Married, but looking for… MATH…

Some of you may have seen this notice and may have wondered what I was talking about (but probably not), so I guess I need to explain what’s going on. So what were the plans? You probably already know, but let’s recap the plans:

Plan A: Daniel and Julie go to FSU. I got accepted, but Julie didn’t get accepted.
Plan B: Daniel and Julie go to Charlotte. Julie got accepted, but I didn’t get accepted.
Plan C: Julie somehow pull off the unthinkable and get accepted to transfer to FSU. Julie pulled this off because she’s awesome, but FSU didn’t accept me the second time. They said I wasn’t a serious candidate and neither accepted nor rejected me, but rather, just ignored my application.
Plan D: Do UWF’s new online MS in Math part time while Julie finishes law school at UF, then do the PhD later on with two MS’s. After all, my PhD would be intensive in Math, so it made sense.

Okay, why didn’t plan D work? Well, the general idea was for me to take two courses per term and finish about the same time Julie, so that Julie could go to work while I do the PhD. Okay? So, I signed up for Calculus 3 and Differential Equations, so that I could get prereqs out of the way for starting this new program in January. So, the trial schedule comes up and… they’re not offering courses I can take! They’re offering six graduate courses, and there’s the problem: Two of them I have already taken as an undergrad. One of them has a prereq that only pure math majors would have taken. One of them has prereqs that haven’t been offered to me yet. That still left two courses left which were fine, but… they were offered at the exact same time. What? With only six courses and not that many students to take them, why would ANY of them be offered at the same time?! Oh… wait… they didn’t think.

There were occasions in my Computer Science program at UWF where fellow grad students who had already taken the courses offered or they simply were not interested in the courses offered. When this happened, students contacted the department and… the department worked with them, either by polling students to figure out an alternate course they may be interested in, or giving the student a directed study.

So… I contacted the department head / “adviser”, Dr. Li, and I was amazed by the complete incompetence in his “advisement”. Here is our email conversation:

Daniel to Dr. Li:

I am starting as a new online graduate student in January.

I just noticed the trial schedule is up. I would like to take MAP5471 and STA6246. In fact, these are the only two courses I can take, but they are being offered at the same time: MW 5:30-6:45. Since these are online courses and may be recorded, can I take both of them? Otherwise, I can only register for one course.

STA5176: I already took the 4000 level version.
STA5326: I already took the 4000 level version.
MAD6405: I haven’t taken MAD4401 yet.
MAP6108: I haven’t taken MAA4212 and do not plan to.

By the way, the trial schedule does not agree with what was listed here (http://uwf.edu/mathstat/graduate/online_schedule.cfm). It placed MAP5471 at MW 4:00-5:15 and STA6246 at MW 5:30-6:45, so I wasn’t expecting there to be a problem.

Thank you,
Daniel Wells

Dr. Li to Daniel:

Hi, Daniel,

Thanks for your email.
It is required to attend the classes so you can only take one at the same time.
Best,
Kuiyuan

Daniel to Dr. Li:

So, are you suggesting I take a 3cc course load?
Daniel

Dr. Li to Daniel:

Hi, Daniel,

It is up to you. If you take two, you are eligible for scholarship (about $300).
Best,
Kuiyuan

Daniel to Dr. Li:

Did you read my original email? You are not offering courses I can take.

STA5176: I already took the 4000 level version.
STA5326: I already took the 4000 level version.
MAD6405: I haven’t taken MAD4401 yet.
MAP6108: I haven’t taken MAA4212 and do not plan to.
MAP5471: Can’t take this because it is offered at the same time as STA6246.

Please advise.
Daniel

Dr. Li to Daniel:

If you can only take one course, just take one.
Best,
Kuiyuan

So, that was that. Does anyone else get the vibe from this email conversation that Dr. Li wasn’t really paying any attention to me? I got the feeling that Dr. Li was thinking, “Dude, leave me alone. I am not interested in the education of individual students. I am putting courses online, so that we can get more money. I don’t really care if anyone ever finishes or not.” Keep in mind that I am very familiar with this department. I earned a minor and certificate from this department as an undergraduate. They have some really great professors that clearly care about about students and their education. This begs the question, why is this guy the graduate adviser when he obviously has bad people skills? This thought pattern is even more shown in my previous blog, where my new friend Lori was told by him to travel to Pensacola to use their computer lab to use their software to do a simple homework assignment, and that she has to take off work in order to do handwritten tests at a specific time. It really feels like this department doesn’t really have any clue about online education. My previous online programs (the Certificate in Medical Informatics, and the Certificate in Database Systems) were actually thought out. Timed tests were given online. Students could take them at their preferred time. Lectures were live, but students who could not attend could watch/listen to the recorded lectures later. It is pretty simple in terms of technology and thinking, right? So, why should the math department care if courses have their lectures at the same time? Just record the lectures and let the students listen at their convenience. Tests can also be done at the student’s convenience. But no, not this department, because this department didn’t really think about any of these issues beforehand. They just wanted more money.

Julie found that TAMU is offering an online MS in Statistics here. I have sent them an application. I guess this is plan E. We’ll see if they’re at all interested in taking me in. I am getting a little tired of having to make new plans.

4 Replies to “Married, but looking for… MATH…”

  1. Dr. Li can be like that. Personally, I see no issue with you taking both, as they are online. Like you said, they can be recorded. The program is a pretty good one, and has gained a decent bit of recognition nationally. If you are looking more on the pure/applied math side than a statistics program, I would suggest going over his head and asking the Dean about it. Dr. Li shouldn’t just simply dismiss your requests like that. It’s not professional and definitely not a way to keep students…just my 2 cents.

    1. Robbie, thanks for your reply. I am actually interested in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. I am not sure that going over his head to the dean is a wise decision. Certain departments at UWF can make your life hell when you make the department look bad. I am pretty unimpressed with this program, and there are plenty of alternatives.

  2. Then I’d say to pursue elsewhere. I just wasn’t sure if UWF had a particular appeal to you or not, so I thought I’d throw the idea out there. As far as making life hell, the situation should be something that remains confidential, and if there were any retaliation, I’d honestly report it. It’s academically unfair and shouldn’t happen. Good luck in your pursuit.

    1. The appeal was (1) in-state tuition, (2) having a previous MS from UWF basically guaranteed admission, and (3) I have already taken a 6000 level course from the department previously, and it was going to count toward this degree.

Comments are closed.