by Monty Tufnel
Feeling the pressure of his impending tenure vote, Feign University’s Luther Gunders has embarked on a RateMyProfessors.com improvement campaign to improve his tenure-ability with Feign administrators. The campus is a-buzz with the math teacher’s recent eccentric behavior.
“He’s trying to make himself more hip to his students,” says Professor Will Powers. “He posts pictures of his cats on his Facebook account, has started his own Twitter account @lugundersrocks, and wears ridiculous skinny jeans,” adds Powers, tenured professor of sociology. Powers authored a letter on behalf of tenured Feign faculty criticizing a “culture of lowered expectations and appeals to lowest common denominators that has besieged the tenure process.” The letter was signed by every F.U. tenured professor over the age of fifty.
Feign President Carlton S. Whitehead scoffs at the faculty’s response. “I’m not saying what Dr. Gunders is doing is right, but faculty have to understand that in a world of increased transparency across higher education, ‘ratemyprofessors’ offers the truest sense of customer satisfaction,” says Whitehead. “It’s higher education’s Yelp.”
If Feign’s administration is serious about using ratemyprofessors rankings as criteria for tenure, then the majority of the comments at the site bode well for Dr. Gunders.
One student writes, “I had this guy two years ago when I failed. He was boring!!!! Now that I’m back, he’s cool as hell. Basically tells you what is on the test. And I love old guys who swear.”
“Take him,” reads another review. “He is AWWEEEEEEESOMEEEEEEEEEEE! 🙂 At first I didn’t think he was hot, but he became hot in a geeky kind of way. The toupee he got this semester certainly helped.”
“Just like another student in the class,” writes a third, “all the way from his Bob Marley backpack to his Kim Kardashian references. I’d love to go have a beer with him.”
Gunders’ scores have risen in one year by over a point in each crucial category. He has even convinced the math department’s administrative assistant to add them to his syllabus biography.
Gunders does not apologize for his ratemyprofessors campaign. “Two years ago, the tenure and promotion committee changed the tenure guidelines. Student evaluations went from 5 percent of the overall score to 30 percent. I realized it was insane to try and publish another article on string theory if publications were now down to 20 percent. One simply reacts to what is presented.”
Powers continues to wage a very public war with Feign administration and Gunders. “There is no way Gunders is getting tenure by padding his portfolio with lame reviews from ratemyprofessors.com. 500 satisfied students can’t possibly replace an obscure tome on the Fokker-Planck Equation.”
Powers convictions may not be enough, though. Based upon the recommendations of the T & P committee soon after Whitehead started, the dean, provost and president make up three-fourths of the votes for any tenure decision. For “clarity,” the T & P voting guidelines get a 5.0.