Better speakers, better students

Sam Stoffer, Staff Writer

I have never had to experience a professor offering extra credit for attending a program that brings in a guest speaker or member of the faculty to discuss a major, topic, etc.

Unfortunately for many other students, this is not the case.

Many professors offer extra credit for this and for various reasons. At times, it is because they want you to experience some of what campus has to offer outside of the classroom. At other times, it is to get seats filled for what would be an otherwise poorly attended and embarrassing program for the university. Although these professors have good intentions, they are slightly misguided in this strategy.

My major concern is that if some of these programs are so uninteresting to students that we have to incentivize them to go, why do we have these programs in the first place? The university does bring in programs and speakers that students do want to attend without any extra incentives, but some speakers come to discuss topics that are overdone or not practical for USI students.

It is problematic for the speaker as well, as this would lead to a more apathetic crowd. Many might be there just for the extra credit. It is also unfair to students who are busy outside of class, as they will be unable to attend.

A better solution to this issue is to survey students on what kind of topics they would like these programs to discuss. That way, students really want to attend these programs, and they might benefit from them. Another solution would be for professors to only suggest going to campus events with guest speakers rather than offer extra credit. This will allow for a more accurate understanding of which speakers or topics help the students most, and the speaker will know those students want to be there.