One of the things we at Bond University struggled with was to keep the kids entertained and in the class rooms.
For that, a colleague of mine (aka Dr. Evil) had devised a cunning approach: While the lecture notes were electronically available (as Word documents), before any lecture you could only download a version where half of the content was blanked out. For the students to fill out during class. After every lecture the full document was made available.
Bond University has recently celebrated its 20th birthday. According to the vice chancellor, Robert Stable, Bond is well on its way to join the Ivy League, Harvard, Yale and Princeton. This, so I read amused, is driven by Bond's epic struggle towards academic excellence. It has definitely nothing to do with any Porsches or Maseratis in the student parking lot.
As I happened to accompany Bond on its Golden Path to enlightenment and have seen the business model from the inside, I have skimmed their tricks of trade in the process. Tricks I'm ready to share with you.
Somewhat with little enthusiasm I marked today the recent exam for the semantic web course I had given this and previous year. What kept me going was the fact that this is not only the last exam for that particular course, but that it is also the last course for me, hopefully for a very long time.
The course had not been difficult or anything, quite pleasureable actually. And as usual I also experimented with new ways to explain stuff, new material, new tasks, and new exam question.
Being employed at Bond University also means that you are subjected to their corporate mailing list:
The Bond Spammigator (Ta Ta Ta Taaaaaa!)
In effect this means that about 10 to 20 emails per day are force fed down to you, all from various administrative units, superiors, ueber-superiors, assistants of the temporary under-superiors, managing directors of advising assistants to the marketing subcommittee on christmas cards, etc.
The corporate university. A beauty. And so educated, too.
They always inform you about all important changes. Really important things.
- And? Have you been margreted again?
Larcus Mandall was grinning. As usual, my evil twin at Bond University was sitting behind his tiny desk, that defensively facing the door.
His question was his way to invite me to one of our regular intellectual fencing sessions.
No, not this time. I tricked her.
Margret was the wife of my room neighbor, a patronizing maths professor from a different epoch.
The lawyer held up the agreement I had signed together with Iain Morisson, head of the IT school at Bond University:
"Of course it is binding."
Andrew Walker was the leading legal employment specialist and partner at the law firm Quinn & Scattini.
"Yeah, and it's Bond again. They just shafted someone very badly from the Medical School. They seem to have a track record here."
I was not sure whether he just wanted to scare us, \
The situation mid April 2007 at Bond University was now at follows:
- I had signed an agreement in March to leave for research overseas in May, and to get a redundancy payment in exchange for some academic work.
- Based on the agreement we had sold house, car, cat, and shipped everything what is worth shipping to Europe. The rest we have given away.
- I had worked March and April on the school website, according to the agreement.
Ground Hog Day
Things at Bond University had gone from good, to not-so-good, to bad:
After signing the agreement Iain Morrison seemed to have lost it. Somewhere in one of his large paper piles. I kept asking for a copy for my records, but he just threw a vexed look at his paper chaos and promised it tomorrow.
Come what may Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya Tomorrow! You're always A day A way!
Yes, I have been a bad boy and have skipped the April and May installments. Not from the lack of ideas, but simply of time.
But now I'm back with another dose:
Category Information Technology
Another outworld-ish experience I had at Bond University was when attending examiner meetings.
I never really figured out what these meetings at the end of each teaching trimester were supposed to achieve. But neither did any of my colleagues. The meetings were held after all (centrally scheduled) exams and everyone happily showed up. So I did too.
What we did there - under the competent supervision of the dean of the day - is to look at every students' mark in every single course.
What we looked for were anomalies, such as a
What many people do not know about me:
I do actually read spam mails. All of them.
It started when I was still employed at Bond University. Back then this was a daily routine: SPAM mail from the middle management, full of strangely ministerial buerocratic language, such as ... henceforth be advised ..., ...please be advisedth..., the Vice Chancellor in his infinite wisdom and his beauty wishes to advise to the general mortal populace..., etc.
But the hilariously amusing aspect in this idiocy had an unexpected effect on me:
Curtain. Act I, Scene II.
The familiar feeling. Again, I was sitting opposite the man with the thin white hair.
The calendar showed March, 8th. It was now a full month that I had asked Iain Morrison to settle my payout entitlements with the university.
I looked at my wife. Her face had turned to stone. I immediately understood that in her eyes George Earl had just committed intellectual suicide. And it was just like watching someone jumping from a basement window killing himself.
What had happened:
The curtain lifts. Act I, Scene I. The calendar on the wall shows February 2007. Iain Morrison's office.
Iain was the Head of School at Bond University and I finally got an opportunity to break my news:
- "... but, Iain, but I cannot see much future here. And I am too young to retire at an Australian university. I definitely want to return to civilization."
Iain Morrison looked completely surprised. Understandably, because I had invested a lot of time in the months before to help him to get his Innovation Center on its feet. But it became
Warning: The following text may distress an egalitarian reader. Feudalists, Australian monarchists and Bond University administrators should be fine.
Bond University with its strongly layered and compartmentalized micro-societies is an interesting sociopathic study ground. When you are interested in post-industrial feudalism, that is.
They have a rich culture of controlled depreciation, so that everyone knows where he stands, and is supposed to remain.