“Critical pedagogy involves questioning, naming, reflecting, analysing and collectively acting in the world. It is a form of education that liberates rather than controls, in which relations are reciprocal rather than dominant, and where the humility of the educator enables a teacher/ learner relationship to flourish. Critical pedagogy is a democratic process of education that takes place in community groups and forms the basis of transformation.”
-Ledwith, M. (2005). Collective action for change (Rev. 2nd ed.). Bristol, UK Policy Press.
This is a quote from one of the required readings in the SOC308 subject. This is the type of pedagogy that the students at Charles Sturt University (CSU) have a right to expect, and have come to expect. Unfortunately, this has not been the experience of students enrolled in S-SOC308_201860_W_D: Community Analysis with Dr. Angela T. Ragusa. Students in this class have been subject to an unsatisfactory learning experience for the following reasons:
- Dr. Ragusa has abused her position of power by implementing an arbitrary and punitive marking system that penalises students for “transgressions” that are unrelated to the assessment. For example, deducting marks for failing to participate in the discussion board.
- Dr. Ragusa has demanded that students use her lectures as references in direct contrast to advice students have received from university lecturers and tutors to avoid using lectures and class notes as references because they are not reliable resources.
- Dr. Ragusa as deducted marks for failing to use her lectures as references even though this is not a requirement of the assessment as written in the subject outline.
- The feedback Dr. Ragusa provides for marked assessments is minimal and unhelpful at best, leaving students with little opportunity to improve. At times students have found her remarks to be demeaning and condescending, suggesting that they are not intelligent enough to take her class and that they should not pursue further study. This is in direct contravention of section 5 of the Academic Communication with Students Policy.
- Dr. Ragusa does not engage in interactions with the students in any meaningful way. She does not participate in the discussion board. The lectures are pre-recorded and read from a script. There are no online meetings and her email communication has consisted primarily of advice to consult ALLaN or to consult the subject outline. This is in direct contravention of section 4 of the Academic Communication With Students Policy.
- For the first two assessments of the semester, Dr. Ragusa has restricted research to articles that she herself has published, co-written, or that have appeared in a journal that she edits. This has severely restricted students access to information that may challenge her view. This has restricted our academic freedom in contradiction to the Student Charter.
- Many in this class are fourth year students and hold themselves to a very high standard of work as evidenced by their consistent high marks throughout. However, the standard that students in this class are being held to are arbitrary, unpredictable, and impossible to meet.
- The overall experience of the students is that this is not a healthy learning environment, it produces unreasonable levels of stress and anxiety, and is not delivering a comprehensive understanding of sociology that is liberating, reciprocal, or equitable.
For the reasons contained herein, we the undersigned respectfully request that all assessment in class S-SOC308_201860_W_D: Community Analysis be reassessed by an objective third party and that the final assessment also be marked by an objective third party. We further request that the subject outline be reviewed by the University and that CSU take such actions they deem necessary to rectify the current situation. By signing we agree to fully cooperate with CSU inquiry and to provide evidence of claims made within this document.