BY SHIBA INU
Tom N. Mannion, Senior Director of Student Activities and Programs, has officially been appointed “Thomas Mannion Professor of Culinary Sciences,” according to a California Institute of Technology press release. Mannion is one of twenty-six faculty members given a named professorship during the 2016-17 academic year, and the only one to receive the honor of having a new position named after him. He has been serving as faculty since 1993, and has been praised by President Thomas Rosenbaum for “greatly enhancing undergraduate student life for two decades with his culinary excellence.”
To celebrate his professorship, Mannion has announced the creation of a new, mandatory 12-unit Freshman Lab sequence, CA001abc (“CA” standing for Culinary Arts). By unanimous vote in the Course Review Committee (CRC), CA001abc has been added to the list of Institute Core Requirements starting with the class of 2021. Mannion says that the course was primarily created for rising sophomores, who are “grown adults, yet almost always unable to cook for themselves.” He hopes to further improve the quality of student life, especially at the pivotal moment when most sophomores quit the repetitive food provided by Caltech Dining Services (CDS). “Cooking for yourself is cheaper, healthier, and more stress-relieving than eating take-out or leftovers,” explained Mannion, adding: “We have a lot to work on, with these students.”
Asked about the limited enrollment of his current course, SA 016A, which is currently limited to 8 students per term, Mannion responded that he would enlarge his kitchen fourfold to cover the entirety of his first floor, in addition to adopting four more Murphies to serve as Teaching Assistants.
Mannion stated: “If the mandatory chemistry labs can run with only three sections that have 20 students each, CA 001abc can do better. We will have only one section, capped at 8 students, for maximum intimacy.” In addition, Mannion has plans to create a permanent dining area on his lawn so that non-enrolled students could provide constructive criticism for their peers. Finally, the course will culminate in a take-home exam, in which each student serves Mannion a four-course meal cooked in their dorm kitchens.
Students are enthusiastic about the new offering. At press time, the class had already received top-ratings on the Caltech TQFR site, despite having yet to take place.