Dr. Ben Bishop’s Students Respond

By: Phil Rauch | Editor in Chief

Editor’s Note: In last week’s print edition, the final quote from Tim Gallagher was made in reference to a group meeting the students had with Dean Maldonado. Dean Maldonado and Tim Gallagher never met individually. 

Dr. Ben Bishop, a computer science professor, has been suspended from campus for not disclosing his vaccination status to the University, citing privacy issues. 

As a requirement to return to campus this semester, when the vaccines were released, students and staff alike had to get vaccinated and divulge their vaccine status to the University before being allowed onto campus. There were only about 100 issued exemptions, for either religious or medical purposes.

Dr. Bishop informed his students beforehand that he’d possibly be unable to teach the upcoming semester following the institution of the vaccine mandate. A few of his students feel as though this is putting them at a disadvantage. 

Dr. Bishop has been suspended from campus for just about a month, according to Prisco Pocius, a student of his. Dr. Bishop further refused to move to virtual and remote learning, citing the difficulties of teaching hands-on material through a screen. Dr. Spalletta was named his interim replacement to resume in-person instruction of Dr. Bishop’s class “Computer Science Architecture.” Dr. Brennan was named interim professor of Dr. Bishop’s “Data Structures” class. 

Prisco Pocius, ‘23, is a computer science major and has been a student of Dr. Bishop’s on multiple occasions. He said that Dr. Bishop’s students have been put at a disadvantage from having the school changing professors haphazardly.  

“I had to drop the Computer Science Architecture course. Dr. Spalletta, and no offense to him at all because he’s trying his hardest, comes from an I.T. background. The course was just taught so differently between Dr. Bishop and Dr. Spalletta. The notes he had were just completely outdated and completely different from how Dr. Bishop was teaching the course; nobody had any idea what was going on. Dr. Bishop’s absence is 100% taking a serious toll on his students.” 

Tim Gallagher ‘23, also a computer science professor, shares Prisco’s concerns about Dr. Bishop’s absence and their potential deleterious effects on computer science students. 

“I know about two classes, one of which I’ve heard is actually going pretty well; that’s Data Structures. It’s primarily for sophomores and it’s the first computer science class you take here that is a step above introduction. With our class, Computer Science Architecture, I cannot say the same. It’s been going pretty badly. Apparently, communication between the new professor, Dr. Spalletta, and Dr. Bishop has been all over the place; it’s been improving but it’s taken a long time. Due to curriculum changes. Dr. Spalletta essentially skipped through three weeks of material. And, his teaching style is just very different. He comes from an electrical engineering background and that’s very much from the hardware level whereas computer science backgrounds are more of the software level.”

Both Prisco and Tim mentioned Dr. Bishop is widely liked by students in the computer science department and his teaching style is very effective. Tim mentioned that at the end of the class Dr. Bishop gives 10 minute quizzes that really help students internalize the material and makes them prepared for employment. 

Dean Maldonado also paid a visit to Dr. Bishop’s students as a whole to discuss the situation.

“The Dean did not use the best wording to describe certain things, and didn’t come across that she had our best interest at heart. I don’t think she wanted bad things to happen to us, but it just seemed to us that it was more important to them that Dr. Bishop got punished for whatever it was going on, and it just felt like there was bad sentiment,” Tim said.