Monday, July 8, 2013

Sally Vogl-Bauer's unprofessionalism (when a teacher is the bully and how to handle it)

How do you handle an unprofessional college professor? What do you do when their behavior is condescending, degrading, and unprofessional, combined with unreasoned, unjust grading? I had my first lesson in this department in the master's degree program at UW-Whitewater with professor Sally Vogl-Bauer. Until I had this particular professor, I had never encountered a professor who I took such offense to and to the point I felt a complaint was necessary. Mind you, I am a 25-year-old college student with my associate's and bachelor's degrees. It was from my dealings with Sally that I learned how hard it is to combat a professor's insulting behavior and malpractices.

My advice is to spread word on your experience and take "professor review" websites very seriously. Pay careful attention to the feedback being written about a professor. It's important to really do your homework on your professors. That can mean doing a lot of digging and not relying on the websites that come up on the first page when your teacher's name is Googled. I say this because the teacher may flag and have certain material removed if it's material that comes up first and is unflattering. In the same manner, positive feedback may be from that professor his/herself for reputation purposes. I tried rating Sally on the "RateMyTeacher" website that came up on the first page when her name is Googled and my material was suspiciously reported and removed repeatedly. Mind you, I read website guidelines very carefully and was following all of the rules, but suspiciously a certain someone was repeatedly flagging my material and having it removed. This concerns me that other negative feedback on this professor from other students has been removed in the past by a certain someone.

As another tactic, pay careful attention to word of mouth about a professor and what is said of him/her by other students. If you're forced to take a professor at a given time, this can be tricky. This was my particular situation. Prior to taking Sally's course, I didn't bother to ask anyone about her because it was a required course that I had to take at the given time, so I figured what's the point. (This is commonly the case at UW-Whitewater in the master's program). About midway into semester, I started hearing various students' complaints and warnings about Sally: students complaining of her tough, unreasoned grading practices and treatment of her students.

The following lists just some of the grievances I had with Sally Vogl-Bauer's foul-play grading and bumbling practices as a professor:

- On the due date of one assignment, I was trying to turn it in to Sally when she glanced at my assignment and suggested I go home and make a small correction. The correction was to add numbers to make my outline easier to read. She said to turn it in via e-mail before 12 o'clock that night and she wouldn't dock me at all. Despite the fact that I rushed home and got it in before 12 midnight (this was a night class mind you), she docked me a bunch of points for lateness.

- In another instance, I had an interview assignment ready to be turned in, in which I had to interview someone from my career of interest. After completing my assignment, I e-mailed Sally to let her know who I interviewed for her approval, this prior to the due date. Sally e-mailed back that she wouldn't accept my work  because the person I interviewed had been involved with her line of work in the 1990s, not more recent. She told me she refused to accept this because the 1990s was outdated, although it never said this in her instructions. Combined with this, she then told me not to hand in anything on the due date but to meet up with her for a conference. She suggested this so as to discuss the assignment in question. When the due date came along, instead of turning in anything, she and I had the conference over the assignment after class. During that conference, she urged me to do my interview with a particular professor at the college. So I did this and ended up finding out the professor's most recent line of work in the field was from the 1990s (mind you, what she had rejected my original assignment for). As if that wasn't bad enough, when I turned in this assignment before her newly prescribed due date, she docked me 20 points for "lateness," resulting in a C grade.

- In another instance, APA guidelines state explicitly that if an author's name is not provided in an article, that one is to simply use the title of that article in their in-text citing. I did this, but Sally marked it as incorrect. When I asked Sally about this in person, she actually acknowledged that what I did was correct as the author was not mentioned in the source; however, she stated that she was keeping the points deducted because I could have looked elsewhere other than the source itself, that I could have found the author's name somewhere else on the Internet. Sally fails to realize, however, that doing this would go directly against APA policy (
as even shown at the following website address in which APA policies are explained: If a professor instructs her students to use APA guidelines, students shouldn't then be docked points for using APA guidelines. If Sally was expecting students to bend the rules and not follow policy, she should have made this clear in her instructions or prior to the assignment in question. Again, I visited with her multiple times prior to the assignment to pin down her expectations.

- Most of Sally's criticisms in her grading were over unmet expectations never previously expressed as requirements in her instructions. For example, she deducted me all kinds of points over my research paper opening paragraph being "too prosy." However, Sally had never previously stated what kind of opening paragraph she'd like in the research papers, and I even visited her during her office hours to pin down her expectations. Her only instructions as far as opening paragraphs was to: A.) write an opening paragraph; and B.) make sure that it draws the reader in. When Sally was questioned on deducting me points over this when her instructions never specified what exactly she was looking for, she even acknowledged she didn't specify what kind of opening paragraph she wanted. However, she stated that these points would remain deducted because students should just know what kind of things she's looking for by graduate school. As if that weren't bad enough, she shared that she thought my writing was "too prosy" with the class after grading this assignment.

- Prior to the due date of my research paper, I visited with Sally during her office hours to pin down her expectations. In one of the visits when I had most of my research paper done, Sally informed me that I'd have to start my research paper all over again because she didn't feel the books I used were scholarly enough. She told me to use EBSCOhost for my sources instead. With that, I redid my research paper and used EBSCOhost for all of my sources. In grading this assignment, Sally deducted me points over use of EBSCOhost, claiming that my sources still weren't scholarly enough. I pointed out to her that she was the one who told me to use EBSCOhost. She replied that not all articles in EBSCOhost are scholarly and that students just kind of have to know what is and is not scholarly even in EBSCOhost otherwise they could be deducted a lot of points. 

- My semester with Sally got off to a poor start from the get go. My first issue with her was—when I tripped all the way up to the college and saw no one in the classroom. I stood outside the classroom door for 10 to 15 minutes before I just assumed we weren't having class and went back home. When I got home, I checked the class syllabus and my school e-mail and saw no note from Sally as to cancellation. So I e-mailed Sally and questioned her on whether or not we had class. Mind you, she deducts points for absences. About a half hour after the 3-hour class period was complete, Sally e-mailed back and said that she wrote a note "inside the classroom at the front of the classroom on the whiteboard." In all the other classes I've had in which the rooms were switched, ALL my previous professors knew enough to stick a note on or beside the classroom door so that this would be the first thing that students see as opposed to an empty classroom. In addition, ALL my previous professors knew enough to send out a mass e-mail letting all students in question know that class would be held from a different room. This goes for all my previous UW-Whitewater professors and my UW-Waukesha professors alike. Sally's short response e-mail concluded with "I apologize for your (yes "your") confusion." She failed to mention or highlight to me of any noteworthy points she went over in that missed class period. In an assignment due the following week in which I followed all her written instructions, she deducted me numerous points for unmet expectations. I could only assume these unmet expectations were communicated by Sally in that missed class period because her reasons for docking me weren't listed as requirements in her written instructions. I later found out that Sally did indeed go over material about this assignment in that missed class period. She graded me a C for the assignment in question.

This is only some of the foul play that Sally Vogl-Bauer engaged in with me and grading my work. I have hard evidence of the above incompetency and iniquitous grading practices that Sally engaged in all semester long. My evidence is in the form of the graded assignments in question and e-mail correspondence I had with Sally. My grade from her for this course ended up being a C which is failing in the master's program. Because I had so much evidence against Sally, I made a grade appeal and behavioral complaint against her. Mind you, this is the first time I felt these measures were necessary in my entire college tenure. Compounded with Sally's foul grading practices was her uncalled-for, degrading, and insolent treatment that I was also subjected to, as noted below: 

- During that conference Sally had suggested as opposed to turning in an assignment, she was degrading and condescending from the word go. As soon as we sat down together, she told me how awful I was doing in her class for using an interviewee from the 1990s and flat-out asked me what I was doing in college. Repeatedly, she told me I didn't belong in the master's program or college, period. She explained that college just isn't for me. She then began to question me incessantly as to where and how I got my degrees, what schools I went to, who my previous professors are, etc. Ex. "Did you get your degrees from here????!!!! Who are some of your previous professors?!!!! What are their names?!!!! Give me the names of these previous professors you had here at UW-Whitewater."

- As had been the case in past interactions I'd had with Sally, she spewed a tirade when I made a polite reference to one of my previous professors because she detected that I'd used "Mrs/Mr" as opposed to "Dr." She told me that she herself has a doctorate degree and so does the professor in question, and that I am never to refer to them nor her as "Mrs/Mr", but "Dr." She ranted on and on about how I need to recognize who I'm speaking with and that I should know better than to use "Mr/Mrs" with anybody who has earned their doctorate degrees. Included with these tirades, she'd rant about how I'm never to do it with women in particular and that men are known for doing this to women on purpose because "they're sexist." As part of these rants, Sally would say "I know you're probably not trying to be sexist, but it comes off that way when you do this. I'll assume you're not sexist. I'll assume the best of you." I was always perplexed by her "sexism" rants and insinuations because I was often referring to previous male professors of mine in the instances in which she'd rant on sexism.

 - In one instance in which she was incessantly questioning me about who all my previous professors were, I had trouble remembering one of my professor's names. Sally then snapped, "This is the graduate level. By this point, you should be able to remember a name of your professor. This isn't the undergrad or high school level anymore. You're to know stuff like this by now. When someone asks you a question like this, you should be able to answer it."

- At points, Sally's degradation and condescension even became exacerbated with loudness and abrasiveness. In the conference referenced above, I mentioned to her that I'd conducted my original interview, that she had rejected, over the phone. In response to this, Sally took to screaming and lashing out, going on and on about how I knew better than this, how this wasn't what she'd asked for, and how I didn't belong in college. Mind you, that interviews must be conducted in person was never presented anywhere in Sally's instructions for the assignment. But as with all Sally's defenses whenever I'd remind her that her criticisms were never previously communicated as expectations—a frequent occurrence—she fed me the nonsense logic of, "At the graduate level, you should just known what my expectations are without me having to communicate them. This isn't the undergrad or high school level anymore, c'mon!"

- In my research paper, Sally had accused me of plagiarism even though none of my sentences matched the author's word for word. Sally concluded that paraphrasing is plagiarism and that I'm not to use any ONE word that the author has used. She stated that if students use so much as ONE word from the author, they are plagiarists and should be reported. In expressing criticism of me over this, Sally stated, "I'll assume this was an honest mistake on your part and that you're not really this vicious. I don't think you're really this nasty and vicious of a person, so I won't report you to the university over this. I'm just going to give you a low grade and assume that you're not a vindictive, vicious, mean-spirited, and nasty human being. I'm going to go ahead and assume the best about you. I'm thinking that your plagiarism was done unintentionally, that you cannot truly be this nasty, cruel, mean-spirited, and vindictive of a human being."
This is only some of the abuse and foul play I received at the hands of UW-Whitewater professor Sally Vogl-Bauer. Because of Sally's iniquitous, unjust practices in grading my assignments, I ended up with a C for her course. Again, this is considered failing in the master's degree program. I should also note that Sally only has five assignments for her course, so every time she gave me the shaft in grading an assignment, it was a big deal. Her class is predominately heavy-laden reading and class discussion; with that, there's only five major assignments scattered in-between, thus there's little opportunity to try to balance out a bad grade with a good one. Because I had so much hard evidence that Sally had given me the shaft in grading my assignments, I made a grade appeal. Again, in reporting this professor, I presented evidence in the form of e-mail correspondence Sally and I had, along with the graded assignments in question.

As I would later learn, however, after following up on these behavioral complaint & grade appeal matters for the entirety of my summer vacation 2013, this wasn't even the half of my battles: Making grade appeals/complaints against professors is a complete waste of time at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. DO NOT... I repeat DO NOT waste your time on grade appeals or complaints against professors at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The very structure and design of their grade appeal/complaint system favors their professors and leaves their hard-paying students at a distinct disadvantage. I'm thinking most UW-Whitewater students are unaware of how exactly UW-Whitewater's grade appeal process works. Prior to my experience in making these complaints, I know I was unaware of how it worked as I'd never before made a grade appeal or behavioral complaint against a professor prior to Sally Vogl-Bauer. I was always of the impression that I had places to turn to within the university if I was ever graced with an iniquitous and degrading professor. But boy oh boy, was I ever wrong. In the following links, I elaborate more on Sally's behaviors and the consequent five-month-long runaround I was subjected to, fooling with the university's rigged grade appeal/complaint system UW-Whitewater uses against its hard-paying students: and here and here and here and here

Again, if you enroll at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater at my strong warnings not to, you are urged to A.) take teacher review websites very seriously; and B.) spread word on your dealings with professors, both negative and positive, in every way you know how. As shown in the above link, any degrading, disrespectful, iniquitous professors you get stuck with, as I did with Sally Vogl-Bauer, will have the upper hand against you within the university in which they are employed. UW-Whitewater couldn't care less about serious complaints and grade appeals from its students, even when presented with hard evidence. They use a complaint system that is directly rigged against students and favors professors. While $4000 of my hard earned money for this one semester alone is down the drain because of this iniquitous, disrespectful professor and the university's refusal to do anything about her behavior and grades, I have spread Sally's abuse public in every way that I know how.

March 26, 2014 UPDATE
ATTENTION ALL: The grief I've been put through by and as a result of my former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor Sally Vogl-Bauer CONTINUES ON now a year after the fact. Sally Vogl-Bauer is now get this... SUING ME in an OUTRAGEOUS LAWSUIT FOR $900 for "defamation" because I reported her behavior to the public as "degrading," "condescending," "demeaning," that I said "she called me a horrible student," etc. I took the liberty of spelling out the details in regards to this ridiculous lawsuit here:

I received the summons in December 2013... MIND YOU, while I was preparing for Christmas and caring for my handicapped brother. As I have been busy dealing with holidays, vacations, caring for my handicapped brother, etc., I have not had the time to pay much attention to Sally and her bogus lawsuit until now. Anyways, Ms. Vogl-Bauer and her lawyer Timothy Edwards, who is also shockingly enough a college educator himself, aren't even handling this lawsuit traditionally. I am receiving notices in the mail that they don't want the typical court case bench trial where a judge rules (which is normal for small claims cases of this nature), but are seeking and paying for a jury trial. Part of their desired verdict in this case is expecting me to be responsible for all the fees they incur in paying for this. So that's on top of the ridiculous $900.

I did some Internet searches and it's said that cases like these are traditionally handled by a judge so I was very baffled and wondering what these two were up to. I did some more Internet searches and legal experts state that some lawyers will try to be slick and go this route around the judge for cases that would otherwise be thrown out. Legal experts say that there's a better chance for cases that would typically be thrown out as nonsense to be entertained by a jury trial. I also read something about how the people asking for a jury trial get to pick jury members.

I've also been informed by friends that another factor that might work against me is that this case will be handled in a conservative rural area. UW-Whitewater is a predominately white college in a very conservative rural area and thus the case must be handled in that county. Although I've not revealed this in any of my post to date, I am an African American male and Sally Vogl-Bauer is white. It's actually been WHITE FRIENDS of mine of whom I'm very close to who have told me that this might work against me, ESPECIALLY with Sally Vogl-Bauer and her lawyer being able to select jury members out of that county which is an hour away from where I live.

I'm not sure if such factors could be an influence in this lawsuit I'm involved in as a result of this disgraceful and outrageous professor, but I do know one thing: this professor has caused major stress in not only my life but now in the lives of me and my family. I have a handicapped brother to care for and we our having to set aside all this time for Sally and her nonsense when I need to be caring for a disabled brother and family matters. I am CAUTION the public even more so than before about getting involved with Sally Vogl-Bauer and this university. STAY AWAY! DO NOT BE DRAGGED DOWN THE ROADS I AM JUST FOR SEEKING AN EDUCATION.