Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My own private PWG

As a BUH, I know what I need: I have an SRG (which used to be a PIG) but what I really need more than anyone else is a PWG. Sadly, PWG is one acronym our campus eschews.

As a Budget Unit Head (BUH), I nominally control the English department budget, not that that's anything to get excited about. Our budget barely covers photocopies and printer cartridges, so even if I were inclined to spend it all on a junket to the Bahamas, I wouldn't get any farther than the taxi to the airport.

This summer, though, I have a Summer Research Grant (SRG), which the former administration called a Professional Improvement Grant (PIG), which made it possible for faculty members to utter without irony the phrase "I have a PIG this summer." The SRG pays just enough to cover some research expenses and negate the necessity of summer teaching so that I can focus on research and writing, for which I am grateful.

This morning, though, I realized that what I really need is a Professional Wardrobe Grant (PWG). I had to dress more like a BUH than a bum this morning because I'm on the search committee for an administrative position and we're interviewing a candidate today, but I found in my closet only one (one!) professional outfit that isn't embarrassingly baggy. So today I am wearing on my person my entire fall teaching wardrobe.

What I need is a pile of new clothes, but who can afford to buy a new professional wardrobe at one fell swoop? Clearly, it's time for the college to institute a new program; pedagogy funds already cover new technology and teaching workshops, and as we know from reading student evaluations, nothing has a greater impact on student satisfaction than the professor's appearance. Therefore, the college ought to provide a regular grant to allow faculty members to improve their professional wardrobes: the PWG.

And while we're at it, let's institute a PPG (Professional Pedicure Grant) and a PHSG (Professional Hair-Styling Grant), and let's pay for our faculty members to get personal trainers (PPTG), liposuction (PLG), or facelifts (PFG).

I'm dreaming, of course.

The days of the PIG are gone and the days of the PWG have not yet arrived, but fortunately, there is hope. The other day I received in the mail a sizeable check for my share of fees paid by others to reprint an article I wrote several years ago, and this seems like such a bizarre way to make money that I've decided to dedicate the entire amount to rehabilitating my professional wardrobe. Consider it my own private PWG program--and best of all, I didn't even have to fill out a grant application.

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