Thursday, June 9, 2016

From Crystal. An RYS Flashback. 9 Years Ago Today.

As I looked for flashback posts this morning, I found this one which I'd never seen before. And I admit it troubled me. I've done this, happily, and only when I read what the original writer had to say about the "tone" of the relationship did I start to understand the angst.

I know that none of my undergrad profs would have been hoodwinked into moving students in, and now I can't tell if that's good or bad.


Saturday, June 9, 2007
"Sure, Kid, Where Would You Like Me To Put Your TV?"

Last week the Dean at my college created a page in his Facebook comparing our school to the school in the Harry Potter movies and asked students to name the teachers who would play the various characters in the movies. Naturally the students are having a ball with it, and the page has been very busy for the last few days. One student told me everybody will “get the treatment.” Okay, I know, of course, that students do stuff like this all the time, and think energy like this when it comes from the students can be a good thing. But I have a problem with the Dean instigating and then cheerleading for a project the net result of which is the mocking of our faculty. Am I making this up?

Similarly, the administration of my college, which is very small, decided at our founding that it would be nice if faculty helped the students move into the dorms at the beginning of the academic year. They have asked us to do this every year since we opened our doors in 1999. I have declined, but others, especially new hires worried about tenure, have not. Think about this: faculty carrying students’ golf clubs and tennis rackets, stereo components, and so on. I guess this could be fun if you liked doing that sort of thing, although I’m not sure it really sets the tone for the future relationship between the student and the professor. But again what disturbs me is that this order, basically to “have fun,” comes from the administrative level.

At my school one of the ways to fire a tenured faculty member is for “non-collegiality,” which can mean anything from not doing enough committee work to being snotty at faculty senate. In the past “collegiality” was a word that described how we managed ourselves as peers. But in the hands of the administration it becomes one more manifestation of administrative clout. I feel that the Dean’s Facebooking and Faculty Moving Service do something similar.


  1. The comparison to Hogwarts is a funny way to get students to think about faculty and college, a more creative version of Rate Your Professors. I don't see this as insulting - the people who are like Snape probably take it as a compliment.

    Faculty moving students into dorms is the stuff of nightmares. If I had to do it, I'd make the entire interaction so awkward that I would not be invited back.

    "Hey, Bob, are you expecting to get laid on this couch? I'd recommend you get something with better fabric, or preferably leather. Stains are easier to clean up, ya know what I mean?"

    "Good to see that I brought a rug for your room. They soak up vomit better than the dorm carpet. Trust me, I know."

  2. It's all part of the customer service model. My college MAKES faculty serve students dinner twice a year in the cafeteria. Last year I FORGOT to wear my hair net. I did what I could to get disinvited.


  3. Y'all are Bernie Sanders. Get with it.

  4. And just think, this dean by now is likely a provost or university president, and no doubt is still drunk on the same Kool Aid. I can't decide what about this is most cringe-worthy: the newly extended range of this idiot's terrible ideas, the salary drawn for this tomfoolery, the expanded size and cost of the staff team used to inflict these abominations, or the adjunct salaries used to pay for it all. It's yet another demonstration of how, as administrations expand in size and influence, they do increasingly many things they shouldn't be doing.

  5. This idea of having teachers act as packmules for students is so good that I think it should extend to administration-teacher interactions. For example, my apartment has a water stain in the corner and a nonoperating electrical receptacle which the landlord has been slow to fix. But, my provost apparently has plenty of spare time to change my students' grades, so maybe he should take care of these defects in my housing also. He should bring the president over, too, because my trash bin is full and the walk to the communal bin is rather long. I am sure my opinion of them as servants of those whom they lead would not be influenced by this familiarity.

  6. my university suggests it every year and every year I ignore it. They want some 50-something prof carrying heavy boxes for healthy 18 year old? Screw that.

  7. The President at our joint set up a YouTube channel which shows him, his buddies, various adminicritters, local Ron Burgundy-like “celebrities”, as well as students, doing flash mob type crap to well known (think: Katy Perry) songs. What possible positive outcome he thought could from this, I just don’t know.

    Not sure about helping students move in, but move out I could probably get behind.


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