Eli Ridder | The Avro Post
A second wave of students came forward late this week to defend criticism from their peers over the teaching techniques of Psychology Professor Masood Zangeneh in his third year Drugs and Behaviour course.
Fourth year Psychology student Leah Hovey, who took Dr. Zangeneh’s PYSC 3150 course, told The Avro Post that his tests were hard but the professor marked according to people’s effort, and she found she got better grades with improved efforts.
Lionel Lansbury, who received a 94.25 per cent average in the four classes he took from the professor, described Zangeneh as “a genuinely compassionate and eager professor who structures his classes and assignments in a considerably demanding but fair manner.”
An investigative report by The Avro Post in partnership with the Academic Reform Group dove into teaching methods utilized by University of Guelph-Humber Psychology Program Professor Zangeneh that some found “unreasonable”.
Students speaking publicly and anonymously said that they experienced a significant and unexpected grade drop attributed to an unreasonable midterm and a local of professor communication with those in the class.
“Masood definitely is not the best at communication, but to say is he is a poor professor who does not care for his students is mind-boggling,” Shaila Anjum told The Avro Post previously.
Anjum said on the opinions expressed in the investigative report that “some of these allegations are out of pure hatred and unfair”, but noted “others have some validity.”
A majority of the students who came forward in the initial story dropped out of Dr. Zangeneh’s class.
The professor and Psychology Program Head Dr. David Danto did not respond to a request for comment on the story.
Students defending Zangeneh in response to the opinions in the initial report say that the professor marks hard but will reward hard work.
These testimonials from students speaking in defence of Dr. Masood Zangeneh are published with permission from their authors.
From Leah Hovey:
So just my personal opinion with him… I took that 3rd year course with him … I as well have taken 6 other courses including a 4th year course. While I do believe his tests are hard and at times I did feel unprepared… I always walked out of his exams thinking “wow that was hard but I could have studied more”. I have failed tests he has given… and I have as well passed his tests. I have done mediocre on assignments as well as gotten 90’s. My final grades from his classes have not been overly different from the final grades from my other classes. I do not believe he favourites students over others. I participate in his classes and give an effort for his discussions… that’s the only reason he knows me well.
For that 3rd year Drugs & Behaviour course, I can understand why it’s a challenging class but that is only because of content. It is not easy material and a lot of scientific statistics and neurology are involved. I did very poorly on the first midterm but by the exam I did better because I applied myself. My effort has not decreased but increased and my marks reflected that.
In this article I do notice a lot of students complaining that the only way to get marks is for in-class participation. While this may not be the favourite choice of markings… there is a reason he does this. His test questions are not created by him but by a question bank that he chooses questions from… the textbook that he tells us to read from is NOT one he recommends. He can influence how we receive other marks but he cannot change these aspects. So blaming him for the awful textbook/test questions are not completely fair. As well, I personally bought the textbook, studied from it and found that textbook was not helpful. So it is a poor resource to begin with.
So… aside from that… When discussing the in-class participation marks…this is his way of helping students make up marks. He is providing students more of a chance to get grades up by making sure they are paying attention to course material as well as helping students understand the material as opposed to just reading off a slide. They are required to attend classes and make in depth notes about presentations so that Masood sees you truly are paying attention. Yes maybe the slides could be better… but I know many profs who do not even provide slides & who just speak the entire lecture. This is actually a blessing he even provides slides. Any prof that does is helping us out.
I believe Masood makes an important effort to try and help us succeed. He responds to emails, if you ask him for feedback he will provide it (granted this feedback is from a discussion in his office hours… so that may be a concern amongst students) and he tries to help students out.
The last point I will add is a personal note that shows that he truly does care and that in reality he does not show favouritism. Back in Drugs & Behaviour I was dealing with a stressful situation when my grandfather (whom I lived with and cared for at the time) became ill and ended up passing away a week before exams. I went to him essentially asking if I could have an extra day to write the final essay after telling him my situation and promising I would provide a drs note. Without asking for the note, he gave me an extra week and a half to complete this essay as well as gave me resources to help me. I didn’t ask for what he gave me… and other teachers would not approve my late essay submissions without a drs note and they barley gave me a week. At the end of it, I received a 72 on the essay and I deserved that as it was not my best effort (my essay marks range from 80-90’s). He did not hand out marks because I was struggling but he provided me with compassion, time and resources. That is basically who Masood is. If you show you care about you grades he will help you & inconvenience his life for it.
Final note, he did not know me at all at this point. Maybe he knew me from my class participation and attendance… but in reality that is the bare minimum students should be doing. You are paying 3 grand a semester so you should be going to class & trying to participate lol.
From Lionel Lansbury:
I have taken and completed Masood’s Drugs and Behaviour, Mediation and Conflict Resolution, History of Psychology, and Culture and Diversity classes. The final marks I received in those classes were 94, 94, 90, and 99 respectively. He also is currently my thesis advisor for Thesis 2 this semester and was for Thesis 1 last semester (93). I have found Masood to be a genuinely compassionate and eager professor who structures his classes and assignments in a considerably demanding but fair manner. The slides he intentionally puts out with large blank sections which are intended to be filled in based on the lecture and discussions in class. He kind of expects you to show up and not only pay attention but engage in the material he is addressing i.e. participate. He isn’t afraid to give a low mark but he also doesn’t hesitate to give high marks either. You simply can’t get by in his class without putting in a sincere effort. But if you do then you will certainly be rewarded. Many teachers will just hand out high marks without them necessarily being merited, but Masood isn’t one of them, and I am glad he isn’t. Professors like Masood maintain the higher standards that we should naturally all expect within a university environment.
He has in certain circumstances offered make up assignments to individuals who did poorly on one of his tests or assignments. He is especially understanding if you are honest with him about issues that are going on in your life. On that point I must say that he has been very compassionate and understanding about my own ongoing personal circumstances. I think that the marks he gives are fair for the most part and every exam I had with him he has provided a review with details about every topic that will be in the exam; on some occasions, he has actually provided very short answer questions that would be on the exam.
Furthermore, I have witnessed Masood approach many different students to help identify and support their ambitions to pursue a specific career i.e. taking his own unpaid time to provide advice, guidance, and recommendations. He doesn’t just want students to succeed in their undergraduate experience he wants to help his students find a place in the professional world that satisfies their intrinsic needs and strengths. This I think does a lot of good for students’ esteem, direction, and has probably had a reverberating positive impact on society as a whole in the 16 or so years he has been teaching.
From Shaila Anjum:
Updated with mistakes corrected from previous article by Anjum.
Masood definately is not the best at communication, but to say he is a poor professor who does not care for his students is mindboggling. I was not in the section that scored this low. Previous year students have scored just fine as far as I know. Masood is a very kind, respectful and understanding professor. I have gone through some personal crisis and I have reached out to him when needed. He has not only given an extention to me and several students but he has been supportive and lenient. He marks incredibly easy in other areas like journals we often do for presentations, presentations themselves, and his papers. I must admit the papers sometimes seem to be marked on completion versus content but some of these allegations are out of pure hatred and unfair. Others have some validity. However, if we point out marking schemes and fair questions – there are several professors that must also be accounted for that have tested on material and knowledge that was not heard of or unfair. Masood has in the past removed questions from his tests if everyone gets them wrong if need be. Masood is very knowledgeable and discusses the material in his slides in depth during his lectures. Masood posts slides without all the information in them because that is what you are suppose to go to lectures for. He has the full version in class that he reveals as he gives an in-depth lecture on the content. I definately think theres things to improve on in terms of communication and honest marking of the remainder of class assignments.
More details to follow. Image of the University of Guelph-Humber from The Avro Post.