Behind Depaul’s termination: Her feelings on UNF and ratings from students

Monica DePaul. Photo by Chelsea Whiteman

“I’ve given my heart and soul to [UNF],” Monica DePaul said. “I love that campus with every fiber of my being. This is the thanks I get.”

DePaul was an English adjunct professor at UNF for five years, before the department decided not to renew her contract. DePaul taught ENC 1101 and ENC 1143 throughout the year. This year was the first year since 2012 she didn’t teach any summer classes.

“[The department] seemingly kept on everyone except me because I have been very resistant to a lot of the extreme changes that have gone, particularly in ENC1101,” DePaul said.

DePaul hated the new English grading system, which focused more on student’s effort than quality. DePaul wrote on her blog that the new grading system was nonsense. It called for more assignments that DePaul said she didn’t do with her students since there was not enough time in her classes.

She said her students also disliked the system since they didn’t know their grade in the class throughout the semester.

“They kept finding flaws in it that I couldn’t account for, which looks bad on me,” DePaul said. “If I’m teaching this thing, I should know what I’m doing…I had panic attacks in the middle of class because I had no idea what I was doing.”

DePaul also disliked the yearly change of textbooks for her classes making it difficult for her to create a solid curriculum. She said the books could not relate to the students, and called them “ineffective and pretentious.”

DePaul despised one of the textbooks she used for a class in the 2015-2016 school year so much that she tried to stab it and wrote the word “BULLSH*T” in permanent red marker on the cover. Photo by Joslyn Simmons

DePaul despised one of the textbooks she used for a class in the 2015-2016 school year so much that she tried to stab it and wrote the word “BULLSH*T” in permanent red marker on the cover.

According to DePaul, the English department is focusing more on rhetoric and composition. DePaul specializes in literature, so she believes her contract was not renewed because she did not fit in with the department’s needs.

“Even though I’ve been teaching rhetoric and composition for the past five years,” DePaul said.

DePaul attempted to provide feedback to the department and wanted to be more involved in order to improve the program. However, she says she never got a response. She also asked to teach higher level courses in her specialty, but said she never heard back from the department.

“I was told today I had many opportunities to be involved in the curriculum, but I reached out, and nobody ever responded,” DePaul said. “I did try to get involved, but apparently that wasn’t enough.”

Students have given DePaul negative reviews on their class ISQ. Her rating on Rate My Professor is a 2.7/5 with 30 percent of reviewers willing to take one of her classes again.  DePaul responded by saying that these evaluations may be skewed due to her being a transgender woman and teaching freshmen.  

One student who rated DePaul “awful” wrote, “What bothered me about this teacher is how she would talk about things, that don’t have anything to do with English, and that she had no authority to talk about. She got a degree in English. Not Psychology, or sociology, or political science. I don’t want to hear about what she thinks is credible knowledge, she needs to teach how to write well.”

DePaul currently tutors online through Smarthinking, and is planning on doing freelance tutoring through WyzAnt. However, she is planning on getting another job. She has applied to Amazon, and has reapplied for the fourth time to FSCJ. DePaul’s plans for running for Congress are still in motion, and says that her termination only gives her more time to focus on her campaign.

The university declined to comment on DePaul’s termination saying that the university does not comment on personnel matters. Brian Striar, head of the English department, did not reply to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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