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At USF lectures, only happy endings
By JOEL KEVIN THOMPSON
News item: As a consequence of deep cuts in the state education budget, University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft announced that the university will hold classes at the University 16 movie theater complex.
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While this cost-cutting venture has advantages, including "a large screen, tiered seating and cup holders," as noted by Genshaft, it may also have unforeseen effects on academic policies and procedures.
The complex forms completed by students who evaluate faculty teaching will be reduced to a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" rating system.
Faculty members will come under pressure to dress and appear glamorous and sexy when lecturing on stage. Breast implants, tummy tucks, hair implants and liposuction are likely to become more common among faculty desiring a thumbs-up evaluation. While this will be a financial drain on USF faculty, who make substantially less than colleagues at other state universities and are on nine-month salary contracts, they will have the reward of feeling good about their appearance.
Class decorum will be disrupted even more than usual by undergrads who revert to atavistic cinematic behaviors -- mid lecture trips for refreshments and restroom breaks, talking during the performance and a tendency to "screen hop" from class to class to check out the material. Particularly problematic will be couples in the back of the classroom attempting to get to first base rather than focusing on the "plot" of the day's lecture.
Required course material, of course, will now include coverage of relevant movies, along with frequent video homework assignments. For example:
Faculty awards ceremonies, traditionally a minor element of graduation ceremonies, will now be a major social event, occurring in early March of every year at the Ovo Cafein Ybor City. A few of the award categories:
Finally, the most sought-after commencement speakers for the coming years will include Roger Ebert, Gene Shalit and Rex Reed. It's not too early for the USF speakers bureau to begin the process of contacting these individuals for spring commencement.
-- Joel Kevin Thompson is a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida.
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