UAlbany’s False Advertising: A Reason to Be Disgusted

The current homepage of the University at Albany, SUNY has a slideshow featuring several marketing blurbs to prospective students. The language of those blurbs is shockingly–and disturbingly–inaccurate. Take, for instance, the university’s statement that “UAlbany’s faculty are focused on one thing: your success.” This claim smacks of Burger King’s “Your Way, Right Away” slogan from the 1990s. The university surely does not mean “tenure track faculty” in using the word “faculty,” because, according to the university’s web page on “Procedures for Promotion and Tenure Review,” “faculty contributions and accomplishments in scholarship, teaching, and service are the vital components of a research university’s success in advancing its mission. The University at Albany is committed to providing an academic climate that supports and facilitates faculty excellence in all three areas.”

It is clear that both statements cannot be correct at the same time. Even though I am a (pre-tenure) faculty member in the humanities my math is good enough to understand that “one thing” cannot be “three areas.” If UAlbany’s faculty members are only focused on student success what does that say about the success of the university’s status as research university? If UAlbany’s administration badgers its faculty into performing institutional service wouldn’t that conflict with the claim that we have a singular focus on teaching? And if the success of whoever “you” is is a faculty member’s sole focus, what might happen when that faculty member’s research is evaluated during tenure review? In any case, I’d like to offer the following creative English-to-English translation. Not: “UAlbany’s faculty are focused on one thing: your success.” But: “UAlbany is focused on one thing: your tuition money.”

~ by Michael Leong on June 1, 2018.

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