It’s the weekend! Our suggestion to you on this snowy Saturday is to forgo Butler and curl up in your bed by the window to do your studying as the snow falls. To help you along the path to enlightenment, we bring you the wisdom of Richard Pious, who’s “just a humble professor.”
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I think that question would be more properly addressed to my parents, as they made the procreation decisions. As for me, I agree with Henry Ford III advice about justifications: “Never complain, never explain.”
Claim to fame: The question presupposes that I am famous and special. I think this might better be addressed to the Bollingers and Sachs of the university. I’m just a humble professor at Barnard, trying to make my way in the universe.
What’s your most valuable or unexpected college experience? Finding out in my second year of teaching in Morningside Heights that I had things to say in my courses that would interest students.
Back in my day… Very little [has changed]. When I was a grad student here the atmosphere was too competitive, too chilly, too lacking in community. At one point an enterprising student created a group called “warmth” to bring about a nicer and more welcoming atmosphere. I’d like to see it revived.
The biggest change is the demise of the student run course evaluation system. It held faculty accountable, rewarded those who put in the effort, and penalized those who just mailed it in. It was a survey of all students in the course and not an internet take-down from a few trolls. I’ve been trying with no success whatsoever to get Barnard to adopt a system of on-line course evaluations open to the university community.
What’s the craziest student excuse/extension story you’ve heard? Every excuse would be tied for the craziest in my book.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I thought oral sex was cheese. Silly me.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
What’s your advice to students/academics/the human race in general? Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
If your friends reassure you that it’s OK not to get something done, get yourself some new friends.
Don’t go to bed with anyone who has more problems than you have.