A Professor at Southern New Hampshire University Has Been Replaced After Telling an Online Student That Australia Isn't a Country

An online adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University has been replaced after incorrectly telling a student that Australia isn't a country, Boston.com reports. Offering over 200 online degree programs, SNHU's website promises instructors "who balance real-world expertise with a passion to educate." Understandably, this instructor's faux pas doesn't exactly align with that description, hence her dismissal. 

The professor assigned a 27-year-old student in Idaho to compare American social norms to that of another country. According to BuzzFeed News, student Ashley Arnold is a stay-at-home mom working on her sociology degree with SNHU. Her instructor, who reportedly has a PhD in philosophy, didn't appreciate it when Arnold chose to research social media norms in Australia because, as the professor said, Australia is a continent but not a country. 

Um, what? 

The teacher failed Arnold's assignment because she insisted that Australia wasn't a country, thus inapplicable to the project. However, Australia is both a country and a continent, and Arnold wrote an email to her professor explaining that she believed the grade was a mistake. The teacher refused to budge, but said that she would reevaluate the paper to see if Arnold "earned more credits than I gave you."

In Arnold's reply to this, she included a link to the "About Australia" page of the country's government website, writing, "Australia is both a country and a continent. It's the only country that is both. I provided a resource in the first email that clarifies that for you...Again I mean no disrespect but my grade is affected by your assumption that Australia is not a country when it in fact is."

Arnold finally filed a report with SNHU about her teacher's grade and received a B+ after the professor reread her project. However, she never apologized for her own mistake, and SNHU announced on Friday that that the professor had been replaced. The staff apologized to Arnold and reimbursed her tuition for the course. 

Kudos to Arnold for persisting in convincing her teacher that her grading was inaccurate. Here's hoping that she doesn't have to do the same with future instructors!