Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Student-Troll Interactions

Last night I had dinner with several of my graduate students, and they spent a lot of time ranting about my colleague, Professor Troll. Some of their stories and impersonations of his more annoying characteristics were very funny, in a you-might-as-well-laugh-even-though-it’s-not-really-funny kind of way, and we laughed together a lot.

At one point, when one of the students made a remark about how patronizing and rude the Troll is to students, I said “Not just to students. He’s like that to everyone”. I wanted them to know at least that. I don’t know if that was any comfort to them, but they should know that I will most certainly not insist that he be on their committees, even though his field of expertise is relevant in some cases. On the contrary, I will make sure that he is not on their committees. It’s fine if they discuss their research with him, but I don’t want any of them to be in a position where he has power over their graduate program/future/career.

I was quite restrained in my level of participation of the anti-Troll rant. My students had enough stories of their own, and they are under no illusions about what I think of my colleague. They are also well aware that he thinks I am an intellectually defective, non-rigorous poser of a science professor. Perhaps the conversation was unprofessional, but mostly it was good to laugh about it together.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are professional dinners? Mostly they seem to be used for informal discussion.

Anyway, by the sound of it, a professional discussion would have lead to the formulation of a strategy to get him removed from the university.
Don't know if that would have been better.

/Rettaw

anon said...

Yeah, I can't help saying slightly unprofessional things about some people in my department in a social, drinking setting. I try to avoid it, but at least I'm not as bad as what other people say. I'm a horrible person.

But usually, by the time I get to the point of saying unprofessional stuff about people in absentia, I have probably consumed enough alcohol to have a really bad headache the next day as penance.

Some of them deserve it though. Especially this old professor who sounds very much like the troll you describe.