What do you get when you combine downtime, chats with colleagues, and acceptance of what lies beneath? (Caution: contains rambling and diagrams with lots of circles).
Disclaimer: this post is more a chance for me to get stuff off of my chest. I can’t see it being a major source of assistance, unless you’re going through something similar.
Well… that was (and continues to be) one hell of a week.
Here’s another tongue-in-cheek post while I prepare the next episode of LiaN…
The idea for this post came from one of my regular browsing sessions (read: procrastination sessions) on Twitter. Alex Ding posted the following:
It’s a great question. A few posts ago I poked fun at the fact that there are many academics out there who will take any opportunity to boast about their institutions’ ranking compared to other institutions, providing a link to some list that orders these institutions on a factor or factors like the one above. A quick search will show that there are certainly no shortages when it comes to these lists, but there are still questions… how the hell do you measure ‘most innovative’ in the first place?!
Although I haven’t spent nearly as long in academia as those who may be reading this, I thought I’d take a moment to provide some suggestions for other lists that we could use to provoke yet more competition and bitterness between institutions and academics. It also seems to me that there are plenty more observable and more easily-measured factors out there that current lists are just missing out on.
So, all aboard the SS Sarcasmy McSarcasmface while I suggest some quantifiable ways in which we can pit Universities against each other:
- Most cardboard-like potato products from the main University refectory
- Highest likelihood of students who haven’t attended a single lecture during the semester e-mailing for help 3 days prior to the exam
- Fewest desk/office spaces for postgraduate students
- Highest occurrence of communications sent that start with “Apologies for cross-posting”
- Highest senior staff absence rate from committee meetings
- Percentage likelihood that your undergrads will arrive to lectures disastrously hungover
- Highest chance of sharing an office with someone who chews with their mouth open
- Shortest length of e-mail responses from professors (additional merit for sign-off names of a single letter and/or use of “Best”)
- Quickest reduction in staff numbers for non-STEM, Business or Law subjects
- Greatest number of intermediary management tiers in one faculty
- Post-inaugural lecture catering, ranked by quality of bulk-bought Merlot
- Most outrageous prices for bottled water (additional merit if the majority of water fountains are either out of use or just not plumbed in)
- Highest percentage likelihood that the library security team will let anyone in or out
- Highest proportion of academics who own cats
- Highest ratio of ‘utterances of “REF”‘ to ‘mental breakdowns of staff’
- Largest amount of wasted paper during SU elections
- Highest percentage likelihood of losing the will to live after your students don’t understand the easiest concept of the whole course after 5 different methods of exemplification
- Chances (on a weekly basis) of running into that one lecturer who insists on interrupting colleagues and students during presentations to fulfil their own wish of hearing themselves talk
Aaaand such and such.
Feel free to add any further possible categories in the comments below… although when you think about it, would it not relieve the pressure and be generally wiser and healthier to scrap these lists anyway?
Well. This is different.
This is not a call for help, nor a cry for attention. This is an affirmation to anyone else in this position that what you’re going through is a common occurrence.
Let me introduce you to two characters: naïve-me and now-me. I can’t draw, so let’s use ‘imagination time’ to envisage what they look like…