Following Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s statement that “The faculty, from adjunct professors to deans, tell you what to do, what to say, and more ominously, what to think,” the department, nervous that our student indoctrinations were insufficiently ominous, hastily formed a committee charged with investigating the matter and making recommendations at an emergency faculty meeting. To our horror, we found that indoctrination ominousness(ity) is not even measured in our assessment rubric! After a long debate over the existence of the word “ominousness” (some arguing instead for “ominosity” — which does sound like it might be a board game) we opted for the hybrid compromise “ominousness(ity)” and propose the following rubric to measure how ominously we are indoctrinating our students.
We will rate our ominousness(ity) based on two instruments: 1) randomly selected term papers written by graduating seniors and read by a blind panel (because we have no blind faculty members, at least literally, this will be achieved by scratching out the students’ names with a Sharpie); and 2) a short questionnaire answered by the students who show up to classes on Fridays (the samples are small, but we can reasonably assume these are the most indoctrinated students).
Ominousness(ity) of Indoctrination in Student Papers
Rank from 1 to 3: 1 = no; 2 = kind of; 3 = yes
1. Is there a paper? Or was it emailed and you were unable to download the attachment?
2. Are there sentences, paragraphs, and punctuation in it?
3. Are the sentences, paragraphs, and punctuation in some sort of recognizable form (as opposed to arbitrary)?
4. Does it advance an actual argument of some kind?
5. Is it supported by facts (n.b.: alt-facts, for example the Bowling Green Massacre, are not acceptable).
6. If you can read through the Sharpie, do you think this student will make enough money to become an alumni donor after s/he graduates?
7. After reading through the Sharpie and checking Rate My Professors, did the student say you were hot?
Ominosity(ness) Student Questionnaire
Rank from 1 to 3: 1 = hells to the no; 2 = IDK; 3 = totes
1. Did your teacher make you actually read anything for this class (books, essays, websites, etc.)? Tweets do not count.
2. Were you expected to think about anything in this class?
3. Did the prof refer you over and over to something called “the syllabus” when you emailed her at 2 AM asking if you were going to miss anything important in class this week because you had to go to several weddings or funerals or some of your many aunts were sick or you were forced to go on a cruise for which your parents had already bought the tickets; or that you wanted a deadline extension on your paper because there weren’t any articles on Wikipedia about your topic?
4. When you miss class, does your prof snarl when you ask if you missed anything important?
5. Did your teacher grade stuff and/or write suggestions in the margins of your work?
6. Were you ever asked to actually say something aloud in class while others listened and commented (Note, sometimes this is described in “the syllabus” as “discussion”)?
7. Were foreign words a part of this class? (Note, this pertains not only to foreign language classes, in which you may have been indoctrinated to speak, read, or write in non-English, but also to expressions like “etc.” which is Latin).
A pilot study done last week to assess the validity of our assessment rubric revealed that we could be indoctrinating much more ominously. But we aren’t sure. Only one student showed up to class last Friday, and that student completed only half of the student survey and then left, mumbling something about a sick aunt. Only two faculty members completed their half of the survey, and one of them wrote her replies in Latin, which most of us can’t read. Therefore, we will repeat the survey with a larger and possibly more receptive sample after spring break, but until that time we recommend that the entire faculty attend a meeting at noon next Friday during which we will discuss ways to make our indoctrinations more ominous. Please bring your most ominous assignment and a brown bag lunch.