Tag Archives: teaching


Over the last months there has been considerable interest in what is happening to the Religion programme at Stirling University.  Earlier today I tweeted a photograph from my third year undergraduate class – and since then I have received a substantial number of queries about the current situation.

The following statement is the extent of the comment I can make on this matter:

Dr Tim Fitzgerald and Dr Michael Marten will be leaving the University at the end of December 2015. Dr Andrew Hass and Dr Alison Jasper will continue to contribute, with colleagues, to the delivery of programmes in Religion.
This statement has been agreed by all parties.

Please note that comments on this blog posting are closed.

Students: this is how to REALLY annoy your lecturers!

Lecturers try, they honestly do.  To make life easier for students, I mean, whilst still ensuring students do the work required to understand the subject.  And yet sometimes, questions are asked that are so irritating, that it makes us want to scream.

If you’re a lecturer, you’ll recognise some or all of these, I’m sure (add more in the comments if you like!).  If you’re a student, then please, don’t ask these things: university management causes us quite enough stress without you adding to it by asking questions like these…

When is the essay due?

All the information about the essay is in the course handbook.

How long should the essay be?

Look in the course handbook…

What referencing system should I be using?

Grrr… have you thought of looking in the course handbook?

Where should I hand the essay in?

LOOK IN THE ******* COURSE HANDBOOK!!!! (ok, so I never swear at students, but sometimes, honestly…)

I don’t have a copy of the course handbook.

You can download it from the course website (On a good day I won’t even ask how you got halfway through my course without a course handbook).

What should I read for my essay?

What have you read so far?

Err… I was hoping you’d tell me what to read.

The book chapter you asked us to read isn’t about the topic.

What makes you say that?  She’s a world-renowned scholar on precisely this topic and her book is all about this…

The chapter title doesn’t mention the topic.

That article you made us read for next week’s class – is there a summary of what he says online somewhere?

Err, no…

It’s just that, well, you know, it’s quite complicated…

(As I stifle the urge to bang my head against the wall).

I am doing next week’s seminar presentation on this topic.  Where can I find more reading?

The library…?

Where’s the library?

(Unbelievable it may be, but I have been asked this by a second year student – I did go and look at his university record after this, and it was evident by his grades in various courses that he really had not found the library…)

You say this happened, but I read an article in the newspaper last week that said it wasn’t like that at all.

What newspaper was this?

The Daily Mail.

[I laugh:] That’s not a newspaper…

Can I cite the Daily Mail in my essay?

Only if you wash afterwards.


[Not really a question, but I don’t need to hear this one again.
I was giving a lecture from 14:00-15:00.  A student stumbled in at 14:30 and muttered:

Sorry I’m late, I had a rough night last night.

I’ve realised the seminar presentation I signed up for at the beginning of the semester, well, I can’t do it next week as it’s my new boyfriend’s birthday the day before.  Can I switch to the following week?


I won’t be at the lecture next Tuesday because my girlfriend is visiting me for a few days.  Can I come and see you in your office hours the following week and you can run through the lecture with me again?


But I want to write the essay question on that topic.

Good, and the answer is still ‘no’…

There’s too much reading on your course, so I’ve decided to switch to History.

Err… well, good luck with that! (I’m hoping very much that the first year history course has to read the entire works of Eric Hobsbawm – oh, and I’m feeling immense pity for whoever convenes the first year history course!)

[Monday morning conversation:]

When do we get our essays back?

When I’ve marked them...

But the due date was Friday, and so I just thought…

… what, that I don’t have a weekend?!

I could go on.  I have been asked all of these questions in the past – and this is simply a random sample of the more memorable ones.  I assure you I would quite happily go through life never being asked them again…