The Chair of the English Department resigned today to accept a job as provost of a newly formed online degree granting entity called Knowlidge U.
“I will miss my colleagues, but not the ones who take too much chocolate from our department candy bowl, or the ones who make me look bad because they are better teachers,” Jeffrey J. Cohen said. “I will also miss some students. There are others I will not miss. You know who you are.”
Cohen claims that his new title is “Assistant Provost for Flow” (“flow” is a term used in online university parlance to designate the relationship between students enrolled and cash bonuses generated for administrators). Knowlidge U grants degrees in almost six hundred subjects and, for the proper enrollment fee, gives credit for life experiences. Their website gives this example: “Say you once read Mark Twain’s classic novel Tom Sawyer in sixth grade and produced a small diorama of the fence painting scene using Lego bricks. We will put Introduction to American Literature on your transcript for $36.99.”
“Students don’t want to sit in boring classrooms with a boring professor talking about boring books,” Professor Cohen observed. “They want to skim Wikipedia and then submit papers from Starbucks using Twitter. Knowlidge U realizes that fact in a way that the George Washington University does not. Knowlidge U is the future of
Professor Cohen admits that he will also miss the parade of Pulitzers that have graced the English Department this semester: Edward P. Jones, Michael Chabon, and Art Spiegelman (tomorrow!). But, he says, his new job involves students who log onto Knowlidge U from the convenience of their parent’s basement or from the penitentiary to which they have been consigned or from the Starbucks in Gelman Library — while faculty in various offshore locations who have a passing command of English guide them through the intricacies of Ulysses, Moby Dick, and the oeuvre of Ann Rice. He will miss GW, but when that first paycheck arrives from all the life experience credit he is ready to grant, he will be missing it from his second home in Cancun.
When asked for a comment, President Steven Knapp confided, “I never liked the guy anyway. Good riddance.”