Archives for the month of: July, 2015

How I think you should read a syllabus, courtesy of Above the Law.

How students read a syllabus, here, on my blawg.


How to properly fill out student evaluations, on Above the Law.

News from the year 2030!

As Einstein described, light is the absolute maximum velocity.  Some matter has approached that speed, but never quite achieved it.

However, scientists have discovered two things that travel faster than the speed of light.

The first are student e-mails to the professor questioning grades after grades have posted.  Often, students have demonstrated the ability to e-mail AS a grade posts, the e-mail actually arriving before the grade posts in the system, effectively demonstrating time travel.

This is a pretty fast velocity, far exceeding the speed of light.

Faster still are student e-mails discussing when grades are posted, which is now the fastest thing known in the universe.

“I discovered the phenomena after turning in my Spring semester grades,” said noted physicist Gunter Langdell.  “Before they even hit the system, I had student e-mails expressing disappointment.”  Shaking his head, he continued. “But when I responded that next time the student should try harder, that hit every student in the school within seconds.  The velocity was astonishing.  It even exceeded the speed of student gossip.”

According to the National Law Journal, Dean Amar at Illinois negotiated his salary down by $1,700 and declined a summer stipend.  While Dean Amar is certainly to be commended, I’m a little concerned about all this press about it.

I don’t know Dean Amar.  In case he hires me at some point, let me be clear: I think he’s to be commended.  I’m sure he’s a fantastic Dean choice, a nice person, and also (again, in case he hires me) very perceptive about faculty needs and greatly concerned about student debt burdens.

But he makes $325,000.  His predecessor apparently made around $326,700.  So that’s a 1% pay cut.  Some professors get that pay cut every year from inflation.

He did decline a summer research stipend.  Did I mention I think he should be commended for this?  I’ll assume that’s $10K. So his total pay cut then is about 4%, not adjusting for expense accounts and other perks from being a Dean.

If you had offered ME the job, Illinois, I would have taken a $15K pay cut.  Then, I would have purchased an awesome new car with my pay RAISE from my prior position.  I should be commended for this.

So while Dean Amar is to be commended, given the amount, and given all the free advertising the school is receiving, let’s keep some perspective about it.   All the while commending him.

Student evaluation thoughts posted on Above the Law.

My previous thoughts on student evaluations, and suggested form, are posted here.