Things that professors tape to their doors

I found this note on a prof's door. I think it's hilarious.
I found this note on a prof's door. I think it's hilarious.

While I was a student at UWO, one of my favourite things to do while waiting for an appointment or a class to start would be wandering around Talbot College, where the philosophy department used to be, and looking at all the things that professors would tape to their doors for passers-by to see.

Profs do this at McGill as well. While I was waiting for my advising appointment on the 1st of September, I walked around the 9th floor a bit to see what profs had taped to their doors. There were a few of the usual jokes that you see periodically circulated by email, but this one that I photographed stood out to be, by far, the best.

Click on the photograph attached to this post. It is worth the time to read it. This is an account of a philosophy conference, as given by a child in elementary school.

I think my favourite part is “They couldn’t make jokes, many had beards.” But then again, the bitter conclusion, “I’ll never go to a philosophy conference again,” is pretty good too.

The Biomedical Ethics Unit at McGill

This is the building for the Biomedical Ethics Unit at McGill
This is the building for the Biomedical Ethics Unit at McGill

Here is the building for the Biomedical Ethics Unit. It is an extremely impressive structure. Just look at it! On the first floor, there are seminar rooms, and a fancy-looking foyer, and there are offices all through the other floors.

After my meeting with the philosophy department, it was recommended to me that I speak with the Biomedical Ethics Unit, to discuss my course choices, and to see what courses they could offer me for the autumn term.

When I arrived, I was greeted by the unit’s administrative coordinator, asking if I was their long-lost bioethicist.

“I might be …” I answered, not entirely sure. Apparently they were wondering when I was going to drop by or contact them. I had been doing most of my communication with the Department of Philosophy, but my programme is very much inter-disciplinary, and so I had neglected to communicate much with the Bioethics side.

We figured everything out and chose the remaining course that I will take this term, and I wandered off and took some pictures of the interior of the building, which is beautiful.

This is the interior of the Biomedical Ethics Unit Building
This is the interior of the Biomedical Ethics Unit Building

Here is a photograph of the sitting area that you’ll see when you first enter the building. Doesn’t it just look warm and inviting? Of course it does.

When I was talking to the director of the Bioethics programme, I finally got to ask about how big my class is. Ready for this? It turns out that there’s four new students in Bioethics this year. Four. Usually it’s a two-year degree, but of course there’s always a few hangers-on, and so there’s about 16 people in the programme, in total.

That’s a small class!

I remember back at Western, in second year, my professor proudly announced that at the time, my Orgo class was the single largest chemistry course ever taught at the undergraduate level, at 1600 students.

Mind you, I’m sure that there will be more than four people in my classes, but still: Four.

Here is a photograph of the door to the Unit, which is also beautiful. I’m going to enjoy studying here. :)

This is the front door to the Biomedical Ethics Unit Building
This is the front door to the Biomedical Ethics Unit Building

The Leacock Building

Here is the Leacock Building. The Department of Philosophy is on the 9th floor.
Here is the Leacock Building. The Department of Philosophy is on the 9th floor.

The Leacock Building is not very beautiful to look at, admittedly, but that is where I had my advising appointment with three faculty members in the philosophy department, which is on the 9th floor. Finally, I got some concrete answers with regard to what my courses would be, how to choose them and what to expect for the next two years.

I was given a sheet at this meeting that outlined the requirements for graduation. It was the first time I had ever seen it. When I brought it to the Bioethics Unit office, it was the first time they had seen it, too.

There, I met the prof for whom I will be a TA this year. I also met another Bioethics student, who will be the other TA. Also, the view of the city from the 9th floor was pretty good, but I was busy having a meeting, so I didn’t take any photographs. I’ll try to do that later.

Skill-testing question: In what short work of Stephen Leacock’s is the punch line, “It was a toothpick” ? If you can answer, I will give you 3 points, plus an extra 4 points because it is mine and my mother’s birthday today, and because it’s a pretty hard question, too. Unless you’ve read much Leacock, in which case you’ll probably love that short story as much as I do, and possibly have it memorised.

Thomson house

This is Thomson House, the grad students' building
This is Thomson House, the grad students' building

As a graduate student at McGill, I have access to Thomson House, a building set aside for the use of grad students. You can go there and get relatively cheap meals. Also there is a pub, a ballroom and offices for the Graduate Students society at McGill. It’s pretty nifty. I went there for lunch with a professor yesterday, to talk about details regarding my TA-ship.

I’m really looking forward to being TA this year. The prof has given me a lot of freedom in the way that I run my “conferences,” which is what they call “tutorials” here at McGill. It looks like I’ll have two sections and I won’t be required to go to the class, except for the days on which the essays are assigned.

The prof said that he has had uniformly good experiences with bioethics students as TA’s in the past, which is good – it just means that I have to live up to his expectations, now! :|

Downtown church

A church in downtown Montréal where you can see its steeple reflected in a nearby glass skyscraper
A church in downtown Montréal where you can see its steeple reflected in a nearby glass skyscraper

Here’s a cool-looking church in downtown Montréal. I like the way that the steeple reflects in the glass building behind it. The first time I walked past, there was an airplane flying such that I could see it reflected as well, but I was too slow on the trigger to catch it.