10 November 2010

Exam anxiety + academic standards = drama!

A math graduate student doesn’t complete all his required classes. Instead, an undergrad class is allowed to substitute for a doctoral class.

The student fails the comprehensive examinations. Twice.

After failing the exams twice, the student then claims to have exam anxiety, and asks for accommodations for this disability. The University of Manitoba decides to award the student a doctorate in mathematics.

Oh wait, we haven’t even gotten to the drama yet.

Astonishingly, an assistant professor (that is, someone without who probably does not have tenure, the major mechanism in place to protect instructors from being punished for speaking their minds), Gábor Lukács, goes to court, asking that his university not award this student a doctorate.

The University of Manitoba suspended Dr. Lukács without pay for three months for insubordination.

I’m sorry, but University of Manitoba? You are in the wrong on this one, at least on the issue of the initial request for accommodation. Someone should ask for accommodation before the fact, not after it - twice. That’s the transparent thing to so. Accommodation should be limited by what is reasonable, and not be a permit to do whatever the requester wants.

The facts of the case were reported by The Current radio show, Macleans, and the National Post.

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