Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More Evidence That We Work in a Profession That Is Not Substantially More Evolved Than a Bag Full of Toads.

My college requires that students who seek exemptions from the ordinary plan of courses must appeal directly to the dean's office for a syllabus waiver. This didn't sound too painful to implement until I received the unwritten instructions to decode "direct."

Direct means "you must write a letter to the dean that is edited by the department's undergraduate advisor/ 2nd year assistant professor who really has nothing better to do with her time."

What could possibly be the reason for having the undergraduate advisor ghost write student's syllabus appeal letters you ask? Well, I was told that "too many illegible letters of appeal end up in the dean's hands,” so I am to "ensure that our student’s appeals are coherent and justified."

May I ask the students to rewrite their letters themselves? "No, the dean strongly prefers well written appeals that he can process quickly."

Yessir, sure thing. You own my future since you sign off on all personnel matters. I'll be happy to do that. Let me get right to that.

So, on this cold Sunday evening, I'm ignoring my own work to edit appeals from Sue B, Wingo, and Fred who all could not bear to be in the new "fills the requirements" class with the new professor in our department "because we herd [sic] he grades really really hard," "because the course time crashes into abnormal psych, which is my favorite class," and "because I can't make it to a 9:30 class, it's just too early."

Incidentally, I'm also thinking of editing my resignation letter. I really hope the dean won't mind a faculty resignation letter penned in the same incomprehensible style as all of the letters I edit for him.