Now I’d like to take a shot at applying Bierce’s satirical approach to educational terminology beyond technology. May it entertain, and all be forgiven.
Adjunct, n. 1. Literally, the typical faculty member in American academia. Etymologically, a small side dish supplemental to the main course. 2. The crowning delight awaiting a PhD in the 21st century. 3. Uber for higher education! 4. American English for the British expression “on the dole”. (See Tuition)
Athletics, n. pl. A strategy for attempting to gain, and succeeding in losing: imagined glories, needed dollars, alumni adoration, and needful students – in that order of priority and sequence. (See Tuition)
Class, n. The blinking horde that awaits us when we awaken. (See Tuition)
Communications, n. An intellectual field with a rich history that academia assigns to a department, then resolutely seeks to avoid at all costs.
Curriculum, n. When faculty dream of their younger selves.
Debt, n. 1. Lifelong learning and guaranteed employment for a good chunk of your income and many financiers. 2, How a state government pays for roads, prisoners, health care, and retirees. 3. The gift that keeps on giving. 4. The most durable souvenir of one’s college days.
Degree, n. The last level completed in gamified cognition. (See Tuition)
Development, n. The postacademic pursuit of students in order to extract their ultimate value.
Legislature (state), n. Akin to the Electors of the Holy Roman Empire, but less learned, less interested, less powerful, and far less generous.
Mission statement, noun phrase. A devastating process inflicted on a human language, intended to suppress all levels of meaning and elegance from every word. (See Tuition)
Pedagogy, n. A dark mystery. Faculty acquire this knowledge through meditation and osmosis. At no time may it be taught or researched. (See Tuition)
PhD, n. Congratulations! You have triumphed over the final boss. (See Tuition)
Publish or perish, noun phrase. An axiom guiding the behavior of a large number of humans who don’t normally believe in competition’s benevolent mayhem.
Residence halls, n. pl. Containment cells wherein pupal alumni are nurtured. (See Tuition) (See Development)
Strategic planning, noun phrase. 1. The method by which all institutions strive to identically establish their uniqueness.
2. A way to overwhelm transparency by repeated applications of paperwork and meetings. (See Tuition)
Traditional student, noun phrase. An 18-to-22-year old undergraduate attending a residential campus; a shrinking and niche sector of higher education. (See Tuition)
Tuition, n. The purest distillation of time, debt, and dreams. (See Debt)
…more to come…
(thanks to Cliff Kussmaul, Bob Miller, Lanny Arvan, Jeremiah Parry-Hill, Peter Naegele, Thomas Burkdall; photo by elycefeliz)