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UProfessor Talks About Tenure

January 6, 2013

I think classes start tomorrow. I’ll have to call one of the more engaged professors to be sure. I don’t check my mailbox anymore. It’s still on the top in the corner with no name, so I stay out of the loop. That’s a good thing. Knowing too much as a grad fac just puts you under the microscope. I just do my job, pat the heads of the bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed Ph.Ds, pretend to read their papers, and tell them how brilliant they are. That way, when those faculty uprisings break out, I’m not caught in it and I don’t have to worry about tenure review.

Tenure was, at one time, the gravy train. A prof got tenure, and he was set for life. Not now. Students and teachers can complain about the dumbest things (“He has bad breath” and “His socks never match” or worse: “We have to study to pass his tests”) and BINGO! the prof is put under the microscope and he’s gone. Try finding another teaching job at middle age.

Worse, it is becoming more and more common for profs to have to write grant proposals in order to subsidize the department’s collective income. I’ve written a few grant proposals and I’ve been awarded just enough to stay under the radar. We’ve got one thoroughly unintelligible prof here who can write the most effective grant proposals. She rakes in the money because her thought processes are so erratic that (on paper, at least) they appear to be heady and scholastic. The truth is that she’s crazy. A few years ago, she was put on a major tranquilizer for a year and the grants dried up. Her proposals actually made sense, but weren’t so full of academic financial research jargon and her own psychotic jibber jabber that whoever read the proposals threw them into the circular file upon finishing the second page. Since then, we put up with her and ignore students’ entreaties to fire her, even though everyone knows that she’s crazy. She’s a crazy cash cow. She’d never make it through a tenure review.

I just remembered that I have papers to “grade”. I usually make myself available on  the first day after the holidays to discuss all of those B’s and C’s. Either I lost a paper or someone didn’t turn one in. I hope the cleaning personnel didn’t go into my office. Sometimes they slip up, enter the office, and empty the wastepaper basket.

Aw, who cares? If the little punk comes in to talk about his final paper,I’ll just tell him to print out a second copy from his flash drive. No big deal.

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From → Tenure, Uncategorized

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