Sic et Non wrote:It was a real loss to our Arabic faculty at BYU when my longtime friend and colleague Dil Parkinson retired a couple of years ago. (By the way, he and his wife are now just back from an LDS humanitarian services mission to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan — another item that is simply begging to be included in your already overflowing “Christopher Hitchens Memorial ‘How Religion Poisons Everything’ File.”) But, gathering with most of our faculty this afternoon for our annual pre-fall-semester meeting — Kirk Belnap is leading a BYU intensive Arabic program in Amman, Jordan, and Ahmad Karout is back for a while in his native Syria, from which he will nonetheless be teaching classes for us online — I was impressed with the intelligence, strong backgrounds, and ability of my colleagues and with their sheer desire to teach and serve. And that is to say nothing of the other faculty who teach in our broader Middle East Studies – Arabic or MESA program.
Quite nice, no? I know that we certainly enjoy a similar admiration for one another here at Cassius University. But this is unusual for DCP: normally, he spends all his time praising fellow Mopologists: people who help him with "Interpreter," or who are "fellow travelers," as it were. Maybe DCP is beginning to feel some heat, though? Maybe he's starting to feel a bit of concern that some praise of his colleagues is in order because....well, why? Now, don't get me wrong: of course there are times when people are simply being nice. And I'm sure that there are plenty of times when even DCP has been nice to others just for the sake of being nice. So, if this was just a nice report on the quality and collegiality of DCP's colleagues, then that would be that, and I would not be writing a post about it. But then the other shoe drops:
Daniel Peterson wrote:For various program-general scheduling reasons, we’ve had to move my MESA 250 class (Introduction to the Religion of Islam) to an unusually late time on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I expect that that is the reason that enrollment in the class is sharply down from previous semesters — along with the fact that the class’s final examination is currently scheduled for the very last period of the very last day of fall semester final examinations. (Alternatively, the low enrollment might reflect the fact that my reputation as a surpassingly mediocre teacher is finally getting out.)
Hmmm. This doesn't sound good. Correct me if I'm wrong, Dean Robbers, but at Cassius, we cancel classes if the enrollment is too low. This happens very, very rarely, thanks to the scheduling and planning acumen of the staff in your office, but when it *does* happen.... Well, you know how much of a pain that is. It removes a chunk of work that the professor in question is contractually obliged to provide to the university. So--as you have complained to us many times--your poor staff is then left struggling to find other work so that the professor can fulfill the terms of his contract.
Peterson goes on:
DCP wrote:Anyway, on the off chance that somebody out there in the audience of this blog is a student at BYU or knows somebody who is, I’m sharing this little announcement:
Introduction to Religion of Islam
Study of the sources, history, principles of religion, law, and practice from the founding of Islam until the present period.
MESA 250 (Middle East Studies – Arabic)
4 PM – 5:15 PM
There are no required prerequisites – e.g., no knowledge of Arabic or any other Islamicate language – for the class.
It is possible, though not certain, that the time and location of the class could be adjusted with the approval of class members.
Islam is a major factor in today’s world, both globally and within the United States and Canada, and knowledge of the faith and of the peoples and cultures influenced by it can benefit students with a wide range of career plans.
I will find also surely find some way to improve on the scheduled time for the class’s final examination.
Posted from Park City, Utah
Wow: so he's having to advertise for his own class? And, he is openly saying that he is going to go against the university-appointed time? Did he get permission from his department chair to do that? He says that the new time slot has led to "enrollment in the class [going] sharply down from previous semesters". So what happened? He says, "For various program-general scheduling reasons, we’ve had to move my MESA 250 class." Well, no: that can't possibly be true. This wasn't a "we" sort of decision; if it had been, he wouldn't have led off with that panegyric of his colleagues. (Unless this is a veiled, passive-aggressive sort of swipe at them. I.e., a sort of quiet means of blaming whoever was responsible for this schedule.) And, if the class is canceled, that will leave him scrambling to fulfill the terms of his teaching contract. Was this really just a blunder related to "various program-general scheduling reasons"? Or did he piss somebody off in his home department? There is doubtless someone in his department--just as is the case in every department at Cassius--who oversees the scheduling and who makes the decisions. It is *never* a "we" kind of decision: that would involve too many chefs in the kitchen, as it were, and nothing would ever get done. It may be that Peterson was allowed to give input into this decision-making via a form or a poll or something, and he was just dumb and agreed to this time despite the apparent risks. Or, sure: it could be that he was distracted and forgot to fill out the form, and so this was all that the scheduling person had left to work with. But think about this: if he fails to fulfill the terms of his contract, won't he be fired? Could that be used in a case to have him removed?
I will admit that I have, rather recently, been privy to some gossip which sounds very troubling indeed: namely, that there are powers-that-be who've at last had enough of Peterson, Midgley, and the Mopologists, and that moves are being made to "force" DCP to retire by the end of the year. As always: readers are advised to treat this for what it is: gossip and speculation. But given this latest "announcement" from "Sic et Non," I am beginning to wonder if there might be some credence to the rumor.