Friday, February 08, 2008

Penn State's Braintrust

Well this is good news.
Penn State professors have until Feb. 15 to apply to serve as the university's equivalent of the U.S. poet laureate, a position once held by Maya Angelou.


Any full-time professor is invited to apply, but no applications have been received thus far, said Katryn Boynton, staff assistant in the Office of Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
You see, I've been meaning to send in my application, but I'm still working on polishing my portfolio. I just wasn't happy with my earlier effort. Here's my latest revision.
There is a professor at Penn State,
Whose job it is to proclaim the University great.
Whenever he sings the praises of the prexy Graham,
People shout, the Penn State Laureate job is a sham.

The Collegian tells us a little bit about the genesis of this latest marketing effort by Old Main.
Penn State President Graham Spanier suggested the position of university laureate at a President's Council meeting last month.


"If you think about President [Bill] Clinton's poet laureate, Maya
Angelou, that was an excellent way to bring a lot of visibility to [the
arts],"[Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Blanne] Bowen said. "We would expect the Penn State laureate to bring
similar kinds of recognition and stature to the university."
Can you just imagine what that meeting was like? The Provost Rodney Erickson brings up the fact that Penn State's image as an unfriendly place for intellectuals has begun to hurt the University. He says,"We need to make someone the intellectual face of this University." He looks at Bowen, who says," Don't look at me. I'm just a glorified ag extension agent." Spanier chuckles when his eyes meet Erickson's and he says," Hell, I am the problem. I can't pretend to care about the life of the mind, besides I've got movies to review." They are at a loss. The room falls silent. Then suddenly Graham springs to his feet and proclaims,"I've got it! We create the position of University Spokesmodel. We give some professor time off from teaching so that we can parade him around at donor get togethers where he can quote poetry and shit like that." Everyone nods in agreement and Bowen say, "This is a great idea. It's true genius." Then the secretary taking minutes of the meeting whispers in Erickison's ear and Rod says to the gathering," The concept is great, but I'm not sure if the title of University Spokesmodel helps with solving the problem. Let's give the position the title of Penn State Laureate. That sounds a little more academic and on top of that people might begin to think that someone at Penn State has finally won the Noble Prize." The all agreed and with that the meeting adjourned.

Well, I'm sure something like that happened.

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