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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Apropos of Nothing: Elusive prof must be stopped

    We just finished our first week of a new semester —­ aka syllabus week. Containing all the fun of college without the annoyance of homework, syllabus week is a time to just hang out and catch up with your peeps before school gets too serious.

    Everyone talks about their break, shows off their presents and pretends they actually did something exciting over the holidays besides listening to drunken uncles argue. Out-of-state students unsuccessfully try to impress their Arizonan friends by telling bone-chilling stories about surviving the polar vortex. Despite these slight annoyances, syllabus week is — overall — a joyful time when some students enjoy fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions and other students have even more fun breaking theirs.

    However, there is one constant problem for students figuring out their new semester class schedules during syllabus week. For dozens and dozens of lower-level, beginning survey courses, the professor is always listed as a mysterious instructor named “Staff.”

    I don’t know much about this Professor Staff. I don’t know if this phantom professor is a man or a woman. But — at the risk of being accused of sexism — I will refer to him as a man, because I prefer picturing him as a balding, middle-aged fellow in a tweed jacket with elbow patches. I’m sure he has an unnatural, grayish, zombie-like skin tone and deep circles under his eyes. Fear not, for he is not actually one of the walking dead — although he is suspiciously interested in students’ brains. He simply never sleeps because he has to prepare for so many classes.

    At first, I felt sorry for Staff. I thought the university was cruelly exploiting him. Why is Staff being assigned so many classes in so many different departments? I thought to myself, “This long-suffering man deserves our admiration (and a long vacation).”

    My sympathy turned to disgust, though, when I realized that Staff can’t be let off the hook for his role in maintaining such a psychotic course load. Slavery is illegal in Arizona (last time I checked), therefore Staff can quit his job any time. Any reasonable employee would refuse to teach hundreds of classes. But Staff is not reasonable.

    Staff is clearly an egomaniac who somehow believes he is qualified to simultaneously teach introductory courses in physiology, Russian literature, organic chemistry, Chicano studies and dozens of other subjects. Any sane person with that much knowledge would be getting rich as a contestant on “Jeopardy!” He would not be spending his life giving pop quizzes to hungover college freshmen.

    Staff may think he knows everything, but I suspect he’s actually a hack faking his way through countless classes by putting in the minimal possible teaching effort. I’m sure many of his students plan to fight fire with fire by putting in the minimal possible learning effort. That will show him!

    Please notify me if you see Staff as he trudges joylessly from class to class for all eternity. I am Captain Ahab, and he is my white whale. I must find him. Someone needs to confront this teaching zombie and let him know that his overly ambitious teaching plans have gone too far. Just as someone should have told Napoleon to stop invading various European countries, someone must tell Staff to stop invading introductory courses in various academic departments.

    But my criticism of nameless, faceless Professor Staff does not in any way apply to all the graduate student and adjunct professors with actual names and faces who teach low-level survey courses. I don’t have the heart to criticize them. They are assigned several thousand pages of reading per week, they have to teach hundreds of students, they have almost no time for socializing or exercising and they must somehow survive on a diet of stale pizza and ramen noodles.

    I hope you all appreciate having a syllabus week while you still can, because you might decide to go to grad school someday. Then you’ll become the one person who actually reads every word of the syllabus: the unlucky bastard who has to write it.

    Disclaimer: As a general rule, nothing in Logan Rogers’ columns should be taken seriously.
    Logan Rogers is a second year law student. Follow him @DailyWildcat.

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