Midterms are this week, and many students are already preparing for the worst. Most students will have essays, tests and assignments due in each of their classes. The JPL is expecting a record turnout. Study rooms have been booked through the entire week and the university has thousands of adorable therapy-puppies on stand-by in case of emergency. While many students hope for A’s, B’s or even C’s, the students of Professor Hardman’s Fundamentals of Geometry class hope just to survive.
UTSA regards tenured professor Ryan Hardman as one of the most distinguished and awarded members of its faculty; the students, however, know Hardman as one of the most difficult professors on campus. Dr. Hardman is the lowest rated on the university’s Bluebook and ratemyprofessor.com. He also holds the lowest-rated class average with a C minus. His class is a prerequisite for all geometry majors, and he is the only professor that teaches the course. So far, the highest grade given in a midterm in his twenty-year teaching period has been a 7-percent.
Discussing professor Hardman’s test former student Brad Grayed warns there is no way to do well. “His tests are mostly multiple choice but, that doesn’t make it any easier,” Grayed said. “ It’s not A, B or C he uses every letter of the alphabet.”
One of students’ main complaints is Hardman’s particularly harsh grading. Students reported having lost letter grades for not capitalizing letters, being too early to class and asking questions. “I sneezed last year during his midterm,” said student Ciera Vrige. “He docked me two letter grades and yelled at me for ten minutes.”
Professor Hardman believes his class is the most vital a student can take. “I lie to them sometimes,” Hardman stated, handing back my interview sheet now with a red D-plus drawn on it. “I give them the wrong answers in class then watch them get it wrong on my tests,” he laughed. “It teaches them to not always believe what they are told, even from their professor — that is a valuable lesson.”
The midterm is expected to take over six hours and contain a minimum of 750 multiple-choice questions, 12 essays and 27 short-answer questions. Students who don’t finish their tests, ask to use the bathroom during the tests or answer too many questions correctly on a test will be marked down two letter grades. Additionally, if the class average is too high, the students’ grades will be curved down to more appropriate, lower grades.