Monday, August 17, 2015

The Social Science of Sucking Up

Hypothesis: There is a curvilinear relationship between sucking up and professor approval.
Literature Review: None. [This is the ultimate joy of blogging--no lit review requirements]
Theory: A little goes a long way, and a long way goes a little.  A little bit of sucking up lets the professor know you exist, learn your name and think you are attentive and studious.  A lot of sucking up makes the professor think that the student is being strategic rather than studious and that too much sucking up can be time-draining and annoyance-increasing.  
Data:  Two plus decades of teaching
Research Ethics Board Clearance: None.  Oops.
Findings:  See figure 1.1*

*  Figure is actually from here.

The vertical axis measures professor approval, the horizontal access is the sucking up effort.

That I am reminded of my old post and energized to write this new one in August is not good.  My fb post with hashtag of ‪#‎syllabuswillbereadybythefirstdayofclass‬ got heaps of support from my academic colleagues, so I think I am on to something here.

Policy recommendation:  Don't nag your professor even if it is to demonstrate studiousness.
Theory implications: More work is required to ascertain the variables that make sucking up more or less effective.  The study here does not take into account timing, frequency, or various sucking up strategies. 

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