Fighting through a semester with a hard professor is a right of passage in college.
Often before meeting a difficult professor, anxious students depend on RatemyProfessor’s 1 to 5 rating scale and other student’s comments to set the precedent for the class.
But you don’t need RatemyProfessor to find a brutally honest opinion about Zu-Hsu Lee, or who business majors better know as Professor Jason Lee. In fact, many of his students were in utter disbelief, and even took issue with the validity of his ratings, “There is no way this many students have had a positive experience in his class. He must have written these reviews himself.” said senior business major Harrison Felman.
For eight years, Professor Jason Lee has notoriously been considered one of the hardest professors on campus, with even the smartest business majors fearing they’ll fail his class. Professor Lee teaches Operations Management, a 300-level class with a course objective most business majors aren’t even able to explain. In simple terms, Operations Management is the concepts and methods for managing resources (e.g. labor, time, money, technology) to effectively and efficiently achieve the goal of productivity and profitability. But after looking at the abysmal of complicated charts, graphs and formals, you come to find it’s much more than that.
While the course material is difficult, what really troubles students is professor Lee’s style of teaching. Senior finance major Evan Toucey struggled through his class last semester, passing by the skin of his teeth, “ I found Professor Lee to be somewhat condescending. He would go through complex material very quickly, then when students would ask questions, he’d immediately accuse them of not paying attention.” On the first day of class, Professor Lee warns his students he checks the history on their library classroom computers to see who is going on Facebook and who is actually paying attention. Clearly, the man means business.
The best/worst time to talk to his students is after their midterm exam. This year, with a class midterm average of a 63 and the lowest grade being a 13, students said they were in utter shock after leaving the examination room, “The examples he gives in class are nothing like what you see on his tests,” said senior marketing major Bri Magamas, “They are fifty times more complicated. I understand he is looking to challenge us, but his tests are deceitful.”
As the dreadful process of class registration is quickly coming up, business advisors have had a continuous stream of student complaints and anxieties about Operation’s Management. The chair of the School of Management Dr. Nakra said, “I’ve had a number of my advisees, and even parents call and ask if there is anyway they could arrange their schedule so they wouldn’t have to take his class. I always tell them, in business you might have to work for a boss you don’t particularly like or agree with. But I think at the end of the day it builds character, and hopefully they can take maybe a fraction of what they learned and apply it to real business.”
When asked if he considers himself to be tough or harsh, Professor Lee explained, “Yes and no. Being an academic from Taiwan, my culture puts an emphasis on fairness. I do hold firm standards on the level of the course material to be delivered. But I will not cheat my students by making the course easier, so that they earn better outcomes. I am not interested in manipulating the course content and/or grading methods to make students believe they achieve the expectation of a college student in the area of Operations Management by giving them a grade. They have to earn it.”
For all those business majors out there who are fearing this class, there is hope. Even students who miserably fail a few of Professor Lee’s tests end up more than just passing. The class’ grading system is accustomed to dealing with low marks. Although the midterm and final test usually count as 70 percent, each test has a significant curve, and if you score above the average of the class, you are moved one grade letter up.
So, to their surprise, despite the immense amount of anxiety and frustration Professor Lee’s students experience, most end up passing his class. And for most business majors, that’s all they could ever ask for.