“His kingdom isn’t large, but still
He rules it with a royal will
And, as his colleagues sometimes moan,
Needs but a scepter and a throne.
Part teacher only, he’s between
A full professor and a dean.
More like a congressman, by rights,
He represents his field and fights
For added space and extra books,
More office space and shelves and hooks.
He counts his majors, keenly knowing
He has to make a stronger showing
Or (how his loyal heart is torn)
His budget will be sadly shorn.
Above his colleagues quite a distance,
He has a phone and two assistants
And teaches what he wants and when
And takes a day off now and then.
The students all are scared to death,
The new instructor holds his breath,
The others envy, hate, admire,
And try to guess when he’ll retire.”
Let me just note that it’s interesting that the three themes of this poem are: the structure of departmental power (somewhere between monarchy and legislative bargaining); the budget and material supplies (down to the shelves and hooks); and the chair’s affective relations with colleagues and students (envy, fear, suspense, admiration…).