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August 9, 2010 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

Academic Idol: Round Four

This week’s task:

Write an acrostic poem using your name that explains why students should study your subject

Week four. The competition is heating up. Only two votes separated the bottom two. The weakest link this time around: Justin Bachoff, everyone’s favourite lecturer of Modern Mythology. Clearly not quite favourite enough. Goodbye. Admittedly we felt so sorry for him in the Salient-VBC office we made a Facebook group. Clearly social media doesn’t work for everyone. You’ll see on the Salient Facebook page (yes, we have one, LIKE us!), we have links to all the fan pages/groups/events that have been set up for Academic Idol. David O’Donnell is still out in front, with Pondy and Marc Wilson not far behind. Chris Eichbaum and Matthew Trundle have clawed their way out of the bottom of the pack. If you want to see Hilary survive another week, now’s the time to launch a campaign. Seriously. She’s the last/only girl standing!

To vote, text the name of your favourite lecturer to 027 CUSTARD or email

P.S. We can tell if you’re voting multiple times from the same cellphone. Especially if you vote three times in a row in the space of a minute. Seriously, if you’re going to cheat, at least be smart about it. Just sayin’.

Who will it be, Victoria University?

Marc Wilson, Psychology

Thanks Salient, for ruining my life. I had to look up “acrostic” and my family laughed at me. Not fair to us science-types and I can’t even make fun of Matthew Trundle in a poem! All I had till five minutes ago was:


So here goes—who should study psychology and why?

Make a psychology-pimping poem? You must be joking
All psyc involves is rats, brains and poking [them]
Reinforcement, replication and repression
Clinical compulsions and obsession
Wernicke’s area, three-part lists and replication
Id, illusions, and guided imagery
Law of effect, and Long term memory,
Social norms, personality, and mountains of data
Olfactory bulbs, hippocampuseses, and cerebral matter
Now that’s over I’m just glad I don’t have a Z in my name….
Please wait till I’m out of the room before you laugh. Pondy probably wrote a program to do this for him.

Peter Andreae, aka Pondy, Computer science

Programming: Problem solving, Precision, and Persistence to
Orchestrate the Operation and machinations of a computer to create
New algorithms, New applications, New systems that
Deliver the technological magic that other people Demand and Depend on
Yet do not understand

[Take COMP 102, 103 and 261, then take over Google!]

David O’Donnell, Theatre

Dionysus was a Godot-like charmer,
And his Thespian fans created festivals of drama –
Video has nothing on the Ancient Greeks,
Inspiring thousands of years of live theatre geeks.
Drama students learn how to sculpt time and space,
On a studio stage transforming to a magical place,
Doing interactive performance with multi-media,
Or getting physical with the art of Commedia.
Noh and Kabuki will seem fantastical,
Naturalism’s easier if you get all Stanislavskial –
Enter into the minds of Beckett and Shakespeare,
Learn how to play Hamlet, Lear and Medea,
Let inhibitions go – there are no fakes here!

Chris Eichbaum, School of Government

Concerned to make a difference, you say
Harnessing craft and critique,
Ready to challenge assumptions at play
Inclined to embolden the meek,
Sounds like Public Policy to me.
The state and civil society are core
Opportunities abound to speak truth to power,
Positive and normative domains are explored
Hundreds of ideas contend and flower,
Enhancing the back office is where the real challenge lies
Remember—as ever—the Dude abides

Dean Knight, Law

Daring adventures in the common law
Examining judgments for their every flaw
Abstract, though, the law is not
Ne’er the people should be forgot
King, Queen, and Guv’nor lead our realm
Nay, their ministers at the helm
In our names, they serve and reign
Good governance is our refrain
Hapu, family, plumber, and more
Tis people at the heart of law

Matthew Trundle, Classics

A Classical Odyssey

Muse, sing of the man of many turnings, many troubles
Across the world having sacked the sacred city
Troy. He learned the thoughts of men and knew many cities
To reclaim his life, he suffered much on the sea
Hoping for the homecoming of his companions.
Even so he did not rescue his companions
Who perished through their own recklessness.(1)

They, who should have studied Classics
Reading ancient texts of wisdom
Under great minds of deep intellect
Nurtured in the teaching of millennia
Disciplined in Latin and Greek
Learned of history and archaeology
Education in the past would have saved their lives.

(1) My translation of Homer’s Odyssey 1.1-7.

Hilary Pearse, Political Science

Having a degree
In Political Science inevitably
Leads elderly relatives to
Ask if you want to be a politician.
Rather than explain that’s not really how it works,
You could just say yes and tell them that many
Politicians have political science degrees. Some
Even have more than one and taught Politics before
Ascending to great heights, including Helen Clark, Condoleeza
Rice and Olof Palme, Prime Minister of
Sweden, although he was assassinated so is probably not the best


About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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