Monday, February 05, 2007

Which One Are You?

Boston has become quite chilly. Though the wind is bitter, I just have to think about the alternative of sweltering. It makes me much happier to be in a cold climate for part of the year than a steamy-hot climate for the majority of the year. Of course, my anti-lotion stance has resulted in my hands cracking and bleeding.

Spending all this time in the indoors leaves me with lots of opportunities to think about the academic world. I have come to the conclusion that there are basically only eight different types of professors that you will encounter. Yeah, there’s some idiosyncrasies and individuality. Overall, though, there really are just a basic eight.


    Image of Self: ColleagueProf feels like part of a larger network of like-minded researchers. They believe that each member of that community should assist others to reach their goals. All research, regardless of field, is valuable to ColleagueProf as long it is well done

    The Truth: ColeagueProf is often overly modest about his or her accomplishments. Their own career has shown them to be some of the strongest and most productive members of the department or sub-discipline. ColleagueProf often naïvely believes that everybody in the department/sub-discipline really wants to be as fair as they are.

    They Spend Their Time: Working like a dog. They serve on a ton of committees, make sure their friends receive attention, teach challenging courses, and still get their own research done.

    When They Ask About Your Work: They are genuinely interested and eager to help.

    Achilles Heel: They get overextended.

    They Dislike: People who don’t pull their fair share or who discredit research without bothering to learn the details of the work.


    Image of Self: They are the only ones smart and experienced enough to know which grad students or junior faculty should move up in the ranks. Every aspect of scholarship needs their rigorous reading to ensure its quality. Most people, they argue, are “just not cut-out” to be a professor.

    The Truth: They are the least qualified people to determine which grad students or junior faculty should move up in the ranks. Their own scholarship, the little that exists, was long ago discounted by the discipline in general. They really aren’t cut-out to be a professor.

    They Spend Their Time: Searching the hallways for somebody on whom they can assert their authority. Also, harvesting souls.

    When They Ask About Your Work: They are really reminding you that your future is in their hands. If they dislike you/your sub-discipline, be prepared to listen to a forty-minute lecture about how your career will never advance – ever.

    Achilles Heel: Almost all grad students and junior faculty will surpass their level of productivity.

    They Dislike: People different than themselves.


    Image of Self: Without them, the academic world would stop existing.

    The Truth: They did produce some critically important research – twenty years ago.

    They Spend Their Time: reading the glowing reviews of their first book – out-loud – during department meetings.

    When They Ask About Your Work: Uh – They never ask about your work.

    Achilles Heel: A well positioned mirror will mesmerize them for hours.

    They Dislike: People who don’t kiss their ring.


    Image of Self: The academic world has misunderstood their important contributions. Their department/sub-discipline doesn’t support them like they should. Other people get “special-treatment” they never had.

    The Truth: Their department and/or sub-discipline is eager to support them, but BitterProf would actually need to do something first.

    They Spend Their Time: Being bitter.

    When They Ask About Your Work: They can’t wait until you stop talking so they can launch into a sob story about their own career disappointments.

    Achilles Heel: They are their own worst enemy.

    They Dislike: Everybody.


    Image of Self: Tired – So, tired.

    The Truth: They have been a professor longer than most people live. In that time, they accomplished a great deal.

    They Spend Their Time: Being glad that they finally retired.

    When They Ask About Your Work: They wonder how somebody “so young” could have a Ph.D.

    Achilles Heel: Calcium deficiencies.

    They Dislike: People who treat them like they died.


    Image of Self: Thinks that their scholarship makes them sexy.

    The Truth: They have the sex appeal of a toilet brush.

    They Spend Their Time: Propositioning grad students and/or junior faculty. Wondering when giant gold chains are going to come back into style.

    When They Ask About Your Work: They are expecting that you will be so glad they asked that you will take your clothes off right then and there.

    Achilles Heel: Finding out that Enzyte does nothing to naturally enhance their manhood.

    They Dislike: People who sue them for sexual harassment.


    Image of Self: Uses a complicated and specific language that shows the sophistication of their thinking.

    The Truth: They are smart people, but nobody will ever be able to understand their work because they refuse to be concise.

    They Spend Their Time: Inventing words.

    When They Ask About Your Work: You don’t understand the question.

    Achilles Heel: Encountering somebody who also knows the jargon and, after cutting deep into the icing, finds a half-baked cake.

    They Dislike: Anybody who does not have a Ph.D.


    Image of Self: Most desirable man on the blogosphere.

    The Truth: Well, obviously it’s true that GayProf is the most desirable man on the blogosphere.

    The reality, though, is that GayProf has some traits from each of the above professors as well, both good and bad. I only mock what is true about me at some level.

    Or I am suffering from multiple personality disorder – Whatever.


dykewife said...

this term i appear to have all golden retrievers for profs. no divas, no bitter people, but of course, not one is as exciting as you are...or would be if i were able to take any classes from you :)

Christopher said...

These descriptions are exactly what led me to run from academia after one year in grad school at UNM. I witnessed a hideous tenure fight where most of the department (all Gatekeepers) ganged up on the Colleague Prof up for tenure and quite unjustly denied him. Never mind that they had driven off the only other prof who taught international politics classes and he had the entire load, yet still had multiple articles waiting for publication...they weren't in print, so he didn't make the cut. No thanks, it isn't worth having summers off.

Of course, had there been a Gay Prof in my midst, I might have stayed. :)

Chad said...

I fear I'm well on the way to becoming the BitterProf. I get angrier every time I read an essay or monograph that takes as gospel Foucault's idiotic and groundless theories on the history of sexuality. I already want to call for an Inquisition. Alan Bray, you're on the list!

tornwordo said...

Sounds like that could apply to any workplace.

Doug said...

Gay student, still in the closet:

Image of self: will always be alone because he can't get together with a girl and he can't come out without being rejected by everyone.

The truth: his friends and family will accept him as he is and he will eventually find true love.

They spend their time: drinking, being alone, masturbating.

When you ask them about their sex life: they lie about having sex with girls.

Achilles heel: boys, men, guys in the gym, frat boys, other male students, male professors, ...

They dislike: themselves, for the most part.

If GayProf had been one of GayStudent's professors, GayProf would have found his bones jumped.

Anonymous said...

Wow-- you've described every single person in my division! (Except, of course, I don't have the honor of having a Gay Prof equivalent in my division.) --Maggie

Jason said...

You don't use lotion! You're crazy! I hope you aren't taking hot showers. Your descriptions are right on. I unfortunately am surrounded mostly by diva professors.

Wanna have drinks this week?

Laura Elizabeth said...

Get thee some damn lotion! As soon as you get out of the shower cover yourself in lotion and rub it in good. Better yet, find a nice lad to do it for you.

Most of my professors were LecherousProf and DivaProf. They convinced me that teaching was not a way to go with my career. Maybe the did me a favor.

Sadly, I never had a GayProf.

Cooper said...

GatekeeperProf's cousin GatekeeperForestryTech is well and thriving in my workplace. In fact he added another soul to his collection yesterday.

I love the labels, by the way.

Alan said...

I like that the Gate-keeper prof picture is the Ghost of Christmas-Yet-to-Come from "Scrooge" (the musical version starring Albert Finney.) My favorite version, actually.

I'm none of the above, BTW. I'm a grad student, and therefore below notice. LOL

(You missed one Prof-type though: The Devil Prof. Just pure Evil. Think Dick Cheney with a few letters behind his name.)

Artichoke Heart said...

GayProf! I heart you!

Dorian said...

You're deliberately trying to keep me from applying to grad schools now, aren't you?

BTW, have I mentioned that I love your post labels?

GayProf said...

DykeWife: Yea for having all ColleagueProfs this term. Of course, nobody is quite as good as me. I am the best. You are DykeWife.

Christopher: UNM, sadly, is renowned for having terrible internal politics. As an institution, it has also largely excluded people from the state from holding either faculty or administrative positions.

Chad: Foucault should not be dismissed out of hand. While his ideas will be adapted and challenged, nobody can argue that he changed the direction of the entire field of sexuality studies. Show some respect.

Torn: Based on my experiences outside the academic world, I think that you are right.

Doug: Many of us were GayStudent. Of course, if GayStudent jumped GayProf, this would make the latter into LecherousProf. I am not sure that's a road I want to go down.

Maggie: It's funny cuz it's true.

Jason: Yes, drinks! Txt me.

Laura Elizabeth: I broke down yesterday and bought some lotion. While it is better than having my hands bleed all over my keyboard, I still don't like the greasy feeling.

Cooper: How disheartening. I had hoped that people who monitored forests would somehow be above pettiness. You know, I assumed that thinking the world is a little flower and stuff would be a prerequisite for the job. Alas, GatekeeperForestryTech might not be cut-out for such a job, no?

Alan: I had a devil of a time trying to find a picture of death that I liked. In the end, the ghost of Christmas future connoted the right vibe, I think.

Artichoke Heart: I heart you too! Especially when served with butter.

Dorian: What are you saying? I thought that this would be great advertising for the academic-world as a career.

Bill S. said...

This pretty much conforms to what I had always suspected. Thankfully, I seemed to have pretty good luck in getting professors.

Never had a GayProf, though. (At least, not that I knew.)

Chad said...

Foucault should not be dismissed out of hand.

I just did - and it felt good. Burn!

I'm actually not sure what his full intention was, but it does bother me how his theories, which were much more based in philosophy than actual historical research, are used to undermine or dismiss explorations of homosexuality as a historical reality. I'd much rather use, say, Louis Crompton's "Homosexuality and Civilization" as the foundation of my explorations of the history of sexuality than anything Foucault has written.

And if you think I'm being harsh and irrational, you should ask me about Derrida.

Wiccachicky said...

I am the dog. :)

vuboq said...

glad you broke down and bought the lotion. I was going to suggest getting a big ol' tub of Vasoline to use after you get out of the shower ... um, no not that way. It really does work wonders for winter dry skin.

As for the profs, I wish I had had a GayProf role model back in college ... What about KookyVisitingFromAForeignCountryProf? I had a couple of those in school. They were fun.

Anonymous said...

Oh god, I'm afraid to ask what's wrong with lotion :P Seriously, though, don't ignore moisturizing here. I use Cocoa Butter - there's no dry skin that cocoa butter can't mend.

Alot of people think professors of the "hard" sciences are different than the social sciences and liberal arts. You're list proves there is no difference at all. I think there was, indeed, at least one of each type you describe in my graduate department.

Luckily, I have to say that my graduate advisor/PI was totally ColleagueProf. Aside from science, that was the best trait I learned from him - the cooperative nature of discovery.

Unfortunately the head of my first Qualification exam was GatekeeperProf. He taught me that not everyone was ColleagueProf. Which is a good lesson, too.

Frank said...

We should all have a GayProf in college; sadly, there's only one of him to go around. You simply must clone yourself!

About lotion: I, too, don't like greasiness. I therefore recommend Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Healing. After you've put it on, it just absorbs into the skin, leaving no greasiness. It's also fragrance free, which I like.

Rebekah said...

Okay, you and Torn have that lotion thing in common too. What is it? I could bathe in the stuff and my skin would still be itchy and dry. I can't imagine never usiing it.

Also, what the hell is "Enzyte"?

Elizabeth McClung said...

I like your list, though I fail to see bitterness as a bad thing, more like as close as humans can get to an unlimited energy resource. You did miss my favorite: Non-linear Prof

Image of Self: Their topic is so facinating they can't understand why there is no funding for it, or why they are the only person studying the nation.

The Truth: While maybe this research is important, no one is exactly sure because no one except the person doing it can seem to connect it to anything anyone else has ever studied. While they are ever enthusiastic and have several other academic fans worldwide, there never seems enough to actually have a conference, journal or even dedicated edition.

They spend thier time: Fairly happy, talking to the two students and four ex-students who can understand part of what they say.

When they ask about your work: They seem interested, but you aren't sure if they understand the terms you are using, like "Laptop"

Achilles Heel: They tend to show up on a lot of Christian "Why do we pay people to study this" annual lists.

They dislike: People who say research is "just a job."

Will said...

I use a New Hampshire product that combines bee's wax and olive oil with a couple of other ingredients and a faint but lovely scent of lavender. It's available from Sweetgrass Farms and they MUST have a website, EVERYBODY has a website. Please use it--there's no sense trying to be butch about your skin in New England in the winter. After all, there are certain activities for which soft skin on the hands is at least highly advisable if not downright essential.

Here's hoping I qualify as a GayProf. I'm all too familiar with the others and want no part of their various traumas--I'm having way too much fun, just for starters.

GayProf said...

Bill S. Oh, if you had a GayProf, you would know.

Chad: I didn't say you couldn't dismiss Foucault. I said that you shouldn't dissmiss Foucault.

Remember the bit about ColleagueProf finding value in other people's research?

WiccaChicky: We should all aspire to be the dog.

VUBOQ: Yeah, see, I never like Vaseline for those other purposes as either. So, you can imagine how I feel about it just as a moisturizer.

AtariAge: Having a ColleagueProf as an advisor is key -- KEY -- to surviving in the academic world. My advisor was one of the most dedicated and astounding individuals that I have met. She is the model of ColleagueProf.

Frank: Oh, unscented is key for me in lotion. In particular, I find the "baby-powder" fragrance nauseating. I can't really explain why.

Rebekah: Clearly you are neglecting your television-watching duties if you don't know about Enzyte. It's a product advertised late at night that claims to be a "natural male enhancement." They are preying upon men's worst insecurities.

Elizabeth: Oh.My.God. I have become NonLinearProf.

Will: After all, there are certain activities for which soft skin on the hands is at least highly advisable if not downright essential.

Why do you think I broke down and bought the lotion?

Jefe said...

But for having succumbed to the lotion, you would not have retained the title of most desirable man on the blogosphere. No one desires chapped bleeding hands on their...

I swear by St. Ives. Not greasy and it costs like a dollar.

As for the typrofogy, my advisor is colleague prof, thank god. Almost too much. To her, all my ideas are good ones. That's just statistically improbable.

I'm also suffering right now with a preternaturally insecure variant of the DivaProf. (See blog for more info.) Oy, that one's a toughie.

@Chad: Maybe because I'm not a historian, I never really read Foucault as a historian, and so don't fault him for inaccuracy. As a self-avowed philosopher, however, seems to me he raised some incredibly important questions. Which brings me to: can you define what you mean exactly by "homosexuality"?

Chad said...

What I mean by "homosexuality" is the exclusive sexual and romantic attraction to one's own gender. What I - and quite a few historians in the field of the history of sexuality - see is that homosexuality *did* exist as a concept before the modern era; it was known by different names and there was no "homosexual community" as known today (although perhaps even this is debatable, if we look at the "homosexual underground" as it existed in London and Amsterdam in the early modern period), of course, but it did exist as a concept. To me, Foucault's ideas have in the end become nothing but an obnoxious semantical obstacle to historians of sexuality (not unlike, I think, Derrida's "contributions" to the field of literary studies). It's telling that most contemporary works on the history of sexuality I see only bring up Foucault's ideas in order to rebut them and brush them aside.

Mike said...

Bitter, lecherous, gay prof.



ACubedExistence said...

How do you manage to stay so positive when working with such people? Incompetent and/or insecure peope are hard enough to work with already. When they're smart as well I can't imagine that makes it any easier. Seriously, how do you do it?