Not “a leader”: Firing off multiple emails to colleagues who are at least as busy as you are and asking that they invest a lot of their already heavily obligated time into activities of no value to them professionally and of dubious value to the institution. The proper term is “a deluded email spammer currently in an administrative position.”

Not “good at delegating”: Delegating 100% of your duties to your already overworked underlings, some of whom are wholly unqualified to perform said duties. The proper term is “not doing your job at all but collecting the pay.”

Not”cultivating the alumni donor base”: Saying that our main role is to make our undergraduates feel all warm and fuzzy about their time in the department, so they would become donors once they are out in the world, earning the big bucks, instead of challenging them with our teaching so they would acquire the skills to actually make the aforementioned big bucks. The proper term is “having drunk the corporate Koolaid a little too eagerly,” also known as “have you no fuckin’ shame?”


  1. Oh, a department chair with ambitions.

    It’s worth suffering through this, though, if it will ultimately launch them into an administrative job at the University of Someone Else’s Problem.

  2. second one is a perfect description of my graduate advisor. I reviewed articles, reviewed grants, wrote grants. Somehow she was “super busy,” but doing what? In my last two years she never wrote a grant herself, let alone barely edited a paper any of her student’s wrote before submission.

  3. Someone at my U has a bumper sticker that I’ve always liked that goes something like ‘Vote Cthulhu: Don’t settle for the lesser of two evils’

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