As chair, I have now been presiding over faculty meetings for fully 10 years. (Not one meeting. Just when we have meetings, I mean)
Sometimes, a shining beacon of comedy gold breaks through the tedium, and there are moments of transcendent joy. Today was such a day.
An administrator is describing to us the need to renumber courses. The current numbering system is: courses below 100, freshman. 100-199: pure undergrad. 200-299: mixed grad/undergrad 300+: pure grad
The administrator (a good guy, with an excellent sense of humor) says, "There are two reasons we have to renumber."
"First, we are running out of numbers. Lots of old courses still on the books, and it is hard to assign new ones." (Plausible, I admit, but a bit silly).
"Second..." (he starts to titter, through his nose, though trying to maintain a straight face) "we worry our students aren't getting enough credit for the difficulty of the courses. At other schools, students are taking courses with numbers in the 400s or even the 600s. Those seem a lot harder than courses numbered only in the 100s."
We all burst out laughing. But it TURNS OUT THAT THE ADMINISTRATION REALLY WANTS TO RENUMBER THE COURSES FOR THIS REASON! The higher the number, the harder the course!
At this point all hell breaks loose. People start shouting suggestions. I wish I had written them all down, but I only remember these three:
A. "We are like Spinal Tap University! Our courses are so hard, the course designations go to 1100!"
B. "We could just use course numbers from the real line between 0 and 1. There are PLENTY of numbers there!"
C. "Just multiply the existing course numbers by one million. Think how smart our students will be then! They will be geniuses if they make an A in PS10492488. They all get into law school!"
To the credit of my fellow admin guy, he was pounding the table and gasping for air at this point. It was truly hilarious. I am still chuckling about the incident even tonight. Great moments in faculty meetings....
Labels: academic politics