Work In Progress: “The Last Semester”

Dr.  Paul Pzbiackiy

President and Chairman of the Board

Hawthorne University


Dear Dr. Pzbiackiy,

Greetings from academia here at Hawthorne University. I trust you’ll interpret this letter as a hope for better education at our esteemed University, and not a basis for my termination, as my wife has described it.

Perhaps you can sandwich in my little story in between your chats with donors and other important people. It starts with a test I was giving my students, room 121, O’Leary Hall last Friday. Five minutes into my 100 point exam, there was a noise in the hallway akin to a dismantling of a building. My students were distracted from their educated guessing, and I believed I should investigate. There was no one in the hallway, so I concluded that workmen were rigging the basement with dynamite, called for by some faulty work order.

Indeed, I found two workman, on step ladders, armed with pneumatic devices, creating dust and uproar in the room below my classroom. They stopped when I approached, and shut off their tools. I told them I was giving a test in the classroom above, and could they pause for about 45 minutes until we were finished.

My fellow adjuncts accuse me of obsessing with details in the large scope of higher education. Therefore, they didn’t express concern, as I did, with the three long seconds of silence delivered by the workmen in response to my request.

Perhaps, I could have waited longer before stating that I was judging the effectiveness of my teaching here at Hawthorne, and I said “it’s what we do here.” They responded that they fix the furnaces here and said “it’s what we do here.” I sensed conflict.

I went to an office on the second floor and confronted what appeared to be a secretary, doing what she did here. I asked who could stop the noise of destruction in the basement. Her belly laugh implied no one could. Then she said that no one could.

“You’re the fifth one to complain,” she said.

Dr. P…., I wouldn’t bring this little complaint to you, even with my obsession for details, but I ask you, can three seconds of silence in response to a request to act in favor of students over machines, indicate that these two maintenance men had missed the seminar on our university’s Mission and Purpose?

I hope the answer is no more complex than that.

Dane Zeller

Adjunct Instructor

Hawthorne School of Business

Hawthorne University (Go Hawks!)

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