Tuesday, April 04, 2017

The Dean's Parking Spot

Today I parked in the Dean's parking spot. Her car was not occupying it at the time so I thought to myself "Isn't it time you put some of your academic freedom to use?"  And I then thought to myself "Yes, Chadsworth, go ahead an park in her spot. Express yourself in a way that may lead to controversy."

She called later that day, having recognized my  288 BMW Super Z car with the "Eat More Fruit" bumper sticker, and expressed some displeasure. I hit her with "academic freedom" and she got very, very quiet -- so quiet that I could barely hear the subdued "oh" as she hung up the phone. Chalk one up for free expression. So much for vivacity!

I kind of feel the same way about the times I teach class. My time, or should I say the time I feel most free, is 1-2 Monday - Wednesday. Assigning me any other time is an infringement on my academic freedom as, I might add, is the requirement that I give my exams on certain days. I'll give them when I am good and ready. In fact, part of my academic freedom extends to my teaching -- including whether I choose to meet class -- and most definitely to the type of exam I give and even more most definitely to the day I give the final exam and most, most definitely to whether I will allow the students to use number 2 pencils on their multiple choice exams. So what if the machines will not read anything other than number 2 pencils? Pencil choice is a critical part of my pedagogical divinity.

Thank goodness for academic freedom or we professors might be discouraged from doing research and expressing views that cause others to think. You can imagine the profound message inherent in my pencil allocation decision.  Sadly, one of the things that most gets in the way of academic freedom is teaching or, even worse, teaching something just because the students need it or it is on the bar exam.

Life is hard when you deserve everything and only get 99%.

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