Updates to two recent posts

Two points that, while interesting, don’t quite merit their own entries:

  • If you were interested in the recent post about online quizzes in lit classes, then you might be interested in this posting from Tomorrow’s Professor about crafting effective multiple choice questions.
  • In comments to my post about reaching out to administrators and college staff, Terry Brock pointed out the important point that many college staff members are . . . academics on a different career path.  (Bethany Nowviskie made this point, too, on Twitter.) This is an excellent point, and reminded me of an anecdote David F. Bright & Mary P. Richards recount in The Academic Deanship: Individual Careers and Institutional Roles* (Jossey-Bass, 2001):

The dean is thrust into a new place in the world of the college, and this can strain or even distort individual relationships.  Many colleagues, of course, accept the shift, often with mordant witticisms about selling out or fading out, whereas others assume that the individual has not merely taken a new position but become a different person.  One faculty member who accepted a year’s assignment as acting dean of his college had been collaborating on a book with a colleague, and they ate lunch together every week to discuss the project.  When the temporary administrative stint was announced, the colleague said, “I will see you in a year.”  The almost-dean assured her that he would have time to continue the project, but she said, “That is not the point.  I do not eat with Them, and you have become a Them. Call me next year.”  She stuck to her aversion to administrators but cherfully resumed lunch and project the next summer when his administrative contagion had passed.

You’ve not lived until you’ve seen one professor dismiss a colleague’s input as invalid because the latter is temporarily serving as a dean’s appointment to some committee or other.  It’s always a charming moment.

*I know this book well because I helped copyedit it, not because  I have delusions of grandeur.

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