Welcome, New Professor!

Lev Raphael
The Monocle of Higher Ed
3 min readAug 14, 2023

Welcome New Professor!

We’re thrilled that you can teach in our English Department on such short notice. Speaking as Chair of the creative writing program, I can tell you we’re all so very proud to have you, a local author, especially since you’re such a cheap way to replace a full-time professor. Here are some important guidelines we didn’t discuss in previous emails:

— Please do not mention in class the tenured professor whom you’re replacing and his unfortunate tirade about what he so wrongly called “cancel culture” and “the Twitter mob” after quoting an author I will not mention. We all wish him a speedy recovery. He’ll be back next semester after his phone-free guided retreat of struggle and self-interrogation.

— You have absolute and total freedom to assign any writing exercises and readings you choose in your introductory and advanced fiction courses, but they cannot include any trigger or pre-trigger or quasi-trigger or pre-quasi-trigger words of any kind whatsoever, and so I urge you to contact the Vetting Committee ASAP. You’ll find them very thorough.

— We also expect you to submit your course materials and syllabus to the Committee on Cultural Appropriation and Misappropriation and abide by their decisions as well as those of the Vetting Committee. Both committees work with dispatch and I must say a keen sense of honor and duty. You’ll feel inspired.

— We picked you for your distinguished publishing record, but urge you not to refer to yourself as a “working writer” — which you did with me twice when we spoke. This label could be seen as offensive, derogatory, or demeaning by other faculty members who are proud that they’ve made their homes in academe. Mentioning your Pulitzer also validates hierarchical notions of value.

— In our discussions, you presented yourself as knowing “the publishing world inside and out’’ and said this was something special that you could offer students. I surely don’t need to point out that all of our creative writing faculty offer students something special. Your statement could be seen as arrogance, puffery, and blatant self-promotion.

— You were an obvious and natural last-minute choice, having published more books in more genres than the entire creative writing faculty combined. But making too much of these accomplishments might overwhelm your students and be interpreted as bullying or intimidation or disrespecting your colleagues.

— Lastly, as a temporary professor, you will not be sitting on any faculty meetings as your presence would most likely be anomalous and disruptive. We also won’t be giving you a plastic name sign for your office door since you’ll be here for just one semester, but feel free to mention us in any interviews you do. We would love the publicity.

Have fun!

Your Chair & New Friend

(Please do not reply to this email)



Lev Raphael
The Monocle of Higher Ed

Lev Raphael escaped academia to write and review full time and is the author of 27 books in genres from memoir to mystery. He comes from a family of teachers.