Clear-Cutting Your Cognitive Underbrush…..

True Fact:  According to the Boston-based Online Learning Consortium, college professors are vulnerable to “neuromyths,” which are erroneous beliefs about learning that are based in misunderstandings of how the brain functions (e.g., the mistaken belief that a student learns best when taught by an instructor who employs the student’s preferred learning style).  

As it turns out, faculty neuromyths are not confined to their perceptions of students.  Here are some other examples:

“My department chair hates me!”  Reality:  Your department chair doesn’t hate you.  There’s a big difference between your chair hating you and your chair simply not caring about you.

“My dean hates me!”  Reality:  Actually, this one is true.  Sorry.

“The Provost has no idea who I am!”  Reality: The Provost does know who you are, but, as is the case with your department chair, doesn’t care.  

“The custodian is stealing change from my coin dish when he cleans my office!”  Reality:  It’s much more likely that your underpaid, non-unionized graduate assistant is doing this. 

“The reference librarians gossip about me behind my back whenever I visit the Circulation Desk!”  Reality:  You know that librarians are notoriously quirky.  They’re probably just sharing naughty limericks about the Dewey Decimal System.  It has nothing to do with you.  

“Servers in the Faculty Dining Room give me smaller portions at lunch than they give my colleagues!”  Reality:  Have you looked at yourself in a mirror lately?  They’re doing you a favor. 

“A Campus Police officer ‘keyed’ the side of my car with a corkscrew from his Swiss Army knife!”  Reality:  No, that would be your graduate assistant again. 

“The IT Department doesn’t like me.  It takes them a month to respond to my urgent Help Desk requests!”  Reality:  It takes them a month to respond to every Help Desk request.  They’re not singling you out. 

“The University’s Core Curriculum Committee is prejudiced against me!”  RealityTheir rejection of your Special Topics course proposal — Blackface on Stage, Screen, and Fraternity Row: A Sentimental Journey  was mandated by the section of the school’s anti-racism policy that governs role-playing by faculty and students in class.  It had nothing to do with you personally. 

“At the All-Faculty Assembly last week, my colleagues appeared uninterested — or even worse, annoyed — when I attempted to discuss the unwarranted parking tickets I’ve been receiving on campus.  Dammit, no one EVER uses that part of the quadrangle lawn next to the Chemistry building!”  Reality:  This perception could be true.  University Life recommends that you pay the tickets. 

Have a healthy cognitive day.