Self-Exposure, Academic-Style


If you receive any entertainment newsletters in your daily e-mail, you have probably seen those articles that ask you which character in a particular film franchise or television series you most resemble.

Education Dive has come up with a weird variation on that sort of article—a quiz that allows you to see which fictional university administrator you most resemble.

Here is the note from the editor responsible for developing this quiz:

In honor of National Bosses Day yesterday, the Education Dive team set out to bring some levity to our morning newsletter with our “which fictional administrator are you” quizzes. (You can take the K-12 version too, just for fun.) 

Most representations of higher ed in pop culture tend to focus on administrators who are there to show ineptitude or comic relief — but finding representations of female leaders proved nearly impossible. I went from an anecdotal observation to seeking to substantiate this finding via research, and indeed found actual studies on the topic have noted, “It seems a college president can be anyone on TV, or rather, any White male.” Indeed, as Representing U: Popular Culture, Media and Higher Education points out, ACE substantiated via a report earlier this year that 30% of U.S. college presidents are women, and 17% are non-white, there is still a lot of ground to be covered in diversifying the college presidency. 

Then yesterday, the #metoo movement took off on social media, highlighting the number of women who have experienced sexual assault or harassment to bring light to the disparities. While on different sides of the gender discrimination spectrum, I don’t think these pressures—from negative characterization to actual harassment and assault—facing women in the workplace are unrelated. 

In spite of these facts, we worked hard to compile a list that is more of an aspirational representation of the Ivory Tower than what currently exists. I would love to hear your feedback, both on the quizzes and on how the issues highlighted by the #metoo movement have impacted your career ascension. Please drop me a line via email and Twitter to share your thoughts. 

As always, thank you for choosing Education Dive to stay up to date with the latest in higher ed news and trends. And if you find yourself in D.C., stop by and say hello! 

Most sincerely,

Autumn A. Arnett


Education Dive: Higher Ed

So, I guess that it is all in good fun and meant to serve a good purpose, even if I find the premise inherently more than a little creepy.

It turns out that, according to the quiz, I most resemble Craig Pelton from Community. I had no idea who is he and don’t believe that I have ever watched a full episode of the television series. (That may very well say more about me than the show.) So, I looked him up.

Here is the Wikipedia profile of the character:

Dean Craig Isadore Pelton (Jim Rash) (recurring seasons 1–2, starring season 3–6) was an educator at Greendale for ten years, after or during which he earned a Bachelor of Education degree at the fictional Appomattox University, and has been Dean for five years. He wants his school to be more like a “real” university, and is often asking favors of the students. He is described as politically correct, made evident when he changed the college mascot from the Greendale Grizzlies to the Greendale Human Beings in “Football, Feminism and You”; Pelton’s politically-incorrect explanation for the change was that “most of these people have been called animals their entire lives.”

Pelton has displayed a number of quirks and eccentricities regarding his sexual orientation. He is described by Vice Dean Laybourne as a “pansexual imp” (“Biology 101”), and when once called a “fruit” by student Leonard (“Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples”), Pelton mentioned offhandedly that the term was “barely the whole truth.” Pelton has also clearly displayed an obsessive crush on Jeff Winger, treating Jeff with favoritism and often inappropriately touching him (particularly on the chest) when he is nearby, even though Jeff does not reciprocate the sentiment. It is implied that Pelton has also used Greendale’s fountain (where students throw coins and make wishes) to make wishes regarding Jeff, and he is shown to have adopted a litter of kittens in one episode, two of which he named “Jeffrey.”

Pelton has also displayed various fetishes, the most prominent being his increasing fascination with men dressed in Dalmatian costumes during the first season, after he sees an internet video-clip featuring a man dressed in such a costume.

He has also taken a habit of dressing in elaborate costume, often when going to visit the study-group. These costumes have included Tina Turner, Julius Caesar and other famous figures, in addition to more abstract costumes, such as one that was half-male and half-female.

Despite his ongoing over-the-top behavior, Pelton has on occasion shown some traces of self-doubt and confusion, once even questioning his life choices after realizing that he had gone “too far” with one of his costumes after realizing he was going to have to wear it during a trip to the bank that day, commenting to himself that he needs to “get [his] life together”.

In the season six episode “Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing,” Dean Pelton is recruited to the schoolboard as a token homosexual, but reveals himself as being “two-sevenths gay” and resumes his job as dean after the charade becomes too much to handle. Thereafter, he is seen more often with the group on their non-Greendale adventures, and in “Basic RV Repair and Palmistry,” his friendship with the group is solidified.

I don’t know what other fictional administrators are included in the quiz, but I have to say that except for the part about have an “increasing fascination with men dressed in Dalmatian costumes,” I don’t really see a great deal of overlap between his personality and mine.

Likewise, except for the fact that we both have the same general build, I also don’t see much physical resemblance:

If you have a couple of minutes to kill, here is the link to the quiz:

I think that a more interesting alternative to this online quiz might be to do this as a social game with colleagues from your institution. Each person indicates which actual administrator at the college or university (s)he thinks that (s)he most (or least) resembles, providing an explanation of the reasoning behind the choice. And then everyone else critiques the choice. This game could be called Self-Exposure, Academic-Style.


2 thoughts on “Self-Exposure, Academic-Style

  1. Pingback: Self-Exposure, Academic-Style | Ohio Higher Ed

  2. Pingback: Self-Exposure, Academic-Style | Stuff for a Slow Day

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