Inflating of Marks and Bullied

By Andrew Szanajda

I was repeatedly bullied by the Vice-President of a Taiwanese University when I was employed there.

After the semester started in September 2002, I soon found that massive fraud was taking place in the form of excessive grade inflation for so-called students with whom there was an open tacit understanding that paying one’s tuition and merely attending classes, or at least sufficiently being present for the roll call, would mean eventually getting a degree.

Hence, the business arrangement was for students as customers being welcome to purchase their degrees with a superficial pretense of earning them, while faculty members were reduced to being customer service and sales representatives for a so-called university that was only interested in profiting from selling degrees with no interest in quality control.

Andrew Szanajda

Andrew Szanajda Associate professor, Overseas Chinese University, Taiwan.

Honesty and Integrity

Personally, I refused to undertake teaching work without honesty and integrity, and therefore failed students according to an accurate appraisal of their performances. The president at that time informed the English department faculty members that regardless of our frustration with the students unwillingness to do what they were supposed to do – study and show at least some nominal respect for classroom etiquette – we must not fail more than 15% of any class.

Do not fail more than 5 percent of students

The Vice-President went further, demanding of me personally on several occasions that I do not fail more than 5% of a class, and impose grades on a bell curve, which he claimed was done at reputable universities, while not mentioning that would constitute fraud. When I said I would not be a party to such fraud, I was told that I would do as I’m told if I wanted “to keep working there.”

Threatened with work permit being cancelled

Inflating of Marks and Bullied

Despite failing grades, instructor told to fail no less than 5% of the class. He would not be a party to such fraud, he was bullied and threatened with loss of job.

I refused to compromise my integrity after being repeatedly called to go to his office where the same demand was repeated and was continuously criticized for allegedly being unable to teach.

I was accused of being at fault for the very high failure rates and was even threatened with my work permit being cancelled, which would mean that I would be fired and have to leave the country at short notice, if I didn’t agree to artificially inflate grades to such a high extent that they would be rendered totally meaningless while the so-called students did nothing to earn even passing grades.

The same Vice-President repeatedly told me to resign as well as publicly ridiculed me in department meetings.

Forced to resign

After I refused to comply after being repeatedly threatened and forced to listen to baseless false accusations, I was removed from all of the evening classes at short notice and told my contract would not be renewed for the following year, i.e. forced to resign in a classic case of constructive dismissal, and then easily landing a better job elsewhere where, apart from hiccup experiences with a previous department chair who is best described as a sociopath, there have not been demands to inflate grades with in a completely shamelessly and fraudulent manner.

Andrew Szanajda is currently an associate professor at the Overseas Chinese University.

 

Graphic Illustration:  S Hunt Sound Development

3 Responses to Inflating of Marks and Bullied

  • Neal Schwartz says:

    You are certainly not alone. This was and is a practice in the Primary and Secondary levels of the Philadelphia Public School System. It is also apparently present in many other school systems. Although your encounter was at the College level the basic causes are the same. These include money, intimidation of staff for control, dishonesty,and persons of questionable morals in positions of authority.

  • Andrew Szanajda says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head when it comes to the causes, which all sound perfectly familiar. At the time however, I had never imagined that I had been inadvertently stepped into a college that turned out to be run like a cult, and would become surrounded by customers and employees who had such a putrid tacit understanding between each other.
    As for the barrages of harassment, those were especially appalling since this was a certified college where the bullying vice-president who perhaps bought his Ph.D. at the university of Phoenix should have known better than be completely devoid of professional integrity and not expecting any academic integrity, in addition to making the outrageous claim that “even all good universities impose grades on a bell curve.” This was nothing but yet another insult to my intelligence, and was glad to denounce them in my constructive dismissal resignation statement by writing that my honesty and integrity were not welcome there, and would not be intimidated or even extorted into committing fraud for the sake of their bottom line.

  • Thomas says:

    My wife has worked for the Springfield Public Schools in Springfield , Massachusetts where bullying and intimidation are common.
    She is a good employee, but in a new twist, she is older and was transferred to a school with younger people.
    Age is a factor it appears, and the school is run by about nine people with the mentality of a fruit basket and
    once again, she is being harassed.
    She can retire in two years and I cannot wait until I can publish what she has gone through.
    It is funny, when you think about it, people always talk about the bullying of children in schools.
    It is happening in the workplace.
    It is happening in the Springfield, MA schools and is supported by central office and the unions.

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