It is my belief that Dean Vincent used her grading methods to exercise racist practices negatively affecting my successful completion of her class. I am not in the least satisfied that her grading methods are objective nor reflect my understanding and comprehension of pediatric pathophysiology. Dean Vincent emphasized several times that she preferred written examinations because multiple choice exams are too easy for students to pass. I disagree with this logic. A standardized test ensures that every student is graded equally regardless of the teacher administering it. In my experience as a student I have come across teachers that have facilitated my learning to various degrees; most have conveyed a sincere desire in my academic success. Dean Vincent has been one of the few teachers that have treated me with indifference. I have never taken a course where I have felt such despair and isolation.
Unfortunately, racism has played a major role in my life. I grew up in a small community in Rocky Ridge, Ohio. A good part of that time I experienced routine beatings and verbal abuse because of my race, my physical appearance, and my speech. Even in my adult life, I have experience racism but on a more subtle and discreet level. I experienced those same feelings and memories in my interactions with Dean Vincent.
I have become a quite person. Mostly, I don't like to draw attention to myself because I am Mexican. I do not want to be made fun of the way I talk. I do not want others to notice my clothes are not as nice as theirs. As difficult and as uncomfortable as it was, I spoke in Dean Vincent's class among students I did not know. Yet I did not speak enough so Dean Vincent gave me 6/10 points. I felt pressured into this unnatural interaction.
After I failed the first exam, Dean Vincent requested that I meet with her. I scheduled an appointment but made a mistake on the date. Even though I had class with Dean Vincent on the day of the scheduled meeting, she did not make me aware I missed the appointment. She could have asked me, "What happened? You missed your appointment" but she said nothing. While attempting to reschedule the appointment, her secretary conveyed annoyance with me in her voice. While speaking to Dean Vincent, someone knocked on my door with a delivery. I asked Dean Vincent to please hold on and when I returned she had hung up on me.
During my second exam when there was only myself and another student left taking the exam, Dean Vincent began making annoying noises such as sighs, scooting her chair putting things away. The other student finished her exam and turned it in. Then Dean Vincent forced me to turn in my exam too. She claimed that I had more than exceeded my time limit. If that were the case, why didn't she force both of us to turn in our exams when the time limit was exceeded? Why did she wait until the other student completed her exam?
During my final exam when there was few students left taking the exam. Dean Vincent began making loud noises while eating including scraping a spoon on the bottom of a plastic container. I found this extremely annoying.
I did not enjoy the same attention dean Vincent gave other students. Dean Vincent seemed very talkative with other students often helping them with other courses. I was new to the NP program and felt lost with the curriculum. I would have appreciated the insight she gave other students. As I have stated earlier, I find it highly suspicious that the only Mexican in Dean Vincent's class failed miserably while everyone else did exceedingly well.
This grievance cannot be discounted because it's just not possible for faculty universities to be prejudice. "Studies have reported faculty bias toward minority students in grading papers, judging clinical performance, and assessing written examinations" (Villarruel, Canales, & Torres, 2001). "Nurse educators need to acknowledge that, with a few exceptions, racism is endemic in our programs" (Barbee & Gibson, 2001). Hispanic nursing students have identified unsupportive faculty, perceived discrimination from peers and faculty, and a lack of advisement as barriers to advancement in bachelors and masters programs. In a recent study conducted by Villarruel, Canales, & Torres, 2001, the perceived discrimination experienced by participants from peers and faculty in schools of nursing was a "strong and resonant theme". There is no one at this university that I consider a mentor or a role model. I face most problems here at the university on my own.
I must mention that my final grade in nursing 611 from fall semester has been changed mysteriously from a 95% to a 77%. This information came to me in the mail as an official grade report from Oakland University. I would like a rational for this grade change. I interpret it as a form of punishment from Dean Vincent.
I would like to echo the sentiments of a Hispanic nursing student's encounter with her university faculty. This is exactly how I feel after taking Dean Vincent's class: "When I did go apply and talked to someone in faculty, right off the bat I was told 'the nurse practitioner program is closed…that's for the real smart ones, but the CNS track is open.' The CNS is what I wanted anyway, but it was real clear, the NP program was not available to me even if I wanted it."
Please note my undergraduate and graduate transcripts. You will not find any letter grade lower than a B. Also, I have taken courses here at OU that have been far more academically difficult and abstract than a pediatric pathophysiology course. I see two conclusions to this grievance. 1) Dean Vincent has racially discriminated in her grading or 2) I lack the intelligence for pediatric pathophysiology as Dean Vincent claims.
Villarruel, A., Cananales, M., & Torres, S. (2001). Bridges and barriers: Educational mobility of Hispanic nurses. Journal of Nursing Education, 40 (6), 245-51.
Barbee, E., & Gibson, S. (2001) Our dismal progress: The recruitment of non-whites into nursing. Journal of Nursing Education, 40 (6), 243-244.