Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Effin' Hillarious

The Sarcastic weasel is taking a teaching engineering class this coming semester. It is his final course he is required to take, which is good, because he is (in theory) graduating at the end of the semester too.

The textbook for the course is out of print, but available online.

One excerpt from the homework for final chapter that covers professional concerns (mainly promotion and tenure) that made me laugh:

3 Assume that you have just been appointed department chair. At your university the department chairs set raises within very broad guidelines. However, the total dollar pool for raises is a fixed sum which averages to 5 percent of the total faculty salaries. Determine a scenario for how you will reward faculty. Consider the following faculty members:

a R does research. He is nationally known and has a standing offer for a position from another university. His teaching ratings are absymal.
b T is a wonderful teacher, but he has not done research for ten years. He routinely alternates winning the best teacher award with professor S.
c E is a good teacher, does modest research, and serves the department whenever asked to do so.
d A is the best known professor in your department and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is getting ready to retire in a year or two and is no longer doing research.
e S is the chairman of the undergraduate curriculum committee, does all the departmental advising of undergraduates, is adviser to the student professional society, and is a good teacher. The students talk to him all the time, and he single-handedly prevented a revolt of the seniors in Prof. R’s class. He is not doing research.
f D has been an associate professor for the last twenty years. He is the outstanding racquetball player on the faculty, but you cannot think of anything else outstanding about him. He is a member of the organizing committee for a proposed faculty union.
g N is a new assistant professor who has been with the department for one year. She seems to be off to a fast start in her career and already has one research grant.

Why, oh, why do I suspect that Professors {R,T,E,A,S,D,N} represent an unvarnished view of a department that one of the authors used to work in. Also, was "D" originally "O" with the first two professors listed in reverse order (until some killjoy editor made the authors change it)?

Reference:
Wankat, P. C. and Oreovicz, F. S. (1993). Teaching Engineering. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, USA.