Ronald Amon 
Member since May 31, 2012



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Re: “VCU Ditches Professor Who Questioned Text

What we need is some hard investigative reporting on the biology textbook issue. Don't let it die. While it may appear that Dept Chair Smock is acting independently, it may also regard Dr. Smock acting as a good soldier--a Team player.

Which is it? We don't know. Is Dr. Smock being forced to adopt this text? What input in the decision is really Dr. Smock's? We need to really be concerned about evangelical posturing with the student as ultimate loser. To what extent is this a career political do or die? Is VCU wandering off alone into the holy wilderness or is VCU a template for other state supported universities and bad things to come? Or is it just a bad decision, locally, on the VCU campus?

As we used to say in psychology, it's not paranoia if they really are doing it. The public has a right to know.

Posted by Ronald Amon on 06/04/2012 at 10:35 AM

Re: “VCU Ditches Professor Who Questioned Text

Let's hope this resurfaces in the Fall. The students have a right to know what's going on. And who's doing it. The statement by Dept. Chair Smock in relation to Adjunct Prof. Sparks, "We really don't need him to teach anything," is all we need to know. Biology Dept Chair Smock should be on a short list for replacement or dismissal. What about it Rao? Is this the NEW VCU? It's YOUR mess now. Do we get pro-active or bury our heads in the sand?

What we have now, thanks to Len Smock, is the new, easy painless way to a degree. And the religious brainwashing? Small wonder the text is $30 cheaper when you leave out the critical topics. Most students know that Adjunct Professors impart priceless knowledge, with the combined field experience to supplement text and theory. There is no question that Prof Sparks emerges as the hero in this diabolical morass. And now he is gone. Shameless.

This is yet but another reason to bring back the Medical College of Virginia name. The only saving grace of what is left of a once viable learning institution. Having earned my first degree from Virginia Commonwealth University-Academic Division, I am throughly disgusted with administrative failure to police departments such as Smock's when common sense is no longer the ruling paradigm. It is incumbent that swift and appropriate action be taken to resolve the academic dispute in favor of those who pay their salaries--the students.

Posted by Ronald Amon on 06/04/2012 at 10:02 AM

Re: “A Textbook Case

"VCU switched biology books because teachers deemed the previous text too complex for the approximately 1,000 students who take the course each semester"--so we're having a dumbing down of already dumb students? This appears to be the Committee opinion who are forcing a religious take on biology.....and then accusing the good professor of being paranoid? Dr Sparks appears to be the only voice in the wilderness of complicity and deserves much credit for speaking up. And also Dr. Dyer for correctly calling this a propaganda machine. Students NEED to be challenged. Students MUST go beyond the simplistic and easy to understand subject matter in order to stimulate higher order thinking and discover the unknown. This is the essence of what science is all about.

The story should not be about the textbook but about the Committee of Four who are ramming their ideology, their textbook, down the students' throats. And it took an adjunct professor to tell them this? What's going on at VCU? University training primarily teaches one how to think--not to get brainwashed into what someone else forces you to learn. No wonder Distance Learning, which requires student self-starters, has made such inroads in recent years. Honk if it's holy.

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Posted by Ronald Amon on 05/31/2012 at 2:27 PM

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