Bill Gleason

Bill Gleason is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. He's also a fellow at the U's Supercomputer Institute. Read more about Gleason.

Transformational Verbigeration at the U?

Posted by: Bill Gleason Updated: June 22, 2010 - 10:15 AM

Eva von Dassow rightly gives President Bruininks and the Board of Regents (BoRe) a well deserved tongue lashing. In the process I learned a new word.

I also thought of Jesus going (slightly) berserk in the temple because of the moneychangers. Righteous anger about what is going on at our University is certainly in order.

From YouTube I give you a video of Professor van Dassow's contribution to an open forum opportunity provided by the Regents recently.

 

 

 


To show you how seriously the BoRe takes these little tête-à-têtes, Chair Allen - he of the fast gavel - dismissed criticisms such as that leveled by Professor von Dassow as narrow in view.


"I think some of the criticism may come about from the changing emphasis on disciplines," Allen said. "But our world is changing and we need to keep up."

A statement such as this demonstrates a lack of understanding of higher education equivalent to that demonstrated by Governor Pawlenty's recent diatribe about the University of Minnesota as a haven for boring Econ and Spanish profs that could easily be replaced by $199 courses from iCollege.

I suggest that Professor von Dassow knows a whole lot more about changing emphasis on academic disciplines than does chair Allen, whose higher education experience appears to consist of having been head bean counter for Concordia College.

Given the lack of knowledge about academics exhibited by Pfutz, our own Chief Financial Officer, this is scary indeed.

 

verbigeration (vuhr-bij-uh-RAY-shun)

noun Obsessive repetition of meaningless words and phrases.

Etymology From Latin verbigerare (to talk, chat), from verbum (word) + gerere (to carry on).]

Usage

"Some words are standard, but with a twist; some are liberated from patriarchal prejudice and restored to archaic meanings; some are new and sharp as an ungrateful crone, and a feast for (Mary) Daly familiars. A sample: 'Abominable snowmen of androcratic academia: freezers and packagers of learning; chilling throng of frigid fellows, specialists in verbigeration and refrigeration of knowledge.'"

-- Audrey DeLaMartre; Bible Speaks to Fill Readers With 'Holy Chutzpah', Minneapolis Star Tribune; Nov 1, 1987.

Example:

"In this message, I will share some thoughts with you on recent initiatives regarding the stewardship of our intellectual resources. As many of you realize, we live in a knowledge-based economy in which our fundamental mission as a University must be deployed in service of the broader transnational learning process."  U of M Provost Sullivan

"share some thoughts" "recent initiatives" "stewardship of our intellectual resources" "knowledge-based economy" Sounds like the output of a computer program that strings together random adminspeak buzzwords. The phrases roll off the tongue like the patter of a State Fair turkey leg hawker.

"our fundamental mission as a University must be deployed in service of the broader transnational learning process"

 

Q: What the hell does this mean?


A: It doesn't mean anything. It is not supposed to. It is an example of transformational verbigeration.

 

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