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A fun conversation

Topics/tags: Miscellaneous, short

The other day, as I was working with my research students, one of my students mentioned If you ask a prof a question. None of the other research students had seen it, so we did a live reading of the first 42 pages [1]. Some were clearly horrified. Others were amused. None agreed with my suggestion that it should be required reading for Tutorial.

As we discussed that primer, I discovered that half of them also did not know that I mused daily. So we talked a little bit about the daily musings. One of those who did know about the daily musings made the off-handed comment that If you Google is anal retentive hyphenated?, Sam’s page is the first one that comes up. [2,3] Then another started to read the disclaimer at the end of the page. Does Grinnell make you write that?, they asked. While Grinnell does not make me write that, it is responsible of me to include such a disclaimer [4,8].

And then they asked about my middle initial. So I gave the latest version of the story I traditionally say about my name.

My parents didn’t consider it appropriate to constrain my name. So they named me S. A. Rebelsky. They decided that once I was old enough, I could choose what the S and the A stood for. And they figured that, at worst, S. A. was a good name for a writer [10].

Some looked confused [11].

All in all, it was a fun conversation. It certainly involved a lot of laughter.

I had almost as much fun musing about it [12].

[1] I’m told that it falls apart after those first 42 pages. But I introduce the writing lab after that, so I do think it’s reading further.

[2] I’ve always suggested that we get that result because Google does geo-located searches. However, that student convinced friends elsewhere to do the same search. It appears that if you want to know about anal-retentive hyphenation, my musings are the reference to check.

[3] It comes up second when I do the search.

[4] The Faculty Handbook indicates that > D. College or university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinion of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution. [5,6,7]

[5] Grinnell College. 2017. Faculty Handbook, Last Revision 04/18/17. p. 69.

[6] Note that the quotation marks appear in the Handbook because the language comes from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) 1940 Statement on Principles of Academic Freedom and Tenure.

[7] I do my best to be accurate. I show respect for opinions that deserve respect. And, although I am outspoken, I exercise an appropriate amount of restraint.

[8] The same page also includes a note that reads as follows.

E. Provisions A, B, C, and D of this section are, and are hereby made, part of the contract, written or implied, of every faculty member.

So maybe Grinnell does require me to write the disclaimer [9].

[9] Hmmm … Part B also includes a note that The College thinks that it is clearly unethical to use the classroom to discuss specific personnel matters. I wonder when that got added to the handbook. Let’s see … It was there in the 2010 edition. That’s the oldest version I have in electronic format. I’ll need to find hardcopies to go back further.

[10] The story varies a bit. At times, I say Someone read the S and the A and assumed that there must be an M at the end.

[11] S. A. can be pronounced essay.

[12] I particularly enjoyed looking things up in the Faculty Handbook and then adding commentary.

Version 1.0 of 2018-08-01.