Friday, February 12, 2016

A College President We Could Get Behind. Sent in By Eating Low Salt.

University president allegedly says struggling freshmen are bunnies that should be drowned

Too many captions...
Amid a conversation about student retention this fall, the president of Mount St. Mary’s University told some professors that they need to stop thinking of freshmen as “cuddly bunnies,” and said: “You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.”

Simon Newman was quoted in the campus newspaper, The Mountain Echo, on Tuesday, in a special edition that reported the university’s president had pushed a plan to improve retention rates by dismissing 20 to 25 freshmen judged unlikely to succeed early in the academic year. Removing students who are more likely to drop out could hypothetically lead to an improvement in a school’s federal retention data; the deadline for submitting enrollment data is in late September.

He said he didn’t remember exactly what he said in the conversation that was quoted, but acknowledged he has sometimes used language that was regrettable.

“I’ve probably done more swearing here than anyone else,” Newman said. “It wasn’t intended to be anything other than, ‘Some of these conversations you may need to have with people are hard.'”


Political Science 2016.

The link, if you must.

A newly-released video shows students at George Mason University struggling mightily to identify Joe Biden and Ronald Reagan based on photographs.

Despite being located in Fairfax, Virginia, which is less than 20 miles from Washington, D.C., the students in the video prove completely unable to identify even figures as notable as Joe Biden and Ronald Reagan.

“I don’t recognize who that is,” says one nursing major when prompted by a smiling photo of Biden. At least seven other students were unable to identify Biden, though one ventured an incorrect guess that the pictured figure was John McCain. One of those unable to identity the vice president even claimed to be majoring in government and international politics.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Fall of the House of Gorge

Well.  We had class again today.  In the basement.  Li'l Eddie even made an appearance and made off with not one, but two of our Bic pens (procured for specifically such a purpose).  This was an auspicious enough sign to satisfy any Roman general.

Like the Horde from the East, Al Gorge descended upon us once more.  Five minutes into the lecture he made a joke about something he said, laughed, and elbowed at nobody in particular to laugh along with him.  Because, obviously, nobody was sitting anywhere close to him.  The young lady he sat next to last class was not in attendance.  I choose to believe that she was just in emotional tatters from being in close proximity to this monster.

So our professor kind of just kept talking over this guy.  Which, honestly, good move.  The professor is quite good at what he does.  He's excellent at taking complex subjects and breaking them down into easy to digest morsels.  He also occasionally applies the Socratic method of teaching with incredibly results.  I'll try to record an example next time because it's really quite impressive.

He's just a generally very good professor who manages to strike that balance between professional and approachable.  You know, you wouldn't feel comfortable adding him on Facebook, but you'd feel comfortable adding him on LinkedIn.

And Al Gorge is just being a normal, loud asshole.  At one point we learn that he's an adult student (which isn't surprising; he looked a bit older) and that he is currently mid-career.

What does he do, you ask?  He didn't leave us wondering long.

"In my line of work." He said, to nobody in particular, "You can't be sayin'. yaknow, the product you're buyin's got some issues wid it."

NOBODY ASKS HIM WHAT HE DOES.  FUCKING NOBODY.  I want to stress that he is NOT answering ANYONE'S question during this class discussion (which he did at least enter into lawfully).

"I'm a used car salesman."

My friend (who's basically a brother to me at this point) and I just made eye contact.  That's all we needed to say to each other "Of COURSE!  Of COURSE you're a used car salesman.  What else could you possibly do for a living than sell, apparently defective, cars without informing the unsuspecting buyers of their problems?"  It's like our minds were the chorus in a Greek tragedy.

We went on about ten more minutes without interruption.  Al Gorge took notes.  He did.  He took them on a small notepad.  I'm really trying to figure out a way to say this without saying "Lol he's fat" but basically, he kind of... rested the note pad on the... promontory of his abdomen and wrote his notes on it in that position.  Rather than put it on his desk.  I'm positive the professor glanced at this pose at least once or twice.  I don't think he'd ever seen it before.  One of the benefits of someone being oblivious, though, is that they never notice if you're staring at them.  So I really took it all in.

We continued like this for some time.  Kind of settled into a rhythm.  Then halfway through (It's a two hour class) the same guy, the same fucking guy, shows up at the door.

Girl in the front row, "Professor."  It's hard to describe just how much emotion she got across with this one word.  It was exasperation, exhaustion, and foreboding/warning all in one word.  He followed her eyes to the door.  Al Gorge was already lumbering out of his seat.

"No!" The Professor shouted.  He moved to intercept food man.  On his way to the door, "Nope! Nope! Nope! Nope! Nope!"

My Professor LITERALLY "Nope'd" this guy.  When he got to the door he told him. "Leave and never return.  You shouldn't be able to get in here."

"But the food-"

"Never. Return."

He scurried off, glancing behind him to see if anyone wanted to buy the food.  Al Gorge was dumbfounded.  His forehead and lower lip were drenched in sweat (I think it was always like that, though).  He didn't even get a chance to say anything.

"You!  Get out of this classroom and spend the rest of the period thinking about the apology you're going to write to me and everyone in this class.  Expect an email from me later tonight."

Al Gorge left, speechless.  The professor had to catch his breath for a moment.  I felt like we should clap, but we didn't.  He's going to be back.  And I doubt he'll be a good student.  But at least we won't have to deal with his food-based antics.

Conan the Grammarian

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Just Saying...A Linked Article Without the Pretense of Any Commentary, Either Through Laziness, Or Better Yet, Through Some Kind of Mic Drop Thing. From Jacksonville Jessica.


The team of academics from the Paris Institute of Political Studies and the University of California, Berkeley, analyzed five years of evaluation data from a French university and from a 2014 study of one semester of an online course based in the United States. At the French campus, about 40 percent of instructors were women. In the U.S., students in two course sections were led to believe they were being taught by a man, and in the other two, by a woman.

At the French university, male students overwhelmingly rated male instructors higher than they rated female instructors, particularly in subjects such as history, economics, and political science. There was no statistically significant difference in female students’ ratings.

Meanwhile, at the university in the U.S., researchers found that female students tended to rate male instructors higher than their female counterparts. Female students said the teachers they thought were male were more fair, enthusiastic, respectful, and professional, and that they provided more helpful feedback. The data for male students didn’t show a statistically significant difference in ratings.


The Miserable Tale of Al Gorge

I'm sorry. I'm sorry for submitting content back to back. I know it seems needy of me. The explanation is very simple: I'm needy. But in all honesty, something so magically horrific happened today that I simply had to share.

It's a class in a basement. It's frequented by Li'l Eddie. Li'l Eddie is a mouse with a personality (he steals pens and pencils from students; video documented) and he's our de facto University mascot.

It's a Global Hamsters Policy class.

One day Al Gorge
figures it out.
Today was our fifth class. The very last day of the Add/Drop period. We were all so innocent. So unwittingly close to safety. But evil had one last card to play. On this last day of Add/Drops, a new student arrived for class. I'll call him... Al Gorge. He was not small in any of our three dimensions or, indeed, any dimension at all.

But that's not what really caught our attention. He was a loudmouth asshole. He would interject his loud commentary while the professor (who is beloved by all) was talking. It went ignored. He would talk loudly to the young lady next to him who, for her part, VERY obviously wanted nothing to do with him.

So he was loud and kind of inconsiderate. That's nothing special, right? Certainly nothing new. You're probably wondering why this is noteworthy. Around... halfway through class the professor was lecturing in that sort of tone that says "Why, yes, this WILL be on the exam." and a gentleman approached the doorway of our classroom laden with brown paper packages.

I was confused. But in just a few moments my confusion would go through puberty and mature into absolute bafflement. Al Gorge held up his hand, somewhere between asking a question and a 1940 German greeting. He was getting the Professor's attention, but not to seek his answer or approval for a request.

"Excuse me, Professor, hang on just a moment please."

He got out of his chair, all eyes upon him. He walked eagerly over to the gentleman at the door... and started handing him money. He got the packages and returned to his seat and then fucking told the professor, while smiling, "Thanks, go ahead."

He begins digging into a large hot steak sandwich, slices (plural) of pizza, and cheese fries. With ketchup on all of those things, including the pizza. He makes a noise as he's going to bite. Not even when he has food in his mouth (though he assuredly makes noise then as well) but while he has NO food in his mouth and is just making his overture to bite into the food. Ketchup is getting everywhere. Sometimes he says "Oops" and chuckles when he sees a splotch hit the table, the floor, or the innocent bystanders around him.

Throughout this entire process, from standing up to starting to eat, we are speechless. Every single other person in the class is like a deer in headlights. My friend since childhood leans over and whispers to me "This can't be real. This is a dream or a movie or something."

The professor is dumbfounded and is taking a while to recover. A girl sitting behind me quietly whispers "Why are you doing this?" as if pleading with some sort of ethereal monster to cease tormenting her.

I don't know what baffles me more. The fact that he's so oblivious or the fact that he somehow got food through security and had it delivered to his classroom. It's like he's some sort of evil sorcerer with magical powers granting him the ability to induce rage and nausea. He had food delivered to his classroom. And he fucking paused our Professor like the lecture we were watching is fucking Tivo.

I could tell immediately that We hated him. I capitalize "We" because it's not a royal we but a sort of democratic "We" meaning society. When he came in and was all loud and obnoxious, fine. We were the Confederated States of Well He's Annoying. But in the two-three minutes that he paused our Professor, got food, and proceeded to get it everywhere we signed and ratified our Constitution and became the United States of Fuck This Guy.

The Professor eventually opted to not address it and just move on, albeit with a renewed sense of horror and wonder, with the lecture.

This was just the first day with a student that I could only describe as... Cthulhu. Or something. Jesus, take the wheel.

Conan the Grammarian