Monday, April 13, 2015
The $1.98 Faculty Meeting
At law school faculty meetings many important issues are raised: should we reduce class size, should we offer more skills courses, should we have higher or lower tenure standards, what should we name the law school cat, do we need a mascot, should we reduce the size of the faculty? Actually that one is never, ever discussed.
What is amazing is how the issues change but the essence of the commentary does not. It is almost always from the perspective of self-interest, So here is the idea. I stole it from somewhere but I cannot remember.
Each faculty member has a life size photo made. This are all kept in the dean's office but they could also be in the supply room. That is for each faculty to vote on and I am sure they would insist on doing just that. I'd go with the supply room but I will vote with the committee on this.
The faculty meeting is called and faculty stay in their offices writing very important articles, making their next set of reservations to take an important group of people to South America to hear 5 minute talks, napping, playing online chess, or anything else equally productive.
The dean's right hand person goes to the meeting room and arranges the life size photos. The dean arrives and calls the meeting to order and moves to the first item on the agenda. Let's say it's "should we raise the mean GPA from 3.88 to 3.89." In their photos, each person has his or hand up and the dean recognizes them in turn. But, and here is the revolutionary move. After calling their names he or she just moves to the next person, They do not talk because they are cardboard. BUT the dean (more likely the dean's assistant) knows exactly what each person will say because they are like a sentences on infinite loops -- same thing every single time:
Person 1: Shouldn't we check to see what the highly ranked schools are doing because we definitely want to move up the ladder, not down because I actually think it is our job to move up in the rankings. (And, by the way, I getting pretty pissed off if anyone disagrees.)
Person 2: I just want to know if this will hurt the students' feelings because my feelings were hurt once and it does not feel good.
Person 3: Is there some way we could turn this into some money because I really like money.
Person 4: At (my, daughter's, friend's) school they have a 4.00 average and, therefore, we should too because I have no original ideas.
Person 5; (Flipping her hair and acting all flustered): I really think we should do something and I am just wondering [don't you love the passive-aggressive "just wondering move?] if it is really a good idea to give all the students the same grade but I am just wondering so please don't mind me because the most important thing is that you not realize this is a part time job for me.
Person 6: I actually have nothing to say but I always use up about ten minutes saying nothing it so here is what I think and that is many schools do one thing and some do another and I . . . . . because I like hearing myself sound important because if I hear myself sounding important it makes me think I am important or at least you will think I am here more than the 4 hours a week I actually am on campus"
Person 7: I am concerned this will mean less work and less work means less work for me personally and since I am on a year to year contract, I am always searching for something I can do.
Person 8: I am on both sides because I want to be Dean someday.
Person 9: What will this do for diversity because diversity is important and, since this occurred to me when I was 45, I have a lot to make up for and I plan to demonstrate my new found sensitivity by raising it every day and wearing my Che t-shirt.
Person 10: When I grade I take all the papers and weigh them. They I have them blessed by my priest. I read the first one and then the second one than have a beer. The first and second papers are then reread. . . . . Now what was the question again?
These comments use up about 10 seconds if the dean is a fast talker and no more than an minute if he is not, The dean flips a coin, Meeting adjourned!