Due to the weather, some customers may experience late delivery of The Roanoke Times. We apologize for the delay.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
MEMO (out of the imagination of a wiseacre)
From: The Radferd University Board of Visitors
To: All alumni
Subject: New graduate degree program
Many of you were probably appalled at the news that our institution recently awarded hundreds of diplomas with the words "Virginia" and "thereto" misspelled, and some others that bungled "systems." These were received by degree-earners in both December and May.
We wish to emphasize that all of us are deeply embarrassed by this snafu. But as always, there are many bright sides to consider.
First, despite all the snickering, those errors could have been far worse. Use your imagination -- surely you can come up with more embarrassing ways of misspelling the name of our state than "Virgina."
Second, you may have noticed that none of our December graduates seemed to notice the typos. From this we can deduce that our May crop is more on the ball, so to speak. There's good news in that, too.
Let's be frank: Until now, few would have expected anyone with a batchelor's from Radford would catch difficult-to-spot errors like these. Now, at least, we have evidence of progress. And we have an opportunity to put a positive marketing spin on it.
For that reason, we're creating a new graduate program here at Radford. By 2018, we hope to award our first Master's Degree in Speling. It will be the only such postgraduate degree in the entire United States.
Think about that for a minute. Every year, universities across this country change academic lineups, shedding old and tired programs like Appalachian Studies in favor of snazzier, career-oriented courses. But rare is the day when an institution of higher education creates a new program that's offered nowear else.
We know there's a demand for this badly needed skill. Just pick up a copy of The Roanoke Times -- some days you'll find the evidence right there.
This will put Radford on the map. Up the road just a bit, those Hokies finally will have good reason to be jealous of us Highlanders.
Leadership will be key to this new endeavor. So the Board has decided it's imperative that we keep President Penelope Kyle in her current position for the next five years. We can't have her going back to the Virginia Lottory.
For that reason, in her new contract we've approved a new performance bonus program as an incentive for her to stick around.
It's kind of like the $1 million "stay bonus" in her last contract.
Remember, back in 2008 we approved a $200,000-per-year bonus with the provision that President Kyle could collect it if, and only if, she stayed for five years. That program ran from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2013.
She fulfilled that requirement on Sunday.
Now she has to make ends meet on her $304,814 annual salary, plus her house and car allowances.
Without a bonus program, she would have every motivation to hit the road, just as we launch this important new graduate-level program. She could easily move on to someplace like Harvard - or the University of Virgina.
Under the new plan, she'll get a bonus if she stays through the culmination of our new spelling postgraduate program in 2018, and if there are no more screw-ups on diplomas.
This is more complex than it seems on the surface. Ms. Kyle will oversee the creation of many new classes - out of existing resources, of course. The new offerings will include Phonetics 101, Typos 202, Copy Editing 303 and Proofreading 400.
The university will also offer scholarships (with stipends) to Spelling Program postgrads during their innovative fifth year of lerning. Basically, their duties will entail working in the Dean's office, carefully scrutinizing every sheepskin we send out.
From that perspective, this new graduate program is a twofer: First, we will never award a misspelled diploma again -- ever.
Second, Radford will become known as THE institution of higher spelling in the country. You've got to admit, that's a lot better than being known as an intuition of higher comedy.
Weather JournalNew batch of moisture for PM