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Engineering Professor is an advice animal style image macro series featuring a photo of a professor standing in front of a white board covered in notes. The captions portray the professor as an academically intelligent but technologically impaired instructor with high expectations for his students.
The first Engineering Professor image macro was created on Memegenerator and subsequently posted to Reddit on March 28th, 2011 with the caption “Says class won’t involve much math / Entirely math.” The original photo appeared alongside a January 2010 profile article about Dr. Richard Gitlin at the University of South Florida, an electrical engineering professor and cofounder of digital subscriber line (DSL) technologies.
The series began as a commentary on college-level engineering classes, but it quickly grew to encompass criticisms of professors who are considered to be too rigorous, self-contradictory or technologically incapable, similar to the stereotypes explored through other advice animals like High Expectations Asian Father, Unhelpful High School Teacher and Technologically Impaired Duck.
On March 31st, 2011, a series of Engineering Professor images were shared on the Body Building Forums. Six days later, the single topic blog Fuck Yeah Engineering Professor was created, using a new template featuring a blue and white color wheel style background. On April 12th, Geekosystem featured a series of 25 instances of the series. These instances were shared on the University of Toronto’s Computer Science community message board later that month. In July, 39 instances from the series were featured on humor blog the Bigster. As of May 2012, the Quickmeme page has more than 6100 submissions, many of which are shared on Reddit and Tumblr.
Though the term “engineering professor” is quite general, it had a large spike in April 2011, aligning with the onset of search volume for the term “engineering professor meme.”
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