Saturday, April 6, 2013

Big Bang: Who Will Get Tenure?

Sheldon's version of a "I slept with your mom" joke was hilarious. I also really enjoyed that the topic for this episode not only made for some great moments but will also work in the background for another couple of episodes as well. A quick recap for those not in academia - tenure really does pretty much mean that you can't get fired even if you suck. Tenured professors often get first choice at section times and courses to teach, as well as lab space and other perks, depending on department. To qualify, you generally have to be prolific in publishing and presenting, well-liked by your students and your colleagues, and plans for the future - what you will research, courses you are developing, etc. And, yes, a committee does decide who will receive tenure, but a spot doesn't automatically open up when someone dies... at least not in any university tradition with which I am familiar. Oh, and you COULD receive tenure without a PhD in many places, so I'm not sure if Howard's field (likely) or their specific University is what is keeping him out of the running.

That said, Sheldon and Leonard both have hindrances in being granted tenure. Sheldon loathes to teach, present, and doesn't take criticism well. Leonard's work has often been described as unnecessary and disproved by others. I'm less certain about how Kripke or Raj  (or Leslie, if she's still bumbling around) would do. Who do you think deserves the coveted slot?

The Big Bang Theory "The Tenure Turbulence" (S06E20): A professor has passed away, so his tenured opening is the new prize for Kripke, Leonard, Raj, and Sheldon. Sheldon disagrees with the idea of tenure because he feels it makes you complacent, but he still plans to go for it. Kripke plans to play politics, though Leonard decides to ingratiate a bit in person while Sheldon thinks gift-giving is the way to go. [Roots!! hahaha!] Leonard wants his mother to be proud of him, and Amy thinks that tenure could force Sheldon to focus outside his academic life. [I doubt that one!] Raj just wants to be able to stop taking money from his parents. [is he still just an assistant to Sheldon at the moment?]

The committee features some Professor Wu and the HR representative, whom Leonard cozies up to at the gym on an elliptical. Of course, Kripke beat him to it, and has been baking her banana bread and meeting at the gym regularly.
Michael Yarish/Warner Bros.
[whoa, Raj's video was intense!] The guys all decide to attend the memorial service in another attempt to brown-nose, and the ladies tag along - Penny to flirt with the old men and Amy to intelligently talk up Sheldon. [I loved the contrast here.] The episode ends with us finding out that Sheldon, Leonard, and Raj have all made the "short list," though Kripke seems absent from it. [hmmm...]
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1 comment:

Wondering said...

Definitely Sheldon should get tenure it would make for even more hilarious episodes