Tennessee University music professor kept a cash prize hidden on campus in order to test his students’ comprehension of class material. However, the $50 bill that he placed in a locker at the end the semester was still there.  

Kenyon Wilson, the associate head of performing arts at Tennessee at Chattanooga, decided to hide $50 in a random music locker and bury the combination for the locker in the middle of his syllabus. 

It said: “Thus” (free to first claimant; locker one hundred forty seven; combination fifteen to twenty-five to thirty-five); students might not be eligible to take up classes or …’ 

Even going so far as setting the combination lock to a specific number in order to check if it was moved.  

Wilson’s 70-student class left the $50 bill, and the accompanying note at the conclusion of the semester. 

‘Congrats! Thank you for leaving your date and name so that I can identify who it was,’ the note unread. 

A professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga hid a $50 cash prize on campus to test if any of his 70 students would read the class syllabus throughly

A professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga hid a $50 cash prize on campus to test if any of his 70 students would read the class syllabus throughly

When Kenyon Wilson, the associate head of performing arts at the college, returned to the locked at the end of the semester the locker and cash prize were untouched

Kenyon Wilson, associate head of performing art at the college returned to lock after the semester ended. Both the cash prize and locker remained untouched. 

Wilson posted the results on Facebook along with a photo of the prize unclaimed. 

“My year-long experiment is over. At the start of the term, I placed $50 in one of our lockers and included the locker number & combination in my syllabus for a class with over 70 enrolled. He posted, “Today I found the unclaimed treasure.” 

Question: “What are some academic shenanigans I should try next?”  

Wilson did not check his locker until the end of final exams. 

“I had big hopes. I would have been just as pleased if one or more of my students came across it in the first week. Wilson stated this to CNN.

He said that his students were all ‘good sport’ regarding the prank.  

“I am aware of the reading abilities of my students and don’t expect them all to memorize every word. However, if they do, then I would like to give them a reward.” Wilson agreed.

Haley Decker wasn’t able to take Wilson’s cash prize. 

“I thought it was funny,” Decker said. CNN interviewed Decker. CNN’s Decker said, “This course is usually the same every semester. Students know what they can expect. They don’t spend the time reading the syllabus as we should.” 

Wilson anticipated that none of his students would read the syllabus word for word but wanted to reward anyone that did

Wilson knew that not all his students would be able to read the syllabus exactly, but he wanted to reward those who did. 

Wilson shared his prank on Facebook where it went viral with fellow teachers sharing similar tricks they've pulled and others sharing suggestions for future semesters

Wilson shared the prank via Facebook. It went viral, with other teachers sharing their tricks and others offering suggestions for next semesters. 

Decker wrote a joke to all her classmates. 

Decker stated that Dr. Wilson should have tested this experiment. It made music students see that even though the syllabus is repetitive, it’s important to read every word. 

Wilson’s post about sharing his prank became viral via social media. The original Facebook post had 1,800 likes and one tweet with over 10,000 followers. 

Wilson’s prank was amusing for most, and many of them agreed that they didn’t read the syllabus at school. Wilson was encouraged by others to do the same trick again. 

“Just do it again, it’s amazing!” Caroline Yezer agreed. 

‘Add to it each year until someone takes the prize,’ Brent Barnett  suggested. 

Craig L. Millard said, “I laughed at it, but it also hurt some,”  

Jason Gonella suggests that page 3 be included in the syllabus. This will allow you to request an email with a photograph of a dinosaur to earn a free letter A. 

Wilson's music students at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga were 'good sports'

Wilson’s University of Tennessee at Chattanooga music students were “good sports”

On social media, others shared jokes that they had played on students and learned from professors.  

“I did it once and, like the teacher who posted the first post, received no reply. NOBODY READS THE SYLLABUS. Valerie J. Andrews said. 

Neal Hunt recalls, “I have a friend of professor who places ’email her a pictureof a monkey’ in her syllabus.” 

Pamela Johnston explained that “I have to draw a picture (of a camel) on the first question” of my syllabus.  

Wilson was delighted with the response from students and his online supporters.

He said, “Perhaps spring 2022 is the best-read syllabi of all time.”