Beginning next semester, we will be moving from two-factor to ten-factor authentication requirements for accessing the university’s digital resources. The first and second factors, signing in and entering a passcode from your phone app, will remain the same. From there:
Third Factor: Go out to your car and add the digits of your vehicle identification number to the digits of the passcode that your phone generates when you arrive at your car (we use GPS tracking between your phone and the University’s virtual parking pass technology to determine when you’ve arrived at your car).
Fourth Factor: When you return to the building with the sum of the VIN number and passcode, take it directly to your department’s Academic Administrative Assistant (AAA). Presuming she recognizes you on sight, she will take the sum you present to her and multiply it by a factor that only she can access. She will then use the new, increased total to remotely unlock your email. By the time you return to your office you’ll be able to continue signing in, no problem.
Fifth Factor: This factor is a “redundancy safety net” built in to account for the fact that the AAA might be brand new or not know you or suffers from a facial recognition disorder. In this scenario, the AAA will draw only a tiny amount of blood in order to verify your identity. It will take some time to sequence your DNA, and you’ll have to do without email during this processing period, but that is the cost of digital safety.
Sixth Factor: After the AAA has facilitated the previous factor, by whatever method, the next step in 10-factor authentication is to write a sentence using the academic vocabulary word that will pop up on your screen at this step of the sign-in process. The word could be any word, but it will probably be “intersectionality,” “ontology,” or “heuristic.” While the system verifies that your definition is sufficiently accurate, please report to campus police, where you’ll undergo a very brief body cavity search. For security reasons, we cannot tell you what we’re looking for. This is about digital safety.
Seventh Factor: Once your sentence is approved, please “unpack” it into more straightforward wording that any undergrad, regardless of ACT score or actual desire to go to college, can immediately understand. Then simply translate the sentence into French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, Arabic, American Sign Language, and Latin and type it into the box. It will automatically be transmitted to our Learning Outcomes Assessment Team. They will decide if your sentence is appropriately “accessible” and “relatable” to today’s students. Please do not try to interfere with this determination. We pay the Outcomes Assessment administrators an almost criminal salary to oversee this kind of thing; we are asking you to trust that their online degrees in Leadership and Organizational Psychology really do qualify them to make decisions about your specific academic discipline.
Eighth Factor: At this step, you will receive an online survey, which you must complete while the Assessment Team is going through their approval processes. The survey will address student success and how you can contribute to it. You will be asked to commit to activities such as carrying boxes on student move-in day, fielding student calls to our counseling center, which due to defunding no longer employs actual counselors (just do the best you can), or acting as a “learning buddy” for a student-athlete, who will need your help with things like writing papers, getting extra groceries, laundering workout gear, etc. The more creative and boundary-violating you’re willing to be, the better — only two more steps to go!!!
Ninth Factor: The penultimate step is to go get fully trained on our new learning management system. We know you’re tired of us switching it every two years right after you finally grasp it, but we’re probably going to keep doing that. Since many of you are either not compliant about training or simply unable to figure out the software (baffling, since you have Ph.Ds), we’re making mandatory training on the LMS an integral factor of the email login processes. Each time you sign in, you’ll need to learn a new bell or whistle of our new system. You might think there aren’t enough bells and whistles for us to teach you a new one every time you log on, but there are. And when there aren’t, we’ll switch to a new LMS.
Tenth Factor: The tenth factor, to borrow a term from the above-mentioned OA team, which is second only to cybersecurity in terms of university budget expenditures, aims to “close the loop” on the login process. Once your sentence is approved, please upload a digital artifact that offers concrete evidence that your teaching methods are able to overcome socioeconomic inequities, faulty K-12 school systems, mental health challenges, challenging family circumstances, the stress of taking on student loans, and weather patterns that prevent students from making it to campus.
Update: It’s come to our attention that some of you don’t drive, which, honestly, just never occurred to us. Should you not own a car, you may experience problems progressing beyond the Third Factor. For a fee, you can purchase a temporary VIN from the AAA for use in the authentication process. At the time of purchase, please have your student ID, driver’s license, passport, recent utility bill, and Dick’s Sporting Goods reward card ready. Feel free to contact IT Support with comments or suggestions for improvement to the new authentication process. Thank you for your patience as we seek to streamline your login experience.