Monday, October 28, 2013

The Academic Hierarchy

Ever since the German universities found that there was a lot of professorial duties to go around, and they started distinguishing among ordinary professors, ausserlichter (extraordinary) professors, and Dozents, academe has become increasingly hierarchical.

Anyway, the modern-day U.S. university can be likened to a wedding cake.  Here's the layers, with more splendid frosting and privileges going with the upper ones.

Very highly paid
Often has reserved parking place
Talks to God
Walks on water
Drinks the finest wines
Bulletproof due to political pull

Department Chair:
Slightly more comfortably paid
Parks in general faculty parking
Swims in water
Talks respectfully to Dean's secretary, knowing she is God
Drinks champagne or prosecco
Been around long enough that he or she is predictable

(Full) Professor
Comfortably paid
Parks in general faculty parking
Talks to God if approved through proper channels
Wades in shallow water
Drinks wine routinely

Associate Professor
Comfortably paid
Parks where he can find it
Receives memos from God in general mailing
Drinks water
Drinks wine at weddings, and on Christmas and New Year's.

Assistant Professor
Genteel poverty
Parks if he can afford the gas; otherwise bicycles.
Hears rumors about memos from God
Makes water
Drinks wine is someone else is buying

Graduate Assistant
Rude poverty
Walks or rides a bicycle
Thinks the Department Secretary is a goddess
Dribbles water
Drinks generic beer
Must keep up grades and reasonable progress toward a degree while teaching introductory classes


John Hill said...


Cloudia said...



Mike said...

It's like the army without guns. WAIT! I forgot, the students have guns these days.

Big Sky Heidi said...

Pretty much the case: those who get to be associate professors begin to have it made. The system does reinforce conformity.


Grand Crapaud said...

They have their own incentive system.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

The local university has a system of hiring adjunct instructors for a fraction of what they pay full-time profs; and, because they're part-time, no fringe benefits like health insurance.

Bilbo said...

There's a version of this joke that explains the powers of the various ranks of military officers. I'd never seen the academic take on it.