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Queen's University

Whimsey - Good News Memo to Psyc Faculty

Good News!

The Office of University Affairs announced today that a major upgrade in Queen's computing facilities is imminent. This upgrade will unify many now separate computer services, making them much more efficient. The separate services include various personnel functions, Advancement, corporate relations, and anti-spy ware programs. In addition, the new software will enhance Queen's spirit and promote loyalty to the university.

At the heart of the new system is an enhanced home page/screen saver that will be installed by ITS on all university computers. Displayed on the home page/screen saver will be important announcements from the Principal and various messages designed to motivate faculty and staff--such as "Go, diversity, go!", "Up with world engagement!" and "Prepare more citizens for a global society!" In addition, smaller, somewhat subliminal messages (termed MacMessages) provided by our corporate partners, will be displayed. A major advantage of these messages is that they can be varied throughout the day--for example, around lunch, the MacMessage "I really feel like some golden fries" could be flashed repeatedly in the corner of the computer screen. Research conducted by Queen's School of Business indicates that these messages need not interfere with worker productivity (in this example, the message would not appear until shortly before lunch). In terms of spyware, the computer program will automatically notify the RCMP should one type certain key phrases on the keyboard. Phrases such as "Let's blow up the library" will be routed directly to the police together with GPS coordinates and the personnel file of the person associated with the computer.

The system will also improve faculty personnel functions such as merit review, tenure applications, and promotion applications. The University Senate, in consultation with QUFA and the Committee of Departments, has developed discipline- or department specific phrases that will automatically be tabulated for each computer. For example, in Psychology, the number of times that a faculty member types such phrases as "three-way interaction", "fatally confounded", or "dopamine receptor" will be cumulated. An equation relates the number of these phrases to the number of times they are expected to be used by professors of varying rank. In order to translate the raw number of phrases into a "promotion value" the number of Spider Solitaire games played on the computer is subtracted from the number of target phrases.

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