Lemon doughnut

I bit into a lemon doughnut the other day. If you’ve never done that, let me explain what it’s like.doritos-cool-ranch

It’s like finding a hundred dollar bill on the ground, only to go to a convenient store to buy Doritos and have the manager tell you the bill is counterfeit. It’s also like buying a bag of Doritos, only to discover the bag is completely empty (not just half empty like it normally would be).

It’s like working with NVivo.

NVivo is a computer software that, at its basic level, categorizes your notes and finds common themes in them. We at the IUP SVP have begun to use it to help us organize the notes we’ve taken during our group discussions.

But it’s not as easy as we thought. It’s not a wizard with magical categorizing powers. On the surface, it’s a doughnut, but it’s filled with lemon-flavored gelatin.

Without getting into specifics, we’re finding that it requires much more manual work than we first thought. Not as pleasant as we judged it to be. I guess I’m a product of my generation — I assume computers can do everything for me. And that’s dangerous. I need to work smarter, not harder, and not let computers take over my job.

And avoid lemon doughnuts.

–Caleb Murphy



In the group discussions we host, many people say that IUP is “diverse” and that IUP’s “diversity” makes us unique.

Well, let’s see about that…

Below is the diversity — the “ethnic breakdown” — of IUP…

And here is the gender breakdown…

What do you think? Is IUP diverse? Is that what makes us unique?

You can comment below, or sign up for a group interview to tell us what you think.

–Caleb Murphy

Let’s make it hotter in here

faculty thermostatWe have a thermostat hanging in the IUP SVP Command Center. Not for temperature — for faculty.

Let me explain. Faculty are crucial to IUP. We want their input. We invite everybody, especially IUP faculty, to tell us what they think. All for the future of IUP.

So far, 25 IUP faculty members have given us their support in the form of opinions. We’re shooting for 258, a statistically relevant fraction of all IUP faculty.

Why the thermostat? To measure the number of faculty.

Help us heat up the Command Center. Let faculty know we want to hear from them. If you are faculty, tell us what you think and help form the new vision for our university.

–Caleb Murphy

Sleep Softly, And Carry A Big Pen

As I sat in a meeting recently, I appreciated how comfortable my office chair was. But I think the chair makers shouldn’t make chairs so soft if people are supposed to be alert. I think I want to sue.

Because, as you may see coming, I began to drift. I lost from my sight the top half of the presenter’s body as my lids began to slip. The hours of sleep I ignored last night crept behind me, nudged me and said, “You forgot about us. We’re coming right now.”

I fought this by sitting forward and pulling out my pen. I wasn’t actually writing anything, but it kept me awake and made me look attentive.

That’s a trick I invented — always be holding a pen. Even if it doesn’t have ink. When you’re in a meeting, when you’re talking to someone important, even when you’re eating. It makes you look busy and professional. Try it.

As far as I know, the presenter looked at me, and the pen I was sporting, and thought I was the stand-out intern. When really I was the zone-out intern.

Feel free to contact me for more misleading tactics to make yourself look better.

–Caleb Murphy

Wait…I’m confused

Caleb Murphy

Caleb Murphy

He kept saying, “I’m confused.” He said it probably four times.

Well, sir, that’s understandable. I’m confusing you.

I’m talking about a cold call I just made. (We’ve been calling people in the area to set up group discussions).

First, I mispronounced his name, calling him what sounded similar to a famous comedian’s name. Second, I went off my script, which we use to help us avoid being confusing. That’s a double-whammy. Strike two. Two birds with one phone call. What other cliches can I use?

Don’t worry, it all worked out well. But now I know what not to do when calling for the S.V.P. — don’t leave the script, and, if I’m not sure about their name, call every person “sir” or “ma’am,” or even “pal” or “lady.” (Just kidding. I’m going to double-check names).

It’s one of those, you know, learning-curve things.