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Author Topic: The CHE STFU Center for Professional Development  (Read 182970 times)
dr_stones
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« on: August 20, 2007, 1:06:22 AM »

Bring your STFU question here and LarryC will attempt to answer it for you . . .
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larryc
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2007, 1:47:39 AM »

But the answer is always the same!
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trabb
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2007, 7:17:39 AM »

Dear STFU Center for Profession Development,

I have just begun a new tenure-track job, and my colleagues clearly can't tell their collective ass from a hole in the ground.  Get this: they actually lecture in the classroom.  I mean, have they not heard that student centered learning is the way to go?  Should I make it a point to enlighten them at the next faculty meeting?

But wait, it gets even worse!  Professor Von Buggerov seems like such a nice old man.  He's always around, and he always has students in his office.  But last week I noticed something.  It's only boys who come to his office.  You know, the ones from the athletic teams.  I have my suspicions.  To whom should I voice them?

And my department chair.  Let's just call her "Tipper."  Every time we talk, I can smell alcohol on her breath.  Needless to say, I think this is wildly inappropriate.  So last week, when I was in her office and she excused herself to use the restroom, I checked her desk drawers.  Nothing suspicious - just the normal assortment of pens and pencils and a bottle of mouthwash.  Then it dawned on me.  I unscrewed the lid, and sure enough, one whiff was enough to tell me that it wasn't Scope but blue peppermint schnapps cleverly hidden!  I'm considering confronting her and then referring her to the campus substance abuse board.

Do you have any suggestions for me?
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oldfullprof
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2007, 10:12:17 AM »

[gagged] mmmmmfffffff...mmmmmmfffffff
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prytania3
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2007, 10:17:29 AM »

Too funny, Trabb!
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chemystery
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2007, 12:04:45 PM »

Dear CHE STFU Center for Professional Development,

I am beginning my third year on tt at an institution I like very much.  I am actually quite good at STFU, and have learned much in the last two years by exercising this skill and observing my fellow faculty and the administrators.  The problem is that I have a colleague who has never learned to STFU and likes to speak up on my behalf.  Initially, I believed that the solution was to be very, very careful on what I said around this colleague, but that has not proven effective. 
As an example, let us say that I prefer to use green ink pens.  My institution is happy to provide us with all the red, blue, or black pens we could ever want, but no green.  Ergo, I buy my own green ink pens, for my own use.  My colleague will notice that I use green ink and ask where I found them in the school supply cabinet.  After I tell her that I purchased the pens myself, she will return to her own office and quickly fire off an unhappy email to the entire campus complaining about how the institution is not meeting my needs and I was forced to buy my own green pens. 
How can I get my colleague to STFU on my behalf? 

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prof_mom
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2007, 12:13:54 PM »

Dear CHE STFU center for Professional Development,

I am untenured and I frequently find myself talking. While talking, I know that I should not be saying what I am saying. I am very aware of the fact that other people want to say things and that I have dominated the meeting with my opinions and thoughts about how to fix the program. I am also aware that the things I am saying are controversial and that not all people will be receptive to my opinions.

Essentially, I need your help. I am talking and cannot shut up.

Is there a 10 step program for this?

Please help!
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mytiaraisaskew
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2007, 12:20:23 PM »

Dear CHE STFU Center for Professional Development,

I am beginning my third year on tt at an institution I like very much.  I am actually quite good at STFU, and have learned much in the last two years by exercising this skill and observing my fellow faculty and the administrators.  The problem is that I have a colleague who has never learned to STFU and likes to speak up on my behalf.  Initially, I believed that the solution was to be very, very careful on what I said around this colleague, but that has not proven effective. 
As an example, let us say that I prefer to use green ink pens.  My institution is happy to provide us with all the red, blue, or black pens we could ever want, but no green.  Ergo, I buy my own green ink pens, for my own use.  My colleague will notice that I use green ink and ask where I found them in the school supply cabinet.  After I tell her that I purchased the pens myself, she will return to her own office and quickly fire off an unhappy email to the entire campus complaining about how the institution is not meeting my needs and I was forced to buy my own green pens. 
How can I get my colleague to STFU on my behalf? 



All kidding aside, I actually had this at one of my institutions.  Little did I know someone was going to the Dean on my behalf.  The Dean figured out, though, that I had no problems with the way things were going and that it was my "intercessor" who was the isssue.
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chemystery
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2007, 12:37:03 PM »

Actually, it really is a serious situation, although I admit I made up the green pen issue to avoid recognition.  The one thing I think I have going for me is that my colleague has been around for a long time and is well known for saying more than she should, so  I hope that those receiving these emails realize that they don't necessarily reflect my own feelings.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 12:37:42 PM by chemystery » Logged

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larryc
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« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2007, 12:43:28 PM »

Dear Chemystery:

Some people have such enthusiasm for the fight they run out of battles of their own and start new ones on your behalf. You are just going to have to tell your bothersome friend to STFU. Do it nicely: "Friend, I appreciate your support, but I really think it is important for my reputation at this institution that I choose and fight my own battles. If I ever need a powerful ally I know that you will be there for me, but please don't act unless I ask."

Larry "STFU" C
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historian
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« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2007, 1:06:48 PM »

Dear Miss STFU

I work at Crazypants U. I did, "STFU"  I found that this only caused people to "divine what I *must* be thinking and to then announce it to others"

How do I STFU *more*?  Clearly, this is my problem and I am emitting some sort of waves, or thought rays, or something! Is there a helmet I could buy?

thanks so awfully much!
Shutted the F U and Still Apparently have Opinions!
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larryc
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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2007, 1:22:22 PM »

Dear STFUASAHO:

Miss STFU understands the stresses of balancing teaching, tenure expectations, and a toxic work environment. Yest she must gently chide you for your signature, which does not form a witty acronym. Advice columnists rely on readers to provide signature lines that translate into witty acronyms. Consult Dan Savage's sex advice column at the Stranger for examples: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove

Now to your little problem. The philosophy of STFU is often misunderstood. While it is true that the main thrust, if you will, of STFUism is to quiet one's own inane blathering and impolitic pronouncements, it sometimes appropriate to spread the love and tell others to STFU. Like spring flowers and French kissing, STFU is for everyone.

Sadly there really is no politic way for an untenured assistant prof to witness STFUism to senior faculty, no matter how clearly they need to be saved. You can correct these baseless opinions of your opinions when you hear them--"Who told you that? Well I wonder how she got the impression, because that is not what I think at all and I have never spoken to her about this issue." This may help reduce the credibility of the rumor mongers without drawing you into a head-tohead confrontation with them. But sometimes STFU has to be a stopgap while your work to GTFO of there.

Best wishes,

Miss STFU


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yellowtractor
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« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2007, 1:35:52 PM »

Dear STFU Center for Professional Development,

I feel that with your help I have finally mastered the verbal art of STFU.  My problem is that while my ability to STFU in terms of my own tongue has reached a level of consummate artistry, my body language continues to betray me, especially in faculty meetings and other predatory group sports.  My countenance evokes a bland and agreeable equanimity, but my posture says "You are all, every last one of you, blithering, imbecilic boneheads."  This saps my STFU credibility and will undoubtedly affect my tenure bid.

Does the STFU Center have any suggestions for physical deportment?  Any spiritual or pharmaceutical recommendations?  How do I coerce my body into getting with the STFU program?

--TwitchyTractor
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zeeba
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« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2007, 1:42:12 PM »

Dear CHE STFU CPD,

I have a problem somewhat similar, but of course completely different, to the one raised by STFUASAHO. In my department, the senior faculty pride themselves on having created a loving and mutually supportive environment where rank doesn't matter and where everyone, regardless of tenured status or stardom, is encouraged to share and vent, without repercussion. In other words, the senior faculty actively encourage the junior faculty Not to STFU. Of course, the myth of equality doesn't match the reality, and naive junior faculty who buy into the idea that they can NSTFU risk getting bitten in the a$$.

Thus, what advice can you give to junior faculty who need to STFU while still pretending that they are team players who do NSTFU?
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larryc
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« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2007, 2:02:52 PM »

Dear Twitchy:

Miss STFU strongly doubts that your body language is nearly so expressive as you believe.  Though prima donnas are common in our profession, prima ballerinas are not. So long as you keep your face in line (no eye rolling when Professor Somulence gives teaching advice!) you should be fine.

Stiffly Yours,

Miss STFU


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