Last updateThu, 02 Apr 2020 1pm


How Professors Get the Grade

Getting Familiar With Faculty Evaluations

default article imageStudents always know when it’s about to happen. With less than two weeks left of classes, the professor wraps up one class a few minutes early, reaching for a manila envelope on their desk. A brief speech about something called the SIRs is brought to your attention as a questionnaire is distributed to you and your peers. The professor quietly leaves, giving you a few minutes to look it over and an­swer the questions laid out before you.

For once, you are the grader scoring your professor. Think hard about the last 16 weeks, because the “grade” you give your instructor and course overall turns out to be more significant than you thought.

According to Provost Thomas Pear­son, there was no formal student eval­uation system when he came to then- Monmouth College in 1978. However, there were ways students could leave feedback, such as a book of comments that he believes was placed in the Reg­istrar’s Office. “Students could come by and see what other students thought about faculty, courses, things like that. But it was very random, rather infor­mal and the comments to the best of my knowledge were not used in any formal way by faculty,” Pearson says.

Pearson says it wasn’t until the mid- 1980’s that a formal student evalua­tion system was introduced as part of negotiation for the Faculty Asso­ciation. The University saw this as important to evaluate faculty in order to make decisions in terms of tenure, candidacy, continuance and promo­tion. “Having a more formalized pro­cess was felt by the administration to be at the advantage of everybody.”

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Tests, Quizzes, Essays... and a Publication

default article imageSome students decide to get in­volved with student affairs, others with athletics, some with clubs, and then there are a few others who decide to write books. This happens to be the choice that Aziz Mama and Matthew- Donald Sangster made when they co-authored The Stranger Inside: Stories from Beneath the Mirrored Glass, published in May 2011 under their own publication house, Mama Sangster Publications.

The Stranger Inside: Stories from Beneath the Mirrored Glass is com­posed of nine short stories ranging in themes. “The plot of each of the stories is based in realism but subtly takes a turn towards existential understand­ing. Essentially, the aim of many of the stories is to outline the concept that no philosophical idea can be taken solely at face value,” said Sangster. He said that each one of the stories unfolds and in its own way and then ends by its own means, as is the way in life. He continued, “Doing so highlights the similarities between the stories: The significance and importance of a sec­ond chance. Through forcing the char­acters to grasp the subjective nature of the perceptions of life, they are al­lowed to see their circumstances with more optimistic tones.”

Mama said that all the stories speak for themselves, saying that the meaning of each story will be the reader’s own. “We had our own ideas and concepts which we put into the stories, but given the way we wrote they are still very much open to interpretation,” Mama said.

With writing, inspiration comes from numerous sources, whether they be real-life experiences or a daydream morphing into something more. For Mama and Sangster, part of their in­spiration came from a class. “Well, we each had our own creative influences but collectively our greatest inspiration was from Professor Stuart Dalton and his Existentialism class,” Sangster said. Besides the class, he said he draws cre­ativity from other authors. “As for my­self specifically, I drew much influence from Sartre, Kafka, Stephen King, and my personal muse -- the musical styling of Tchaikovsky,” he said.

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Technology’s New Frontier

Google Unveils its Augmented Reality Glasses


In 1991 when Arnold Schwar­zenegger walked into the bar in the beginning of Terminator 2: Judge­ment Day, we all glimpsed at what augmented reality could be like. In a crimson red background, the cy­borg’s biometric eyes studied the people in the bar using digitized checklists of countless algorithms, analyzing each individual from head to toe until the Terminator found his match and with a proba­bility reading of 0.99, saying “I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle.”

Now in 2012, 21-years-later, Google has announced its own en­deavor, Project Glass, to bring to fruition the augmented reality op­tics Generation Y had always grown up fantasizing about, from futuristic movie series such as Star Wars and Terminator.

The prototype glasses that Google publicized a few weeks ago marked the company’s first steps in the ephemerally uncharted territory of wearable computing. Presently un­der development in Google’s secret research lab located near Mountain View, California, the glasses “can stream information to the lenses and allow the wearer to send and receive messages through voice commands. There is also a built-in camera to record video and take pictures,” ac­cording to the New York Times.

Isabelle Olsson, an industrial de­signer on the Project Glass team, said on the Project’s website, “A group of us from Google started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment.”

A video entitled “Proj­ect Glass: One day…” released by Google, which sparked over 13 million views on You­Tube in only two weeks, shows the point of view of a man’s own eyes see­ing through the glasses on a regular day.

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The New Hollywood Film: Successful, Yet Risk-Free

default article imageWhile it seems that Hollywood has run out of ideas by the amount of remakes and sequels being released, the reasons why this occurs remains something of a mystery. One theory is that these recycled ideas and storylines internalize the fear of taking a risk on something with an unsure future.

Movies such as The Karate Kid, Arthur, and Footloose were all highly successful films when originally released. Because of this, big budget studios seem to have concluded that if it was successful once, it will be successful again.

Dr. Chad Dell, Chair of the Department of Communication, sees Hollywood remakes particularly as a business decision. “We’ve got remakes of 70’s and 80’s films that still have currency with today’s audiences. The studios see something that was a blockbuster in its time, so it already has that bankability,” said Dell.

Dell then explained that for studios, it seems easier to risk a certain amount of money on something that has already proven its success rather than something with an uncertain future.

Professor Robert Scott, professor of radio/television, also believes the need for film remakes are financial considerations. “It is typically easier to greenlight a project if the financial risk can be minimized,” said Scott. “By pitching a project with a proven track record, name recognition, and perhaps even iconic status, producers may feel they have a better chance of a strong return on their investment.”

Professor Aaron Furgason, professor of radio/television, sees remakes not only as a business related decision but also as way of tapping into an already established fan base. “Remakes are safe,” said Furgason. “Last American Virgin, for example. It was influenced as being this interesting teen film and now it’s being presented to a new teen audience. The original Footloose was a huge hit. So if it was a hit to that teen audience, why wouldn’t it be a hit to the next teen audience?”

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Overcoming the Obstacle of Writer’s Block

features-writers-blockIMAGE TAKEN from wordsmithbob.comThe vertical flashing black line in Microsoft Word is staring you down and reminding you just how little you have written thus far. Writer’s block can be downright demoralizing if you have an assignment due. Whether it is from distraction or procrastination, or your mind is at a standstill, writer’s block is frustrating when it refuses to relent. What is it that causes this bothersome problem and how can it be defeated if someone is stuck at a crossroads?

Writing involves many components that differ for individuals, ranging from purpose to mood to motivation. When something is missing from this mixture, writing can be impossible and panic can ensue.

“I think writer's block is caused by lack of inspiration sometimes. Other times I think it's stressrelated,” Nicole Massabrook, a sophomore writing assistant for the Writing Center said. Sometimes without that little “click” going off in one’s brain, words fail to materialize, which leads to even more worry about not being able to write. Massabrook continued, “Even with homework, sometimes you're just stressed by the fact that it's due soon and you have a million other things to do that you can only focus on the fact that it needs to get done instead of how you're actually going to do it.”

Dr. Heather Brown, assistant professor of English, said that when people talk about writer’s block, what they are really talking about is writing anxiety. “I firmly believe that a major cause of writing anxiety is the idea that one has to wait for inspiration to strike. Inspiration is great when you can get it, but it is even more important that you get your butt in the chair, open a blank document and just start typing. The best way to cure writer’s block is to write,” Brown said.

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Turning Tragedy Into Positivity

Linda Mussara, Supervisor at Einstein’s Bagels, Discusses ‘Relay’ Motivatio


One woman in the University community found hope after heartbreak. Having survived cancer, suffering the loss of her beloved husband and caring for her sick mother, Linda Mussara, supervisor at Einstein’s Bagels, turned her grief into something positive.

For the last five years, this strong woman has put her energy into the Desperate Mama’s Relay for Life team and turned her pain into motivation to help others. Mussara’s husband Joe suddenly passed away eight years ago from glandular cancer. Enjoying five years of marriage together, he was diagnosed on January 14, and after unsuccessful cancer treatments, died exactly three months later.

“That really put Relay at the front of my brain to say we’ve got to do something here,” his widow said. “If we can save one life it’s worth it.”

Mussara is one of many who have been saved from cancer. She fought her own battle against throat cancer 15 years ago. “I spent a summer getting radiated five days a week for 12 weeks,” she said. “They never tell you what the radiation is going to do to you later on down the road.” Relative five-year survival rates for nasopharyngeal cancer are 72 percent when diagnosed at stage one, as Mussara was, according to the American Cancer Society’s website.

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The Dropping Cost of Gene Sequencing

A Subsequent Rise in Medicine Personalization

Dropping Cost Gene SequencingAs the lines separating biology, chemistry and computer science have yet again been blurred, new roads have been paved for the scientific advancements of tomorrow to begin today.

Genes are the units of heredity in living organisms. They are composed of stretches of DNA and RNA that code for other RNA chains and proteins, one of the chief building blocks of life. A decade ago, an international collaboration of scientists in the Human Genome Project successfully mapped and identified all of the genes that make up the human genome, the aggregate sum of all our genetic makeup – the cost of doing so, however, ran in the billions of dollars.

Recently, Bill Banyai, an optical physicist at Complete Genomics, designed a factory that, according to the New York Times,“automated and greatly lowered the cost of mapping the three billion base pairs that form the human genome.” His company is pushing to reduce that cost to under $1000, the applications of which are simply jaw dropping.

Young fields such as personalized medicine, gene therapy and genetic counseling will mature into integral parts of tomorrow’s medicine, branching out new lines of careers in bioinformatics, applied computing and molecular genetics, to name a few.

The advent of personalized medicine in particular will bring forth the most visible change in the near future. Patients can be treated on a case-by-case basis on an unprecedented level of specificity, one down to the molecular level of their own genetic makeup. This will allow doctors and biotechnology companies to pinpoint the errors in genes that predispose individuals to certain diseases such as cystic fibrosis, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.

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Look for the Ones in the Pink Jerseys

The Stigma Faced by Female Sports Fans


They cheer right along with everyone else, shouting and applauding, booing and sighing, sitting on the edge of their seats as a pitch is thrown, holding their breath as the ball hits the backboard and bashing the referees for making bad calls. They talk sports, are up-to-date on all of the latest trades and stats of players and team rosters, and are able to participate in heated conversations. They wear their team’s colors and their favorite jersey, usually with their favorite player’s number displayed on the back. They jump up when their team scores, rounds of high fives going around. They are the female sports fans, and are as well-versed in sports as many other die-hard sports fans out there.

The stigma of being a female sports fan has plagued many. Women do not watch sports purely for the sake of pleasing a boyfriend, but watch sports because they want to. Nicole Keslo, junior psychology major and Yankee fan said, “The worst thing has got to be the stigma against hardcore female sports fans. Whenever you say you like a team there's always that guy in the crowd who makes a snarky remark about how girls don't understand sports. Sorry guys, you're sadly mistaken!”

Marilyn McNeil, Director of Athletics, still sees that some women like teams to please their significant others. “I think this is a sociological issue. Women still tend to be fans of what their boyfriends or husbands, want to do. And those ‘others’ aren’t willing to include the women’s game in their choices,” she said.

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Who’s Checking You Out?

The Hidden Dangers of Online Dating


In this fast paced world, everything moves at the speed of light, whether it’s your brand new iPhone or your Lexus Hybrid. Being that we are always on the go, it is that much harder to meet someone special.

In the past 15 years, the world of online dating has exploded and become a trend that many Americans have begun following. According to the Chadwick Martin Bailey Study, one out of every five singles is dating online. Online dating services are everywhere we look. If it’s not a commercial for eHarmony or, it’s a side bar ad on our Facebook for Christian Mingles.

 “Everyone knows someone who met on a dating website. It’s so popular it’s becoming a norm,” said Michele Ventricelli, junior.

These websites practically sell themselves too. Nobody wants to be alone, and making a profile takes five minutes. So what’s the harm in seeing what’s out there? Well that’s a question Americans should take into serious consideration before heading down the path of online dating. The bigger question is, how do we really know who we are talking to when we’re speaking to someone we met on the internet?

According to William McElrath, Chief of Police at the University, the main concern is that you really don't know too much about the "real" person you're meeting online. That person could easily be married or have intentions of taking advantage of your wallet. The person could also be dangerous and looking for easy victims.

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Blinded by the Light: The Real Cost of Indoor Tanning


It’s burning up more and more by the second. The bright lights blind you, but you don’t want to place the eye protectors across your eyelids in fear of leaving spots or an uneven tone on your face. You lie there, completely at peace with music playing above your head, outside the box. Twelve minutes pass, the lights come down and immediately, you feel a rush of cool air as the heat vanishes. As you’re getting dressed, you catch a glance of yourself in the mirror, let out a sigh and smile, thinking it’s all worth it. Even in the early weeks of spring, you’re magically walking around with a sun-kissed tan as if you just came back from the Bahamas. Fact check: that invigorating feeling of confidence may not last as long as the chemicals in your body will.

Indoor tanning is said to be as danger as it a luxury for people. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than one million people tan in tanning salons. Moreover, 70 percent of patrons are women aged 16 to 29, ages that include college students.

Melanie Ratajczak, a sophomore education and spanish major, has been tanning indoors for three years and believes she has become addicted to the way she looks with a tan. “Initially, I started to get a base tan before vacation. Naturally my skin is pale, so a base tan helps in order to avoid sun poisoning.”

A frequent customer at Beach Bum Tanning Salon for their “reasonable prices,” Ratajczak explains she normally tans on level one, the lightest and weakest level, in 15 minutes intervals. She says she also goes tanning to relieve stress and insists it helps with acne breakouts and covers up scarring.

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Guiding Students to a Healthy College Experience

Meet Kathy Maloney, Director of Health Services at the University


For Kathy Maloney, Director of Health Services, it has been 11 years of transforming students from adolescence to adulthood in terms of their health.

She’s cared for patients withdrawing from heroin, struggling from rape, sick with the stomach bug, and facing a variety of physical and mental health problems. She says, “We have had it all. We never really know what comes through the door.”

However, there is one event that Maloney said absolutely takes the cake.

She describes it as the “Pinewood Illness.” “A few years back, two girls [residents of Pinewood Hall at the time] came into the office with the most horrible looking throats. Red, swollen, horrible looking. Then, they started to break out in rashes all over. Itchy, itchy, itchy rashes. We could not figure out what it was. Then all of a sudden, other people on the same floor of Pinewood started having similar symptoms. And before you know it, it was almost the entire floor. We didn’t know if it was something in the floors, or something in the vents. The Department of Health was here and Facilities Management did testing of the vents.”

Everything seemed to be better when people were not on that floor in Pinewood, Maloney remembers. “People would get better when they went home, and got worse when they came back. Then we started to do a diagram,” she explains, tracing a chart with her finger on her desk. “We plotted out the rooms, and what happened was the girls in the center room had the worst symptoms, and as you went further out, those girls had less symptoms. And no one could figure out what was going on.”

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151