JCC - Grinnell College will offer a new Special Topic course in the Spring 2016 semester, BLS-295: Professor Lives, co-taught by Professors Dominique Smith and Ella Livestein. The course is designed to help students be able to critically engage with the world by introducing them to a scenario where a professor will endlessly drone on about their lives and their achievements while students have to feign interest and engagement with the material.
“This course was a long time coming,” says Dominique Smith, chair of the newly-created Bullshit-Life Skills department . “BLS-295 will teach students invaluable life skills. The average person’s life involves hundreds, if not thousands, of situations where narcissistic people in positions of power hijack meetings about important issues to talk about themselves in an egotistical, selfish manner, completely disregarding the purpose of the meeting. Students will have to learn to comply with these scenarios, and BLS-295 will give students a framework through which to navigate these scenarios.”
“Students can rest assured that class time will be covered mostly by my endless rants, and that the syllabus will almost always be ignored in favor of whatever the professor feels like talking about.” Professor Livestein continued “Moreover, we will guarantee that any attempt at actual discussion, creative thinking, and original ideas will be quickly stifled so as to allow us to voice our own opinion and viewpoint unopposed.”
When asked of the grading rubric of the class, Smith reported: “Well, we’re still trying to nail down the specifics, but we think that there are three main skills we are going to develop and look out for. Firstly, the ability to act interested and engaged by stories that are both boring and irrelevant to course material. Secondly, we will judge student’s ability to keep awake for 2 hours of a monotonous drone. Finally, students will have to learn how to cope with the true meaning of frustration given that there is a final 20 page research paper, and yet there will be very little class time dedicated to the prompt or how to solve it. Instead the main focus will be the antics of Mittens, one of Professor Livestein’s many cats.”
“In short, it will give students hands-on experience with the frustration most adults experience in their dayto- day lives.”
The student body reaction has been mixed. Some students call it a “waste of $50, 000” and “just a rehash of my History class with Professor Mabler”, whereas others were more hopeful.
“Yeah, it seems like a boring class and a waste of time… but that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?” commented Jackie Mullif ’17, “And at least it’s honest about its intentions. Other classes advertise riveting and engaging content, but at least here you know you’re in for a snoozefest.”
Some students have also been uncertain due to confusion about the quality of professor involved.“So I looked up Livestein on RateMyProfessor – she had an average rating of 1.3, with many reviews saying she was ‘boring’, ‘monotonous’, ‘not really helpful’ , and ‘a really, really sucky prof’ - which in this context I do not know if it will be a good thing or not.”