Lauren Keane, assistant vice president of communications for the Manchester-based university, acknowledged that a story about what happened to SNHU online student Ashley Arnold of Idaho, reported by BuzzFeed News on Thursday, is true. However, the professor reportedly warned her to "make sure the date, the facts, and the information you provide in your report is about Australia the country and not Australia the continent".
"That error made it almost impossible for you to accurately complete your week 2 research outline correctly", she replied.
"I want you to understand that any error in a project can invalidate the entire research project", the professor wrote. The unnamed professor, who has a PhD in philosophy, gave her zero points in multiple sections of the assignment because Arnold got the crucial part of identifying Australia apparently wrong.
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Southern New Hampshire University has fired an adjunct professor who had insisted to a student that Australia is not ... a country.
"At first I thought it was a joke". The teacher also responded to say she would do an "independent research" on the matter. "With her education levels, her expertise, who wouldn't know Australia is a country?".
"We deeply regret the interaction between our professor and our student and have apologized to the student and refunded her for the class", the school told HuffPost.
Australia the country, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is comprised of the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands.
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Finally, the professor re-marked the paper giving Ms Arnold a B+, and acknowledging the "misunderstanding".
However when she queried her grade, and provided a library resource confirming Australia is a country, the professor doubled down on her belief it is only a continent. "Following an investigation, we have replaced the instructor as we strive to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and accuracy in educating our students". But the lecturer still provided a warning for her.
That may not be the conclusion SNHU student Ashley Arnold came to for a recent research project.
The professor argued Australia was not a real country, but a continent.
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