During a head cold induced lull today, I read a thing in Slate.com in which various women discussed which wedding tradition they would each like to see discontinued. It's not difficult to think of abhorrent wedding customs, but what if we play this same game with Academia?
What tradition or other general characteristic of academia would you like to see eliminated completely?
According to the rules, which I just invented, the things to be eliminated have to be of a general nature. So, for example, the answer "my department chair" or "my university's moronic president" are unacceptable unless you want to eliminate the general concept of department chairs or university presidents.
The candidates for disposal can be anything to do with academia, from the most momentous of traditions (tenure) to the most bizarre but inconsequential (academic gowns).
To get things started, I think I will nominate the ever-controversial Big-Time Collegiate Athletics and, since I am making the rules and therefore get to choose two (2) things to eliminate, I wouldn't mind seeing an end to those boards (known by various names) that some universities have to have and that are populated by political appointees and others who don't necessarily have much experience with or affection for universities.
My horror of these boards started to develop when I met by chance a Regent of a university with which I have never been associated, and discovered that he had absolutely no idea what professors did, what graduate students did, what postdocs were, what tenure was, what a professor had to do to get tenure etc. He knew that undergraduates took classes, some of which were worthwhile but many of which were not, and that professors stood in the front of these classes and talked about whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted (which wasn't often). Yet this man had a vote in major decisions that influenced the operation of that university. I became, and remain, anti-Regent.
Does anyone have other suggestions?
1 month ago