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Dawson's Tenure
lyrics 1995 by Dr. H. Paul Shuch
sung to the tune of "Dawson's Christian,"
Copyright © 1989 by Duane Elms

Academicado

From the corner of the campus, looking out across the grass,
Dr. Dawson contemplated the arrival of his class.
And he cursed the dean for scheduling him morning until night,
For he could never find the time to write.

"How can I do any research?" Dr. Dawson asked the dean.
"This teaching load has got to be the worst I've ever seen."
The reply was, "You have graduate students. Learn to play the game.
Use their data, write the abstract, sign your name."

CHORUS:

For you won't be given tenure if your book is not a hit,
And it really doesn't matter that your students don't learn shit.
It's a rule of academia, you publish every year
Or perish quickly. That was Dawson's fear.

The freshmen filled the lecture hall, the largest they could build,
And not one seat was empty, and not one mind was filled.
The Professor prattled on about the theorem of the day,
But the students knew his thoughts were far away.

It was time for posted office hours. Dawson was not there.
The students checked the lab, library, restroom, everywhere.
They found him at the Xerox feeding in another dime;
He had to mail his manuscript on time.

CHORUS

They convened the tenure subcommittee. Dawson had to smile
As he saw the chairman contemplate the contents of his file:
A stack of student protests reaching halfway to the sky,
And a pile of journal papers just as high.

His grading curves were Gaussian, and there for all to see,
And his peer evaluations, mediocre though they be,
And sixty juried articles. So what else could they say?
They made Dawson full professor on that day.

FINAL CHORUS:

For you won't be given tenure if your book is not a hit,
And it really doesn't matter that your students don't learn shit.
It's a rule of academia, you publish every year
Or perish quickly. That was Dawson's fear.
But Dawson didn't perish, it is clear!

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