Thursday, January 18, 2007

Relating to Dilbert

It is a complete time-sucker, these university committees. Just sat through a two and a half hour meeting of one of these committees. It is amazing how much money the IT department gets, but what they use it for, is even more shocking. I know I sound awfully ignorant here, and I admit that I am, since most of the time I am either hiding here in my own little room or spending time with a bunch of students, most of whom are neither too interested nor too interesting.

Anyway, at this meeting, they are proposing to re-instate the policy of replacing all computers every three years. A few years back when times were hard and the uni was facing serious budget cuts, the three year period was extended to four. Well no huge harm seems to have been incurred, but now that money is flowing a tad more freely, they immediately want to reinstate that to three years.

A substantial seven figure sum will be used to build a language learning environmnt. I had the chance to look at the proposal and this "environemnt" is basically a lounge with TVs, comfy leather sofas, imported magazines, and a vendor that sells decent coffee.


A student came to see me about her senior thesis. She said she want to write about gender or popular culture. So I asked, have you taken any courses in these areas? No. Have you read any books in these areas? No. Do you know what topic you want to do? No. Any particular issues within these areas you are interested in?

My students like to ask the following type of question: "I want to do my senior thesis/paper/presention on gender/income inequality/new migrants, is that okay?" Just like that. Well, how am I supposed to know if that is okay or not? From just that one sentence?

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