graduate engineers that can't engineer.

This is just in time - after the passing of Obamacare, they're going to need a ton of new doctors to replace the ones that are or will soon be leaving. Lowering the standards will flood the field with fresh DINOs (Doctors in name only), many of whom should not be trusted with a scalpel.

41 posted on 04/16/2010 8:10:19 AM PDT by meyer (It's time...)
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To: SeekAndFind

She could the right in her standards but I had two teachers while in school that their goal was to fail a large percentage of the class to prove the were tough. It was for their ego and not the students. Once you start failing 90% of your class maybe your just a crappy teacher.


42 posted on 04/16/2010 8:14:17 AM PDT by ThomasThomas (Sometimes I like nuts. That's why I am here.)
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To: twigs
I agree. As a college freshman in 1965 I had to take English 103—notorious as a flunk out class to cull out a goodly percentage of the freshman class. After our first essay, Teacher told me I should have taken the exemption test—I wouldn't even need to have taken the class ( I came from a very good college prep high school). I ended us with a C minus in the class. She gave out one B, and a few D's. Everyone else flunked. She had been warned before about too tough grading, and got fired.
43 posted on 04/16/2010 8:14:36 AM PDT by johnandrhonda (have you hugged your banjo today?)
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To: Labyrinthos
I wonder how many LSU football and basketball players were enrolled in her class and whether the coaches made a phone call to the Dean.

BINGO!

44 posted on 04/16/2010 8:15:24 AM PDT by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: SoftballMominVA
Guess whose daughter was busting the curve with 97’s and 99’s?

A couple of students in my business statistics class got a little upset with me for doing the same thing. I was the ONLY student in that class that had taken any calculus. I set up a couple of group-study meetings with a few other students to try to bring them up to speed. Many had simply not been exposed to any math since basic algebra in high school some 20 years earlier.

45 posted on 04/16/2010 8:15:30 AM PDT by meyer (It's time...)
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To: SnakeDoctor

Your job as a college professor is not to prepare students for a test...your job as a college professor is to share your knowledge of the subject area. Whether the students choose to internalize that knowledge - that’s up to them.

Before I started teaching in a college, I would have agreed with you that a 90% failure rate would reflect badly on a teacher. But now after four years of dumbing down test after test for my undergrad students because they refuse to read the text or take notes but, because I’m not yet tenured, their evaluations matter, while at the same time seeing grad students I teach at another university read, take notes, ask questions, and do swimmingly, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us are teaching at schools where over 50% of our students just shouldn’t be in college.


46 posted on 04/16/2010 8:15:43 AM PDT by cammie
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To: SeekAndFind

I had an intro biology teacher that was impossible to get a good grade in her class. And not because she was “tough” but because she couldn’t teach worth a crap and she would have doctorate level questions on an intro test.


47 posted on 04/16/2010 8:18:35 AM PDT by Sir Gawain
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To: darkwing104

Darkwing, we most certainly do need many more like Dr.Homberger, but we WON”T get them.

First, she was educated in Switzerland. One look at her published papers makes clear that she does good work.

Secondly, LSU, and most of the rest of American Academented institutes, are infested with the socialism impaired trough feeders.

Look to the Internet and private,market driven accreditation/testing services to produce the most hireable people in the future.


48 posted on 04/16/2010 8:20:19 AM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is essential to examine principles,)
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To: cammie

>> Your job as a college professor is not to prepare students for a test...your job as a college professor is to share your knowledge of the subject area. Whether the students choose to internalize that knowledge - that’s up to them.

If a professor’s job is just to “share [their] knowledge of the subject area”, but he or she bears no responsibility for whether that knowledge is actually transmitted successfully ... you’ve got a convenient system in which the job performance of a professor cannot be evaluated.

A teacher’s job is to teach ... not simply to “share”. The only way to determine how well a teacher teaches by measuring how well the students learn.

Certainly there is student responsbility in this. An individual student has no cause to blame the teacher ... but a teacher for whom 90% fail cannot fully blame the students.

Like an employee’s work reflects both on the employee and his supervisor — a student’s work reflects both on a student and his teacher. If 90% of employees were unsuccessful in a job, a supervisor’s head would roll ... why should a 90% failure rate not reflect poorly on a teacher?

SnakeDoc


49 posted on 04/16/2010 8:25:04 AM PDT by SnakeDoctor ("The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant [...] that even a god-king can bleed.")
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To: meyer

She offered to do study sessions in her physics class - in a library conference room 2 days a week, but it was a no-go. It seems the bulk of them preferred to be in a more relaxed setting, like in a dorm room, with pizza, and beer.

Mmmmm... not so much


50 posted on 04/16/2010 8:26:08 AM PDT by SoftballMominVA
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