Change in professor affects course
Anna Heckel said she was apprehensive when the teacher for one of the last classes in her Spanish minor was unable to teach anymore and another teacher was assigned the class.
“I had known the previous teacher very well, so I knew what to expect concerning homework and assignments,” she said. “For this new teacher, I had no idea.”
Heckel is in the SPAN302: Composition and Conversation class taught by Divya Sachdeva.
Sachdeva found out that she would be teaching two sections of that particular class five days before classes started.
“It does require a lot of preparation, and so for me I kind of wish I had known a little earlier because I’m teaching this advanced class,” she said. “The department really puts a very strong curriculum on this course.”
Sachdeva previously has taught SPAN101, SPAN102 and SPAN202 here at Towson and taught SPAN301 and 302 at the University of Maryland, College Park.
After a brief hiatus from teaching at Towson, this is her first semester back and she is teaching a section of SPAN102 in addition to the SPAN302 class.
“I have an open mind,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what level I teach because I’ve taught at all levels.”
Sachdeva said that the college has been wonderful with helping her, especially with the course syllabus.
She used the previous professor’s syllabus from last year just switching the dates.
“I try to make it easier on them[students] but it’s definitely smoother for people who have taught this course before,” Sachdeva said. “If I teach it next semester I know I will be more prepared.”
Heckel said that sometimes assignments take longer than expected or something happens which makes it hard to follow the syllabus.
“It’s hard for the students to plan what assignment they will work on if they don’t really know when or what it is,” she said. “In two weeks time, she had to make a schedule for four months. And the frequently changing assignments reflect that.”
Sachdeva was glad to help the department and be a professor, she said.
She also said it helped that she was familiar with the department, being a graduate from it.
“I’m loving it, it’s just that the 302 class takes a lot more out of me,” she said. “It has been very challenging doing all the lesson planning and preparation for this course.”
Professor John Sadowski was told he would be stepping in and teaching another professor’s course about a month before the semester started.
But the previous Political Science 305: Politics of Metropolitan Growth and Change professor, Dennis Muniak, and him have been friends for many years, Sadowski said.
“Since I graduated he always said how much he would like to get me involved in a course,” he said. “It just so happened that he was forced to go out on medical leave.”
Working with the previous professor, he used the old syllabus and consulted with him about speakers and discussion.
He also altered the course to be more real world and case studies-oriented.
Previously Sadowski has taught courses and seminars but not at Towson.
His 20 years of experience in the economic development business helped ease him into teaching this course by finding speakers, he said.
“I thought it was a very nice opportunity albeit the short time period,” he said. “I think it’s a great institution and I was happy for the opportunity and hopefully everyone gets a lot out of the experience.”
The head of the Political Science Department has been great and checking in on how the course is going, Sadowski said.
“The University did a great job in a short period of time,” he said.
Heckel said that she understands her teacher wasn’t given much preparation time and that she is doing the best she can and is always willing to help students.
“She’s a really nice professor and she’s definitely willing to help her students when they are confused but I think if she had received more of an advanced notice and maybe more experience teaching upper level classes, it would have been better,” she said.