Economics prof won't finish term

by Kristen King | 11/18/93 6:00am

With only two and half weeks left until final exams, a visiting economics professor is leaving the College and will not finish teaching two sections of Economics 22, a course on macroeconomics.

Two senior professors in the economics department visited the classes yesterday and told students that Alastair McFarlane, a visiting professor from the University of Michigan, would not finish teaching his courses this term.

McFarlane had also been scheduled to teach Economics 10 at Dartmouth next term.

Department Chair Jack Menge and Professor David Blanchflower told the students that the remaining classes would be taught be senior macroeconomics professors.

In an interview last night, Menge would not say why the department is replacing McFarlane. He said the Dean of Faculty Office and the College's lawyers are handling the situation.

"The only thing we can confirm is what we've heard from the students," Menge said.

Students in the courses said they had filed numerous complaints with the department about McFarlane's teaching and speculated that he had been dismissed.

Reached last night at his home in Hanover, McFarlane declined to comment.

Kiley Barnhorst '94, a student in one of McFarlane's Economics 22 sections said McFarlane did not come to class on the day he had scheduled a mid-term examination and that he repeatedly left in the middle of classes to retrieve materials from his office.

Barnhorst characterized McFarlane's teaching as "horrendous."

John Monz, a visiting professor who has taught at Dartmouth for the last several years, will teach Economics 10, a statistics course, in the winter, according to Menge.

Ildiko Shinkle '94 said an informal vote was taken in the Economics 22 class yesterday and only two students said McFarlane should continue teaching the course.

Economics professors will meet tomorrow to decide how the course will be graded and to decide exactly how the remaining classes will be taught.

According to Barnhorst, Menge told students they would probably be allowed to drop the class and take it as a fourth course in the Winter or Spring terms. Students are only allowed to take a four-course load three times in their Dartmouth careers but retaking Economics 22 would not count as one of those times, Menge said.

Students may also be able to exercise the Non-Recording Option without having it count toward the total of three NROs that students are allowed to take at Dartmouth.

They might also be permitted to audit another Economics 22 class later this year, Menge told the classes.

Students in the classes said they were told all grades on homework assignments will be erased, Friday's mid-term has been canceled and students can determine what proportion the first mid-term and the final exam count toward their grade.

"I think the College handled it in a fair way, but it's frightening to be left in this position," said Artie Zweil '94, who is in one of the Economics 22 sections McFarlane taught.

Zweil said McFarlane sometimes presented the material well, but could not handle the questions he was asked.

Even though the College is offering options, Shinkle said the confusion places an undue burden on students, who will now face higher-level classes unprepared or must make time to audit the class another term.

Barnhorst said the economics department asked students in the class to fill out a survey about the professor earlier this term after many members approached department heads with complaints. The response toward McFarlane was overwhelmingly negative, she said.

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