Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I've gotten so old, I forgot my own schtick

Tip toes lost?  Tarp ton lust?  Top Ten List?  Hey, that sounds catchy.

Let's first talk about misery.

Their lying. Our hard work. Their cheating. Our Drinking.

Wait, am I talking about being a professor? Hell no, That's country music. Funny that you should get them confused.  But now that gets me to thinking. Most professors might think that they and country music are like this:

                             O                                            O

That's a Venn diagram.

There's a lot in country music that y'all might appreciate. It's about upholding traditional values (think standards of conduct in your classroom).  There's also themes about mama, trains, trucks, prison, getting drunk and the misuse of MLA formatting.  OK, I made up that last one.  Trust me.  It's like ol' Hank wrote his songs about us.

Shit, where was I going with this?  Oh, yeah.  A top ten list.

Top Ten Country Songs for College Faculty (links are to actual songs)

10. He Stopped Attending Her Class Today
9.  Where Were You (When You Should Have Been Studying)
8.  If You’ve Got the Money, We’ve Got the Tuition Bill 
7.  Have I Told You Lately That You Won’t Pass My Class
6.  I’m So Underpaid I Could Cry 
5.  Folsom County Community College Adjunct Blues
3.  I Am a Student of Constant Excuses 
2.  Blue Eyes Cryin’ for Extra Credit
1.  Stand By Your Syllabus 

I hope y'all drank as much reading this as I did writing it.

The New Math...1 M.A. + 0 Money=Misery!!!

You can do the math:  1 non working spouse on very low unemployment check for 1.5 months already.  End of part time retail job that helped make ends meet.  0 income for month of August on my end.  5 classes that equal less than $10,000 for the fall.  Living in one of the most expensive areas of the country.  All this equals---misery.   

The “F” word (foreclosure aka Judgment Day) is coming.  We bought a money pit, so it's actually a relief, but dealing with all the stuff is exhausting.  This has been going on since the semester ended. 

This is also destroying my dream of the Ph.D.  I suspect finding a job at Craptastic Community College will do more for us right now.  We can go anywhere, so where is living cheap?  Ideas, anyone? 

Job searching was the last thing on my mind before I fell asleep last night, and it led to an awesome dream.  The job was at a lovely SLAC for a great salary, with CM'ers on the hiring panel!  Hiram and I shared bafflement over americanus studentus.  Beaker Ben brought chemical goodies.  Strelnikov offered to dispose of bodies.  Bubba offered me bourbon.  Emergency Mathematical Hologram gave me the Virtual Teaching Assistant for grading, and Stella was our Smackdown Dean. 

And then I woke up…..’nuff said.  

The Obsolescence Question. From Inside Higher Ed.

By Jonathan Rees

When’s the last time an ice deliveryman visited your home? Have you ever talked to a telephone switchboard operator? Thanks to new technologies, these once-common occupations passed into history many years ago now. Bank tellers and travel agents are not completely obsolete, but substantially fewer people are employed in these lines of work than in the past for similar reasons.

Will new developments in Internet-based communications technology do similar things to college professors? Perhaps people like me will face the same trouble finding employment that newspaper reporters or piano tuners face nowadays. Or perhaps MOOCs will eliminate the need for professors almost entirely, allowing students to flock to courses offered by a smattering of "super-professors" while computers, graduate students and adjuncts do all the grading that once occupied so much of an analog instructor’s time.

Read more.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Even though it is Monday, I am Thirsty. How Would YOU respond?

With the exception of names being changed to protect----well, to protect our identities, I am copying the following e-mail word for word.  I just received it. 

Hi Professor Bella, 
I am Contacting you to let you know that I will be missing the first 1 or 2 weeks of class due to the fact that I will be getting surgery the week before, So I thought it was in my interest to let you know this information ahead of time.


I am an Idiot

Sid from Santa Fe on "Individualized Instruction."

I'm Rick!
Rick just dropped my summer class. Here at the Worst Juco in America, one can take 11 weeks of a 12 week summer class and still take the W.

And Rick took his W this morning.

Now, for the 11 weeks he was with us, he dominated class. He never missed an opportunity to talk over others, so much so that I had to keep him after 3 different classes to tell him to ease up and let others have the chance. His most momentous response to this was: "No way. These students don't care. If they would, they'd talk. I care. I need this class. I want to learn. You should teach the interested ones!"

He also loved to dispute or question assignments, regardless of how innocuous the guidelines might be.

He had a particular fondness for going after me in class for word counts.

"Why 500 words? Will you fail me if I write 499 or 501? What if I do what I want to do and turn in 5000?"

"Well," I'd start, "there are all kinds of reasons for word counts, sometimes it's about the level of detail I want you to use on a thesis, other times it has to do with offering reasonable limits to help you safeguard writing 5000 words when they aren't necessary."

It was constant. The 11 weeks dragged. People would roll their eyes when he started things like: "I don't get why I have to use MLA style. What if I don't care about documenting my sources? That should be my prerogative. Maybe while you're writing research papers I want to write a feature article like the ones in magazines I read." (Oh, don't ask. I was horrified to learn what mags he wanted to emulate.)

"I feel as if you've dampened all the creativity out of this class," he said one day. "You're all about rules, and I'm about language!"

As I was walking to class this morning, Rick was headed the other way.

"Hey, Sid," he said. "I've dropped the class. Got some stuff that's more important to me than finishing up the work I'm late on. Plus, I'm a little pissed that I didn't get individualized instruction and attention."

"Gaw," I said. "Smerghhh, ugggggggh."

"Like it says on the TV commercials. Right? Individualized instruction. Learn at your own pace. You don't follow that. Still, it was fun debating with you."

And then he was gone.

Students Love the Social Media! From MSNBC.

Kent State University police have arrested and charged a 19-year-old student after he sent a message out on Twitter saying he planned to "shoot up" campus.

William Koberna, 19, was arrested at his parents' Brunswick home Sunday following the threatening message sent on the social media site.

Koberna has been charged with inducing panic, a felony, and aggravated menacing related to the tweet. He will be arraigned at 1:15 p.m. Monday.

Brunswick police executed an arrest warrant at Koberna's home late Sunday afternoon and took him into custody without incident.

The sophomore will be arraigned in court on Monday. He also faces university hearings that can result in his suspension or dismissal.

"Any threat to our campus community is taken seriously and immediately investigated," said Kent State University President Lester Lefton. "Our students, employees, and all those who come to campus should know that their safety is our top priority."

50% Increase in Grading Misery

I've written before about being a grader for the upcoming fall semester. The semester hasn't even started yet, but the misery is already deepening.

The class was originally slated to have an enrollment of 80. Since the proffie, with his rep for being "easy," is quite popular, the class filled up at the beginning of the registration period. About 40 additional students signed up on the wait-list.

I just visited the university's course info website to check the schedule of another course that I'm taking, and found out that the powers-that-be have increased the size of the course I'm grading for to 120. All of the wait-listed students have been allowed to enroll. Now, instead of grading papers for 80 students, I'm apparently going to grade for 120. No big deal, just a 50% increase in my workload.

To quote Beaker Ben: "I don't like students. Why would I want more of them in my class?" Oh, right, because it isn't *my* class, it isn't my decision. I'm just the one doing the lion's share of the work.

I wonder if this means I'm going to receive a corresponding 50% increase in my meager stipend? Hahaha, I crack myself up.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"College professors ‘fight’ over class timings." Those Mumbai Proffies are Crazzy!

Two professors allegedly came to blows in the staff room of Ismail Yusuf College in Jogeshwari over the issue of timing of lectures. One of them had to be hospitalized with an injured arm.

While the injured professor alleged that he was beaten up by a senior colleague, eyewitnesses in the college claimed that he got hurt when he tried lift a chair to hit the latter.

On Wednesday morning, as D Khare entered his second year BCom class, he was asked to wait by W K Acharya, who was already teaching there. "I called my head of the department and there was an argument. The matter was settled and, after lectures, I went to the staff room. There, we again had an argument. The senior professor then hurled a chair at me," said Khare.

Khare was rushed to Cooper Hospital and he also filed a complaint with the Jogeshwari police after the assault.

However, professor Acharya said, "There was a minor argument. He is trying to blow it out of proportion. He, in fact, tried to lift the chair and hit me when he got a sprain."

A police officer who visited the college said: "Witnesses said Khare got injured when he tried to lift a chair. We have, however, taken his complaint."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chick-fil-A Controversy: University Of Louisville Students Protest To Remove On-Campus Fast Food Joint. From HuffPo.

University of Louisville students cannot use Chick-fil-A sauce in good conscience.

Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A's president, has long supported groups that fight against LGBT rights, spending millions through their charitable arm WinShape. However, earlier this month in an interview with the Baptist Press, when asked about his rumored bias against same-sex marriage rights, Cathy responded "guilty as charged."

Then in another interview on "The Ken Coleman Show", Cathy said "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.' And I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about."


Friday, July 27, 2012

I don't like students. Why would I want more of them in my class?

Allow me to provide some advice to you, a student trying to register for my general chemistry class which is already filled. You typically stop by my office at the worst possible time (e.g. while I’m in it). There are 10% more of you this fall than last year but the same number of classes offered. I shouldn’t hold that against you but I can. Sometimes I do.

First, if you are registered for any general chemistry class, even the one with a 4 pm lecture and 8 am lab with the crazy guy from Turkmenistan we just hired, consider yourself lucky that you have a class at all. You might not be able to understand what he says, but, um, well, I’m pretty sure that you won’t be able to understand what he says.

Now, I appreciate your efforts to help me by showing up with all four of your friends, asking that all of you be added to the same class, which is already over-filled. I can say, “No.” just once. Actually, you still bitch, beg and complain enough that I have to say it four times, but at least your group visit saves me from saying it four times to each of you. I may be an asshole but I’m an efficient one.

Dorm Dancin' #3. A VidShizzle.

A Friday Thirsty Just as it Arrived.

angsds 'n drink

(Maybe this is an Thursday Thirst, who knows. Up to you).
Deep questions (written in a alcohol-laden haze),
1) If you are in a bar, and the waiter is one of your students, can
you still get drunk?
2) How much are you to tip?
3) Being hur a 9, are salacious comments about the waiter/-ss to your
co-drinkers absolutely out of place?

My answers 1) of course you can, 2) like a drunken pirate, 3) it's ok
as long of hu does not hear any of it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Maybelle is knee deep in Misery

I have picked up stakes and moved to a completely new culture/place. It's quite the adjustment. I feel like I have landed on Mars.

The pay at my new job, with all the work and CONSTANT emails from the admins about what to include to be compliant with New University Standards, even without stepping foot in a classroom, is looking like I might be earning less than a dollar an hour by the time I'm done with this course.

In order to meet all the admin requirements, which I got three days ago, I have to completely redesign the course. I also have to learn a completely new LMS. The LMS would be more intuitive, but IT doesn't have very good handouts or explanations of, well, anything. I was given wrong passwords and wrong URLs. I'm tech savvy, and the handouts were outdated. No one at New Job believed me until I CCed the chair. Funny how my emails got answered faster after that ....

I also was informed about the Mandatory Faculty Meeting and Mandatory LMS Training ... while I was still employed at Old Job and in the Old State. Now I have been officially marked absent for both Mandatory events, even though I read all the material and have incorporated all the Mandatory Elements.

I have Other Misery from my Old Job, but I need to let those wounds heal before I open them up again. Needless to say, I left Old Job feeling bitter, jaded, and humiliated.

More MOOC Misery

This may be flogging a dead horse, but following from the earlier posts about Massive Open Online Courses, Marc Bousquet nicely summed it up on the Chronic.


If institutions really wanted to sustain participatory learning, they would already be doing so, for instance, by reducing lectures and high-stakes testing, investing in teaching-intensive faculty and the like. Instead, driven less by cost concerns than a desire to standardize and control both faculty and curriculum, administrations rely more than ever on lectures and tests.

It’s hard to imagine that an education vendor, particularly one driven by profit, will do more than use Siemens’s and Downes’s excellent, sincere efforts as a tissue-paper justification for passing off cheap “social media opportunities” as a substitute for sustained interaction with working professional academics.


I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here's Why. From Harvard Business Review.

by Kyle Wiens

If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building.

Some might call my approach to grammar extreme, but I prefer Lynne Truss's more cuddly phraseology: I am a grammar "stickler." And, like Truss — author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves — I have a "zero tolerance approach" to grammar mistakes that make people look stupid.

Now, Truss and I disagree on what it means to have "zero tolerance." She thinks that people who mix up their itses "deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave," while I just think they deserve to be passed over for a job — even if they are otherwise qualified for the position.

Everyone who applies for a position at either of my companies, iFixit or Dozuki, takes a mandatory grammar test. Extenuating circumstances aside (dyslexia, English language learners, etc.), if job hopefuls can't distinguish between "to" and "too," their applications go into the bin.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Texas A&M Students Form Human Wall To Block Westboro Baptist Church Protestors. From HuffPo.

Hundreds of Texas A&M students gathered this week to form a human wall around the funeral service of a soldier to protect his family from Westboro Baptist Church protesters, KBTX.com reports.
texas aggies
Texas A&M alum Lt. Col. Roy Tisdale died on June 28 during a safety briefing at Fort Bragg, N.C. Tisdale was killed by another soldier who then fatally shot himself.
Tisdale had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the days after the soldier's death, word spread that Westboro Baptist Church members were planning to protest Tisdale's funeral.
Described as a "homophobic and anti-Semitic hate group" by the Anti-Defamation League, Westboro Baptist Church regularly stages protests around the country.

Politics Suck.

I'm not a big political guy. I have my preferences, and I vote, and that's about that. I don't get into arguments with people about Whozits or Whatzhisname.

But over the summer I've been making a few trips around the Midwest and to that end I've watched the news on TV in a number of different cities. I've heard talk radio people in the car as I drive. I'm reading newspapers most mornings at the IHOP or Denny's. (And enjoying silver dollar pancakes at one and Grand Slams at the other!)

And I'm just convinced that politics suck, and that politicians - generally - have given up any pretense that they're working for us or trying to make things better.

Every battle is partisan. Every volley - no matter how small - is slammed back with indignation. There is so much vitriol on both sides that I doubt anyone is trying to fix the country. They're just all trying to win their little battles. And they are trying to do it while making fun of the goofs in the other party.

I don't see any evidence of anyone willing to put aside party differences to simply act in the best interests of the whole country. I don't believe there's anything that our current political climate that can make anything better.

I am 99% sure I'm politically naive, and that the above modest complaint is awfully simple minded.

But I was thinking of all of it in terms of my students, my poor, poor students, and the world we are turning over to them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dr. Adjunct Gets an Admisery Email.

The following is an email which I received today regarding a current course. Part of the university rules require instructors to post attendance into a second system for access by the adminicritters.


Dear Dr. Adjunct,

I noticed that you marked Nonattending Snowflake as attending class
yesterday. However, she had told us that she would not be able to attend
classes this term and she has not attended any classes since the term
began. Nonattending Snowflake is being charged a "no show" rate until
she is withdrawn (while failing) automatically from the system.

Dubious Dean


Now, seriously, what university in the world (other than this one) would prefer to keep a student enrolled when the student has said that she would not be attending (to administratium and not her instructors, mind you)? I can't think of a reason why other than the green shit which leaks from the United Socialist States of America government in the form of "student loans."

Monday, July 23, 2012

See? Wikipedia really is written at the level of a shitty undergrad essay.

Let me get this straight: so the goal of this course is to get *undergraduate* research posted on Wikipedia...so it can be considered "expert knowledge" and promptly plagiarized by other lazy undergrads?!

Shove over, Bubba.  Imma need some of that bourbon.

Some Good Ol' Smack

Received this email last week:

I just wanted to apologize for getting back to you so late, I have had a terrible week! I had everything ready wednesday to post my topic and right when I started writing it the track pad on my macbook froze! So I had to take it in to the Apple Store, luckily they were very quick fixing it. Unfortunatly the Apple Store is in a very upscale mall inside of a casino, which is not in a very good neighborhood. When I was walking back to my car with my laptop I was attacked by a crazy homeless man and I broke my hand! Ughhhhh!!!! I'm so mad, it's really depressing, and it hurts ALOT! They didn't give me any pain medicine and the ER wouldn't set it for me, they just put me in a temp cast and told me I need to see a specialist, but he won't see me because I have no insurance! I'm sooo frustrated! But I wrote this paper with a broken hand, I know it isn't perfect and I apologize, I am just in too much pain to revise it. Sometimes my professors tell me that they can't see my papers because I use open office, so i will copy it to the bottom incase it doesn't come up for you. I attached a picture of me in this temp cast THAT I HATE!!!!!! That is me pretending to be happy that I have this thing on. It could be a lot worse I guess. I keep laughing that its my last class, its almost like I have to fight my way through it now! Sorry again!

College courses free online.

Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng share a vision in which anyone, no matter how destitute, can expand their minds and prospects with lessons from the world's top universities.

That dream was joined this week by a dozen vaunted academic institutions including Duke University, the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

The schools will add online versions of classes to Coursera.org, a website launched by Stanford University professors Koller and Ng early this year with debut offerings from Princeton, Stanford and two other US universities.

"We have a vision where students everywhere around the world, regardless of country, family circumstances or financial circle have access to top quality education whether to expand their minds or learn valuable skills," Koller said.

"Where education becomes a right, not a privilege."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

College Professors Fearful of Online Education Growth. From USNews.com.


Online education continues its meteoric rise on college campuses, and many faculty members are frightened by its growth and prevalence, notes a recent study by Inside Higher Ed and the Babson Survey Research Group, which has spent more than a decade studying online education.

The report, which surveyed 4,564 faculty members, reveals that 58 percent of respondents "described themselves as filled more with fear than with excitement" over the growth of online courses within higher education.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Calvin and Hobbes and the modern university.

This morning`s Globe has (yet) another piece on how online courses will clear out all those lazy tenured bums and bring edjumakashun to the masses.  It reminded me that recently Calvin became president of a new university on the customer model...

Still a few bugs to work out in the marketing department.

I turns out that the marketplace can be pretty demanding but Calvin resorts to creative accounting practices to boost the bottom line.

In the end, however, Free Enterprise is once again crushed by blatant government over-regulation.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Aurora Shooter Was PhD Dropout.

Aurora Shooter
James Holmes, 24.
from Yahoo.com

Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes was in the process from withdrawing from a doctorate program in neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Denver, according to university spokesman Dan Myers. Holmes began the program last year.

This photo, obtained by ABC News, reportedly shows the 24-year-old Holmes. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said Holmes' apartment is booby trapped with a "sophisticated" maze of flammable devices. It could take hours or days for authorities to disarm it. Five nearby buildings have been evacuated. Oates said Holmes had no criminal record in the state.

Holmes' family, who live in San Diego, released a statement expressing their sadness for the victims and asking for privacy. Holmes is suspected of walking into an Aurora theater's midnight showing of "Dark Knight Rises" wearing a gas mask and bullet proof vest and shooting at at least 50 people. Twelve are reported dead.

Saga of the Chair.

For 6 years, I sat in a chair that would nearly tip over if I sat too far back. It didn't move up or down but was, luckily, stuck at a proper height. It was square, with faded light blue upholstery and rusted metal legs and arms. The chair cushion was stained from coffee, cookie crumbs, and chocolate bars. It was not comfortable, but it wasn't painful to sit there. I inherited from my predecessor. Who knows how old it really was. I have never seen one like it before in any office supply store.

When I asked for a new chair, I was told: "We could buy you one, but let's get one from surplus instead."

My new-to-me chair won't move up or down. I have a choice of sitting on the floor, or sitting hunched over like Bartleby the Scrivener, banging my knees into the edge of my desk. I should have kept Old Chair. At least, I knew what I had with Old Chair.

"Let's get you back on that surplus list. Maybe another batch of chairs will turn up soon. "

Guess I will be heading over to the local Office Despot to shell out some hard earned summer school money.


The Nattering Nincompoops of Notational Neurosis

"Hey Prof, I blew off class yesterday due to an unfortunate partying injury (looonnng story). Can you e-mail me your personal lecture notes right away? Thanks."

"Trees felled by a freak tornado blocked my commuting route today, and then demented mimes came out of nowhere and boxed me into my parking spot (I couldn't break through their invisible glass), so I couldn't get to class. Is there a note taker in the class who can send me typed notes? I'll be LOST without them!"

"I had to have emergency brain surgery yesterday but I'm all better now. Will you post notes online for what I missed?"

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Keelhaul

Hello, Student That Is Going to Receive an “F” in My Online Sophomore Survey Class.  You plagiarized. 

Did you think I was talking out of my ass when I had you read all that shit about plagiarism, and made you sign a contract stating that you wouldn’t do it, and that you understood you would fail the class if you did?  I don’t ever talk out of my ass, Student That Is Going to Receive an “F” in My Online Sophomore Survey Class. Though you have persisted in treating me like I’m your “bestie,” I have been deadly serious with you since you begged me to bump the cap for you three weeks ago.  If you recall then I wouldn’t bump the cap.  What makes you think I will spare you now?

"Instinctual Self-Defense Class for College-Bound Females." A Thirsty Article from Vicki in Van Nuys.

Some sobering statistics about the number of rapes on college campuses and the fact that Leslie Maltz’s daughter was heading to one, prompted her to start a self-defense workshop for college-bound high school girls at her Tarzana gym.

On Sunday, Maltz will hold a 2-hour workshop to empower young women with techniques to protect themselves from becoming a rape statistic.

She uses the Krav Maga self-defense techniques and common sense awareness drills to drive home the message that today is a different world than years ago and college is a petri dish of potential rape scenarios.

FULL ARTICLE from the Encino/Tarzana Patch.


Q: I remember being a naive and careless young woman in my college "daze." It never occurred to me that there was the threat of rape or assault on a large campus. What are your own thoughts about the safety of female students on our campuses?

Teacher Misery.

Teacher MiseryTeacher Misery, a new blog, has come to save the sanity of teachers everywhere! 

The moderator describes it as "A safe place for teachers to anonymously vent about other teachers, administration, low pay, snowflake students, helicopter parents, no respect, no time to pee and anything else that we must endure."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Things I Really Didn't Want to Know

Sheldon Secretary:  Just because you said you had cooties and I was sympathetic because my aunt had them too doesn't mean I am now your medical confidant. It's fine to tell me how you're doing. I ask, however, that you remember the initials after my name are PhD, not MD.  I don't need your entire medical history and all the sordid details of your last eight doctor visits. When I left the office, I couldn't believe you followed me down the hall and into the elevator! Thank goodness you didn't have a key to my car. I honestly think you would have come home with me if you could have.

Post-Partum Patty: You've given birth in the middle of the semester. Congratulations on your new arrival! Of course I will give you an extension on the assignment. The play-by-play on your episiotomy and subsequent infection was way, way TMI. I will not be preserving your email for posterity. I guess I should count myself lucky you didn't send pictures.

Adulterous Associate Professor:  We've been great colleagues for many years. I consider your wife to be a friend as much as I do you. Confiding in me that a) you have a hottie in your class, b) said hottie has been hitting on you, c) your wife isn't putting out like she used to, and d) you're actually thinking of taking up hottie on her offer after the semester is over "so it will be more ethical" has given me a giant case of the squicks.  How many times have we talked about a couple of colleagues who have pulled this crap? Do you honestly think you're better than they are just because you won't do it in exchange for a grade? And how do I look your wife in the eye next time we all meet for coffee?

After a week of revelations like these, I wish I could just sneak into the building, teach my class, and sneak out to the bar. Or maybe I could just skip the first two steps.

The Oarmaster

Hello, Student That Wants Into My Online Sophomore Survey Class.  Yes I know you want in.  That’s why I am addressing you as “Student That Wants Into My Online Sophomore Survey Class.”  Unfortunately, there are no spaces left in my class.  I do not care that you will be “eternally grateful” if I let you in.   Would you spontaneously decide to devote hours and hours of your life to me, someone you’ve never met, just for my convenience and just because I asked?  No?  I thought not.  Why do you expect the same of me?  I don’t let anyone in over the cap. Ever.  Unless you are a personal friend or a student so blessed with insight that I am inclined to learn something from you (which never happens, because students I am inclined to learn something from have their shit together), you can’t get in. 

But here’s a little tip, Student That Wants Into My Online Sophomore Survey Class.  If you check your computer every ten minutes during the add/drop period, I can almost assure you a space.  Because once the other students see my syllabus and contract, many of them will abandon ship, and there will be an oar waiting just for you.

We Found Strelly's Video Application for Tenure and Promotion.

I Used to Just Worry About Students Smoking The Pot.

SHERMAN, TEXAS -- Sherman police say they might have their first case involving the synthetic drug -- bath salts.

Just a few weeks ago at Grayson College, a girl believed to be high on bath salts struggled with college cops, bit one and had to be tased.

The drug is called "bath salts" because it looks like the bath product.

Sherman police say the drug is illegal because the chemicals used to make it are also dangerous.

At 1 a.m. yesterday, Sherman police pulled over Christopher Puckett for not stopping at a stop sign.

They arrested him when they found a switchblade on him, but they also found a glass pipe and baggy full of what they believe could be bath salts.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Neighbors to the North

Hofstra's "logo flag"

reminds me of the VISA credit card

And Hofstra's motto
("Je maintiendra."/"I shall maintain.")

reminds me of The Big Lebowski

That's all.

Now back to the bourbon.

Someone Named "College Mizery" Sent this In!

Looks like Cal has a protege.

Jax from Jacksonville With Some Job Misery.

Hey, all you search committee motherfuckers. Eat me.

No, not everyone.

Just you jagoffs running last minute hiring right now in English.

You pricks piss me off.

Listen, it's not my fault someone died or gave up or took a better job at Northern Buttfuck State College up the road. It sucks to be you, I suppose, but treat us last minute candidates like we deserve...we're here to save your fucking asses, and that means taking whatever shit classes you have left over that start in a fucking month!

One Skype interview I had last week ended with one ass telling me that they'd partly decide on the hire based on how "sure they could be" that the person they hired would be in town at least a week ahead of their mid August start date.

Uh, yeah. Count me in. I teach until Aug 8 this summer and I'd like to have time to have a cheese sandwich and some margaritas before I end up in your ass backwards town in West Virginia.

Oh, but I complain, and yet I'm also down on my knees to these assholes.

One phone interview I had this week was in 2 parts. The first was with the department chair and two members of the committee. The chair is kind of a big shit in his field, a lot of books, a lot of cred. And he was great. Then the committee was okay, too, one from the department and one from outside. I had a rollicking 45 minutes with them. Then the chair says, "Uh, there's one other committee member who wants to talk to you. We're going to transfer you to his extension."

And I'm like, well I have to pee, but I guess okay.

Then some silence, then an ad on the phone for a kid's summer camp that started in June and could parents please get their money in.

Click, buzz, new voice.

Guy: Hi, I wanted to ask you the same questions the committee asked. Could you try to give me expanded answers on each?

Me: Yeah, what the hell.

Guy: I would have been on the earlier conference call, but I've been told I'm sometimes a distraction and that I dominate conversations.

Me: Well, let's have it then. And pencil me in for any committees you're on, because I'm a bit of a slacker when it comes time to do the textbook picking.

Nah, I didn't say that last thing. I need a fucking gig so I smiled through the telephone wiremachine and gave him canned answers to his canned fucking questions.

And, during the lulls in my repartee, he told me enough bad shit about his colleagues to make me want to go to Bumblebee Kansas and kill all those motherfuckers to put them out of their misery.

But, I have another Skyper this afternoon. Gotta dress nice from the waist up. If I have pajamas or am just nude from the waist down, they won't know. Fucking love it.

Of course, they'll soon find out that's how I rock at office hours anyway.

Motor up, baby.


PS: I will report when I nail one of these gigs. Let the misery reign.

Except for the First 2 Weeks When We Started in 2010, Last Week Was the Worst Ever.

...and down more than 30% from same week in 2011.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Defining Collegiality

Courtesy of gayprof. Some flava:

When it comes time to decide the course schedule for next semester:
Best: “I am willing to teach a mix of upper level and service-oriented courses. While I certainly have preferences about scheduling, I am willing to negotiated with my colleagues to insure that we have a wide distribution of classes throughout the day.”
Fair: “I have several courses that I teach over and over. They serve some basic requirements of the department.”
Bad: “I will only teach classes between the hours of nine and noon. Teaching a survey class is clearly beneath my intellectual talents. Besides, I have a political obligation to offer an incredibly narrow graduate course that only appeals to two students every year.”
Evil: “My class enrollment is by instructor permission only. That way I can make sure that only hot, fit students ever sign up. No fatties!”

When serving on a masters thesis or dissertation committee:
Best: “I read the entire thesis/dissertation. My goal is to provide strategies for the student to revise the work to the best of hir abilities.”
Fair: “I read the entire thesis/dissertation. My goal is to get this over with as soon as possible.”
Bad: “I read some of the thesis/dissertation. My goal is to show that I personally know a lot more about this particular topic than the student.”
Evil: “I plagiarized several chapters of this thesis/dissertation. Nonetheless, I will still vote to fail the student just because I can.”

and one that should be especially popular with readers of this blog: 
During the summer:
Best: “I drink a lot.”
Fair: “I drink a lot.”
Bad: “I drink a lot.”
Evil: “I drink a lot.”

The whole, quite extensive list, accompanied by some cool excerpts from Wonder Woman cartoons, a picture of Pope Benedict XVI, and another of a rattlesnake (it all makes sense in context) can be found here

Dropout VidShizzle.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Loch Ness Monster real in biology textbook. From WashPost.

An undated photo of a shadowy shape
that some people say is the Loch Ness
monster. (AP)
This would be funny if it weren’t so, well, not funny.

A biology textbook used by a Christian school in Louisiana that will be accepting students with publicly funded vouchers in the fall says that the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland is real. And it isn’t just any monster but a dinosaur — an effort to debunk evolution and bolster creationist theory.

The story, reported in the Scotsman newspaper in Scotland, says that Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake is one of the many Christian schools in the United States that uses these books published by Accelerated Christian Education.

The Biology 1099 edition includes a passage about the Loch Ness Monster that says, in part, according to the newspaper:

“Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”


Awright Forktwads! You wanna know what proffies do with their time? Here’s a breakdown for ya.

Recent authors have questioned the time commitments involved in the typical tenure-stream faculty position.  In the spirit of collegial inquiry, I offer the following monthly time budget based on my personal experiences in the Department of Hamster Husbandry at the University of Tuktoyaktuk. 

You’re welcome.  

Time per month
Teaching a class I’ve taught before
12 hrs
Prepping for a class I’ve taught before
6 hrs
Teaching a new course I haven’t taught before
12 hrs
Prepping for the new course I haven’t taught before
24 hrs
Attempting to get my ‘team teaching’ colleagues to deliver on their commitments to the course I (we) haven’t taught before
10 hrs
Apologizing profusely to the dean for attempting to get my colleagues to deliver on their commitments being rude and aggressive.
0.75 hrs
Doing the work my colleagues committed to, but didn’t do.
16 hrs
Swearing at Uploading course materials to BlackHole Board
6 hrs
8 hrs
Listening to complaints, about grading
8 hrs
Conducting laboratory research on hamster husbandry
24 hrs
Analyzing, writing presenting research
20 hrs
Keeping up on the literature. (or in other words, actually reading all those academic papers that everyone is so certain that nobody ever reads.)
24 hrs
Figuring out correct format to upload resulting paper to conference/journal website
2 hrs