Professors at the University have found students to be both uninterested in and unaware of current events — and they decided to take measures in class to keep them informed.
David Hazinski, an associate professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, said he does not feel it is acceptable for people to be oblivious of current events.
“I don’t think [students today] are less informed than preceding generations. I think they are just less informed in general and always have been,” he said. “I teach journalism, and I find it a bit appalling that they have no knowledge of what is going on in the world.”
Hazinski said he forces students in his classes to be up-to-date.
“I tried to do it voluntarily, and that didn’t work, so now I give them a daily news quiz,” he said.
Cynthia Tucker, a visiting professor in Grady College, also takes steps to ensure her students are keeping up with recent events.
“Whether they were interested or not, I simply insisted that they read and write about current events,” she said. “I think journalism students ought to be interested in current events.”
Tucker said she does not think knowledge of world events is important only for journalism students — but for everyone.
“A vibrant democracy depends on a well-informed citizenry,” she said. “And one of the things I told my students is that as the world gets smaller, as the world is more interconnected, the things that are going on in other countries will affect them too.”
Hazinski also said being knowledgeable about what is going on internationally and nationally is important for all students, even those who are not in a field reliant on current events.
“I don’t think there is a gate on science or a gate on history or a gate on veterinary medicine that says ‘don’t go beyond this point because this is the only knowledge that counts for you,’” he said. “In fact, it all counts.”
Billy Schull, a junior management information systems major from Acworth, said there are many ways for college students to stay up to date.
“You have a lot of news sources and things like that that are very abundant,” he said. “Especially being in college, people talk about it, and you have a lot of newspapers that are common and a lot of shows look toward our age group.”
Despite all the available outlets for news and information, Schull said he does not keep up with current events and does not anticipate doing so when he is older.
Jessica Jones, a sophomore sports management major from Brunswick, said she thinks it is important that students be informed, but does not feel most students are.
“There are certain aspects that people just don’t know about that they should probably know more about,” she said.
She said she takes steps to be informed because what is happening on a global scale can affect everyone.
“I get online a lot, and I look at Fox News and CNN to kind of see what is going on in the world and what is happening,” she said. “You never know if it could be affecting us in any way.”
Hazinski said when students become well versed in current events, the day-to-day conversations most students have begin to seem trivial.
“I say, ‘Your life will change in this class. What people are talking about, what your friends are talking about will change,’” he said. “‘It will seem mundane and shallow because you will start learning about and becoming a part of the rest of the world,’ and that is exactly what happens.”
Hazinski said the problem is students have taken tests and done well on them — and haven’t learned anything. The way to be educated is to apply information in real life as opposed to just passing a test.
“[Students] have these cute little expressions like ‘my bad,’ and well, no,” he said. “You’re uneducated, and that is not a compliment, and it’s not okay.”