Friday, January 11, 2008

Little gems heard in my department today

Our (now ex-)HOD, giving feedback on my grant proposal, "My only real criticism is that the project sounds like too much fun. The referees might think that it's a bit frivolous: like, 'Here's someone who likes screwing around on the internet. And they want us to give them money to keep screwing around on the internet.'"

Me, "Well, yeah."


Random faculty member, "It was so much better when I first started working here. There was no expectation to publish if you didn't feel like it. Tenure was automatic. Now they're always pressuring you to do so much work."


My supervisor
, "Bloggers are... well, they aren't the most educated of people, are they? I mean, they tend to be lower socio-economic groups, dropouts... I'm not surprised they don't use standard English."


Ex-HOD, who really needs a better pseudonym, "The other potential weak point in your proposal is your track record, of course. You really need more publications in order to have a chance of getting a postdoc in this day and age."

Then five minutes later, when the conversation has moved onto gossiping about other students, "You know, [PhD student] applied for an extension recently. And the only reason she isn't finished on time is that she keeps spending time on publishing papers instead of writing her thesis. I'm really quite annoyed about this. The time to publish is after you have your PhD, not during it, at the school's expense."


My supervisor again, on a totally different subject, "So I sent off my book review to the journal, and I got an email back from the editor, saying they forgot they had asked me to review it, and have since signed up someone else to do it instead!"

Me, "That's awful! Surely they can't do that!"

My supervisor, "I know! I couldn't believe it! I mean, I know I took more than two years to get around to writing the review, but they didn't tell me they would give it to someone else..."


nailpolishblues said...

'Bloggers are... well, they aren't the most educated of people, are they?'

I must read the few who are educated then. Though it is possible that we define educated differently.

Ianqui said...

Hahahaha! Honestly. Even if you didn't know about academic blogs, what about tech blogs or political blogs (which are currently changing the nature of the political process in many countries)? The media covers those all the time.

Is your proposal to look at Livejournal? That's not lower SES, that's just adolescence.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

omg, I'm rofl at your supervisor's comment (I threw in those acronyms just for him/her!). All those lower-class dropouts with money and time to toodle around on computers and the inclination to write at length in the first place.

Bardiac said...

I love the contradictory publishing comment. As far as I could tell, I was supposed to publish a couple papers AND finish my dissertation as quickly as possible, while supporting myself teaching and doing research and grading for another prof (for the rest of supporting myself).

What Now? said...

All of that academic goodness in a single day!

Badaunt said...

My boss at one place has the publishing thing all sorted out. He asks one of the part-timers if they want to pad out their resume by co-publishing something in the university journal. They leap at the chance (or at least they used to), and he writes half a paper. He passes it on to his co-writer, who reads it in horror because his ideas are twenty (or more) years old and are either totally old news or totally discredited since he learned them. Also, it is written really badly. The co-writer spends a huge amount of time cleaning up the the ideas and the writing, and finishes the paper. The boss puts his old ideas back in. The co-writer, having done most of the work, decides that s/he doesn't want his/her name on the paper after all.

The boss publishes. (The journal is not peer reviewed.) Nobody reads the paper, but he has the required publication and the university smiles kindly on him.

He hasn't been able to get anybody to 'co-write' a paper with him for a couple of years now, but we have some fresh victims starting next year, and no doubt he'll get to them before they are warned, and will be too intimidated to refuse.

StyleyGeek said...

I know, ianqui. It makes me wonder what exactly she thinks a blog is. And no, I wasn't planning on Livejournal. Ick.

New Kid, I love the way you put it.

Badaunt, that is a great idea! I kind of (almost) admire your boss.

PauvrePlume said...

hahahahahaha [take breath] hahahahahaha!!!
Wow. It just never ceases to amaze me. If I posted a mere 1/8 of the cr*p I hear in my department on a daily basis, their reputations would be shot to h*ll. And then I'd publish a book and capitalize on it and TOTALLY stick it to 'em!!!