Monday, August 29, 2011

Interdepartmental conflict blowup surprise

I advise a lot of pre-health science majors. Today was advising, and I was sitting with a pre-med freshman who wanted to double major in music. We've had people do this successfully but there are a lot of conflicts in the schedule. This year, our foundational first year class for our majors and their foundational first year class for music majors were scheduled at the same time. By foundational I mean a pre-req for nearly everything else. As in, if you don't take it this semester, you won't take your MCATs in time to matriculate into med school after you graduate.

I tried to convince Stu that they can do the double major if they decide to do a "gap year", take a year in between graduation and med school. Stu looked at me like a deer in headlights. Then I thought, I'll just go over to Music's advising table with Stu and try to work this out.


Apparently I found a music faculty who must have a huge beef with our department, completely unbeknownst to me. I asked basics about which of the music courses could be put off and what her options were as far as delaying which courses, etc. Next thing I know, the music faculty lets it rip.

"Stu can't put that course off, its absolutely required for all other music courses!" And then 3 minutes about you couldn't possibly learn to read without learning the alphabet first. I joked and said "Too bad Studette isn't here, she did this successfully", still in a friendly tone, as I was not yet upset. "Studette did it because she never showed up to class. She had to learn everything on her own. You wouldn't just unlock a laboratory and tell Studette to go in there and do it by herself!" And more about specifics of what she will learn in what class an how that class depends on the class I'm trying to get Stu to delay. All in the tone of "How dare you propose that she doesn't do this properly."

OK, now I'm upset, not only because she is ranting, but because she is doing so in front of this poor freshman, and moreover referring to Stu in the third person as if they aren't even there.

I got quietly more and more upset because there was no discussing with this faculty member, and mostly because this was entirely inappropriate. I warmly looked the student in the eye and said, I'll be right back, and got the hell out of there for a few minutes, letting Stu talk to her alone (yup, I'm a conflict avoider). I went back to my advising table to take on a different student giving myself a two minute break. I thought, I'll settle down for a bit, and go back and check on Stu.

Stu 2 sits down in front of me and says "Hi. I want to double major in pre-med and music."
*THUNK* I drop my forehead directly on the table.

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