Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Reflections of a Life Mediocrely Lived
TK-421 here reporting from my post in Podunk, Nowhere! Today’s post is brought to you by alcohol! Alcohol: It’s what keeps academics (and administrators) everywhere from tossing themselves off the top of the student union. I should really contact Maker’s Mark and see if they have any interest in adopting that as their new slogan…
But I digress, the summer hiatus appears to be in full swing not only here at CM, but also in my own little slice of hell in this particularly unfashionable arm of the galaxy. The campus is eerily empty of both Jedi faculty and their young Padawan apprentices. So, while I sit in my office overlooking the quad, staring at the tour groups as they go by, I find myself with a bit of time to dwell on some of some of my experiences from the last few months. I have highlighted a few of my favorites…
You all invited me here to advise how you can design and implement this big assessment for your program. So, please stop second-guessing my knowledge and expertise. When you say things like, “Well, the ONLY way you can ever REALLY learn anything is if you use pre-post data. Anything else is just a waste of effort…” I just want to Force-choke you until your eyeballs pop. This just reveals your level of ignorance regarding assessment design and best practices, so please stop talking and let the grown-ups work. You will thank me later.
I really appreciate you showing up to help score all these student papers for the big assessment project. Couldn’t do it without you, really! At least that’s what I told you with a big smile. In reality I could do it without you. Frankly, you are replaceable with any other warm body that can follow a rubric. We are here to be professionals and to get this shit done. So please stop giggling and cutting up with your fucking tablemates like some snowflake freshman. You wouldn’t put up with that shit from a student, so why should I put up with it from you, especially when it’s causing you to screw up every third paper you score. This just causes more work for everybody involved. Shut up and follow the rubric, like a good scoring-droid.
Department Chair Debra:
Thank you for your scathing e-mail telling me just what you think of our efforts to conduct this major assessment project that was requested by the Provost. I’m also sorry that you evidently forgot about the message you got from your Dean, which you quoted in your e-mail to me, telling you about it the project. I’m also really sorry that your Department doesn’t actually do the work you are supposed to do and thus has no artifacts to contribute. It’s a shock to me too that when a course is certified as hamster training-enhanced that they ACTULLY expect you to include hamster training in the course material!
Oh, wait… the shock actually came when you told me that the course designation was more an historical artifact and that your department doesn’t actually teach any hamster training. I then blew up a planet when I read that you would be happy to remove the designation from the courses, but that you were worried about the impact on your programs’ students as the hamster-training courses were a FUCKING UNIVERSITY MANDATED GRADUATION REQUIREMENT. Call me crazy, but I’m more worried about the fact that you, as a Department, are failing to instruct these students in a basic skill. What does that say about you as a Department Chair?
We have been friends since we were bullseyeing womp-rats back in our crappy MA program, and I’m happy that you struck jackpot with your big fellowship to that prestigious R-1. I also understand that you just don’t “get” how I could come over to the dark side of the force and become an administrator, especially when what I do is assessment. I also understand that you don’t “get” what I do. At all. So until you do please stop accusing me of destroying the fabric of higher education and academic freedom. Believe it or not, Rebels and Empire, we are all on the same side of a much bigger war. Besides, I really don’t have that kind of power…yet…