How to be a Terrible Academic

A not so complete but vital guide to becoming a terrible academic.

  1. Never be available during office hours.
  2. Never do research. Thank God your PhD is complete. Instead, teach 3 courses every semester for the rest of your career.
  3. Hire undergraduate RAs and never discuss grad admissions with them.
  4. Tell RAs “Research pays less than industry”. Then make them do bland software development for your projects.
  5. Hire 50 people with no academic aptitude. Make sure to find people who have been primarily jobless. Continue to convince fellow academics that you really are running a research lab.
  6. As your RAs work on redressing previously published work, share articles on social media about advanced string theory.
  7. Hand the final exams to your TAs. But make sure they are overworked from their side jobs.
  8. Prepare Fibonacci exams: just mix the past two exams you made.
  9. Make sure your sabbatical and vacations never align.
  10. Teach a 400 level course you have no practical experience about. Seriously, it’s so thrilling.
  11. Read off of slides in these courses. The slides should be copied from the textbook. This is easier than you expected!
  12. Be sure to never give out more than one A grade. Grade deflation is the real measure of prestige.
  13. Forget to keep track of your students and what they are doing after university. Tell yourself your institution has a lot of prestige and they must be doing well.
  14. Write a recommendation that repeatedly uses words like “hard working” and “intelligent”. Very few people in academia have those qualities anyway.
  15. Don’t see your PhD students more than once a month. Concentrate on that new startup you are part of.
  16. Be nonchalant if a student changes their thesis topic 5 times. They are just figuring themselves out.
  17. Keep accepting new PhD applicants. You are an academic after all.
  18. Collaborate often. Don’t feel shy if your paper submission has ten names and you have no idea what the paper is about.
  19. When in doubt, look through your website. Admire your academic accolades.
  20. Make a social media post again.
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