SNHU Snafu: Teacher Gives Student Failing Grade Because 'Australia Isn't a Country'
MANCHESTER — (Sylvia) Ashley Arnold, 27, of Idaho, is one of thousands across the nation completing their college degrees online thanks to programs like the one Southern New Hampshire University offers.
Arnold, a mom of a 2-year-old boy, is a few credits shy of getting her Bachelor's degree in Sociology. She says its taken her awhile because, well, life. She is currently enrolled in two classes and has just two more before she will walk down the virtual aisle in her cap and gown.
She says she pays just under $1,000 per three-credit hour course.
However, her college course ambitions were put on hold earlier this month. Arnold says she was recently given an assignment in one of her classes to pick a familial trend and compare it to another country's outside the U.S. She chose social media's affect on parenting in the U.S. compared to Australia.
She worked hard on the project so was confused when she received a failing grade.
The professor, who holds a Ph.D., told Arnold she did not choose a country, rather a continent, which was not the assignment. Arnold has asked that NH1 refrains from using the teacher's name to protect her identity.
"My initial reaction went from shock to thinking it was a joke," Arnold said. "Then as I double and tripled checked that Australia was in fact a country (I doubted myself because she seemed so sure) I got a little angry."
Arnold protested and wrote the professor an email. But the teacher hardly budged.
Arnold said she went back and forth with the teacher a couple times, even including links to websites confirming Australia was indeed a country.
The professor finally changed Arnold's grade after doing her own "independent research".
Arnold says she has no hard feelings, she was just glad her grade was changed. "The issue has been resolved and the university has been very helpful," she said. "I have been a student at SNHU for awhile now and have enjoyed it. I just happened to get this professor who didn’t know that Australia is both a continent and country."
Arnold said she picked SNHU because it was a nonprofit university and regionally accredited. She said she liked the fact that it has an on-campus program (but she hasn't seen it. She says she's never been to New Hampshire)
"The price and programs options were big deciding factors for me," she said.
Buzzfeed, who originally broke the story, reached out to SNHU and was told they are looking into the matter.
“At SNHU, we hold our professors to a high standard of excellence and strive to provide high-quality degree programs for all students," the spokesperson said. "On this question, the student is right. We take this concern seriously and our academic team is working to resolve the matter.”