Monday, March 30, 2015

Early Thirsty / RYS Flashback Combo.

The flava:
from a fevered faculty member: "I know that these are good kids. I know that the drinking and smoking and bad behavior of other colleges doesn't exist here. We're blessed."

The meat.

Q: Do you have delusional colleagues?


  1. It's my experience that the delusion is contagious. If a few people have it, it spreads. There have been times in my career when the faculty was pretty normal and only the adminiflakes were deluded. But right now I'm in a swing where everyone believes fervently that our students are better and more well-intentioned than they clearly are.

    I find it hard to draw even the toughest student critic out when I question them like, "Aren't you about ready to kill a freshman?"

  2. When I was an Accursed Visiting Assistant Professor (Hi, Walter!), I had a department Head who would yell at me for every bad student evaluation I got, ignore every good one, and then wonder aloud how we could improve student quality. I wanted to punch him.

    When I was a tenure-track assistant professor, we had a sinister full professor with a German accent and the general air of a child molester about him. He was as Kool-Aid addled as they come, and he thought that junior faculty needed to be put through some kind of fraternity hazing. He still apparently is genuinely delusional about irresponsible, immature student behavior: YES, it VERY MUCH exists, and it is a PROBLEM!!!

    Since then, the cycle has waxed and waned. Hiram is right: delusions can be contagious.It's helped me that I've risen in seniority and have made it loud and clear that I will remain in the reality-based community, and it helps that I have a fair number of like-minded colleagues.

    Right now, too, we here at Fresno State are relatively free of delusion. This is because of the well-known observation that if you refuse to deal with reality, reality will deal with you anyway. The infamous Fresno State "sheep incident" snapped us all back to the reality that not all of our students are "dear children" all of the time.

    The ultimate reality, of course, is death, baby. Here at Fresno State, we've had two students binge-drink themselves to death during fraternity initiations in the past six years. It's a shame that THIS is what it takes to get people to acknowledge reality. Whether anything meaningful is done remains to be seen.

    1. What I find, Froderick, is that hanging on to grudges is a great way to extend one's vitriol. So, you've got that going for you, and I admire it greatly. Now, don't you have to look up into the inky blackness?

      Me, I've got the most recent Black Sabbath cranking through my Bang and Olufsens.

    2. Is that on 8-track or cassette? Walter, you are one OLD mofu.

  3. I am fortunate that almost all of the faculty and admins that I deal with have no delusions about students. Those who do favor the "dear children" language are too polite to refer to students as "revenue streams" which is what they really mean.

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    2. The "dear children" bit made me think about the "dear leader".
      Short, prone to tantrums, and wanting credit despite lack of achievement.

  4. Damn right some (far from all) of my colleagues are delusional. Not so much about the students, but about themselves: they seriously don't see how much they're fucking up. The dean is trying to get us to be delusional about the students as well, but that's been unsuccessful, for now. So thusfar I am blessed that no-one elsevat my joint seems to think that our students are god's gift or any of that.

    Now, as for the RYS flashback:

    These dear children have been entrusted to us, and it's our job to act as mentors and scholars and role models to each of them. We need to act at all times, whether it be in class or out in the community, as leaders, aware that every minute they are looking to us for moral guidance.

    OK, I can get completely behind this. Not necessarily because "they are looking to us for moral guidance." More pragmatically, they are looking to us for good shit to post on teh YooToobz. So keep your ass covered in the presence of these dear children, mm kay? And by coincidence, you will be a role model.

    The other comments from the academic dean and febrile faculty at that meeting are horseshit of the Nth order. Such remarks should be gounds for involuntary hospitalisation in the ward with McMurphy and the Chief.

  5. I'm dealing with a dean who firmly believes every student is a poor, unfortunate soul; all are first generation coming from poverty and blight, grasping for the hope that education can raise them from the serfdom into which they born.

    The reality is less than 10% of our student population meets one of those criteria, let alone multiple aspects of it. And yet the dean is convinced and adamant that the 90% are the minority. The cognitive dissonance really kicks in when it's brought up that close to half of the 90% are much closer to the "1%" than they are to their 10% classmates.

  6. I don't think so, but I may be delusional myself -- or just so buried by (virtual) papers that I really have no idea what any of my colleagues are thinking or saying. We'll probably emerge, blinking blindly in the early-summer sunshine, and perhaps exchanging brief greetings, in six weeks or so, then either rush off to enjoy summer or plunge back into the burrow known as summer school (hey, it it's dark, at least it's air-conditioned).


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