EAGER STUDENT: I came to your office hours because I wanted to ask about Intro to Psych.
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: Ask away.
EAGER STUDENT: So it seems like intro to psych is primarily about memorizing keywords. My friends in higher-level psych classes have told me that terms are usually defined before they are used in the lectures, and they can look up the ones they don’t understand.
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: Seems reasonable.
EAGER STUDENT: So I was wondering if I could get the prerequisite waived? I think I would be able to do well in other classes, like Psychology of Religion, without Intro to Psych.
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: No way.
EAGER STUDENT: Why not?
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: PsychRel is a 200-level class. You can’t expect to be ready for a 200-level class without taking any 100-level classes.
EAGER STUDENT: Ok, well, what about another 100-level class? Psychology of Creativity? People who aren’t in the major can take that class without a prerequisite!
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: Well, that’s because they’re not in the major.
EAGER STUDENT: How does that make sense? Wouldn’t people in the major tend to have more background knowledge anyway?
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: If you’re in the major, you have to take Intro to Psych anyway. And people are more likely to do a minor if they can get right to the classes they’re interested in.
EAGER STUDENT: Aren’t people in the major more likely to stay if they don’t have to take filler classes?
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: Ask the administrators, not me. It’s not my call to make.
EAGER STUDENT: But you’re the one who lets people skip prereqs!
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: I’m allowed to. But the administrators don’t like it – the College of Psychology gets paid per class.
EAGER STUDENT: The university is really going to prevent me from learning more because it might give money to some college other than the College of Psychology?
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: Yes.
EAGER STUDENT: How did that happen?
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: The administrator who proposed the policy got promoted, manages a large team, and now works full-time increasing the number of Psych classes that people take..
EAGER STUDENT: That’s insane.
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: No, it’s Machiavellian.
EAGER STUDENT: What? What does that mean?
DISILLUSIONED PROFESSOR: Take Intro to Psych, and you’ll find out.