Growing Problems

“There are too many ‘Outstanding’ faculty,” declared the college’s chief academic administrator.

Let’s add this, shall we, to the growing list of problems we’d all like to have. Previously, I documented three others: Having too much money, Being too good looking, and Having too much fun.

What could possibly be worse than an academic department populated by outstanding faculty?

What an awful life. Perfectly miserable.

The chief was referencing the frequency by which one annual evaluation label is attained by so many. Too many, apparently.

The complaint about grade inflation – as it is helpfully referred to by those who last issued a grade back when either gravity or internal combustion was first discovered – seems curious on its face as well as in light of another kind of inflation.

No, not economics. That’s a subject that matters. And for which there is a right and wrong answer, without regard to feelings, thoughts or opinions.

Instead, Title Inflation. Or “TI” for short. Because we love abbreviations.

There is, as is well known and widely documented, a race to attain the longest (ahem) title.

“Vice President,” a once pretty lofty title suggesting its holder is one slender step below the person holding the highest status, now requires (ahem) supplements. Being vice president of anything, apparently, is tantamount to reduction to proletariat status. Mere peasants. Shameful.

Senior Vice President. Executive Senior Vice President. Super Executive Senior Vice President.

If nothing else, such (ahem) extensions seem to demand (ahem) enhancements to the (ahem) size of business cards in order to accommodate their unabbreviated presentation.

In a world where the word “innovation” has, ironically, become a cliché, there’s no denying the unbridled creativity underlying academic administrators’ quest to achieve momentary superiority.

One can only imagine the fretting and sleepless nights now being spent by academic department chairs (the faculty’s immediate supervisors) agonizing over how to deflate annual evaluations in order to achieve mediocrity. All in service to those who have inflated their own statuses.

At least the desperate-for-work printers are enjoying enhanced business.

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