A question has been rattling in my head for several hours: is Molly actually this clueless about how this part of the academy operates? The comic is funny, but it doesn't seem to align with her self-actualized character manifest in other situations. Perhaps the selection bias of the re-runs have made this more obvious. I propose an alternative punchline, not that it's better: "Wow, I must have gone to the wrong T&P meeting. That was the 'Torment and Persecution' committee."
Dang subject-verb agreement. *has made
She does seem pretty naive in this area, doesn't she? Sadly, with poor graduate mentoring (I'll resist adding "is there any other kind?", since I know at least a few exceptions who prove the rule), I think it's possible. She's quite confident in her interactions with her students, which could be the product of significant teaching as a grad student; I'm not sure that, even in the whole series, we see much to suggest she's equally confident/mature in her ability to navigate departmental/university politics.
You've touched on an important point. I think it's more than just graduate mentoring that broke down. Her department head -- whose endorsement she'd almost surely need to go up for promotion -- should have prepped her. Ditto her faculty recommenders.
I just chuckled and turned to Beetle Bailey. - Cal