The ongoing global pandemic has caused professors to be in a position they have never been in before. Only four percent of classes are held on campus, meaning a majority of educators have to adapt to the virtual learning environment. By this point, professors have had close to a year to plan out and perfect how they will be teaching courses. RIC has even provided them with training and resources needed to succeed. However, students feel they are not receiving the proper education they are spending their hard earned money for.
On December 11, 2020 the Rhode Island Board of Education signed off on proposed tuition increases for the Fall 2021 semester. In-state students will receive a $599 tuition increase while out of state students will receive an increase of $1,322. This brings upon backlash from the student body to administration about previous concerns with raising tuition. The more the college raises tuition, the more disdain will lie with the students. The administration and President Sanchez need to address this issue to repair and help their relationship with students. The core values of being there to help further students' careers and to set them up for success have been forgotten. Decisions now are chosen entirely based upon budget constraints.
Multiple tuition increases over the course of the past couple of years make it even more important for students to get what they are paying for. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Students want to be taught what they need to know and be ready for the workforce. There have been reports of students only having 20 minute zoom classes where the professor assigns a project, tells them how to do it and then ends the meeting with no new knowledge being taught. Some professors are also not even teaching courses live in a virtual meeting but instead pre recording lectures for the students to teach themselves. Some are failing to respond to emails when students ask for assistance.
One of the biggest problems occurring is that the professors are not asking students, “How are you doing?” A study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness in 2020 found that 20% of all college students within the United States have had a worsened mental state with being all online. The virtual learning experience has brought more stress, anxiety, and problems for everyone involved. Not being in the physical classroom face to face takes away crucial social connections between the professors and students. Educators not engaging and interacting with the students, even just a simple check on how they are doing, is making college students reconsider their college education.
Rhode Island College is focused on the future and things to come. This includes the renovation of Horace Mann and more class offerings (such as virtual and night class options). However, there are many problems the college needs to take care of before being focused on the road ahead. Granted, not all of the problems during this global pandemic are the college’s or the professors' faults. However, the things that the college can fix and control need to be worked on.
RIC is not a bad school by any means. Just like everyone and everything else in life, it has its flaws. It will never be perfect nor it should be expected to be. But, it is setting itself up for failure and is clearly in shambles at the moment by ignoring the vast majority of issues at hand. Without being able to listen and provide the students with the basics of college, education and inspiring experience, then the college will continue to fail.