Rolling higher education into the shitbin thread

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Descended from Free Speech and Creepy Liberalism

Distinct from Help, I'm trapped in an ivory tower! Or "what the fuck am i getting myself into with this academia stuff" because about institutional collapse more generally not so much the lived experience of being inside collapsing institutions

Or to quote amateurist, "this seems too broad..."

El Tomboto, Sunday, 29 May 2016 18:45 (four years ago) link

as a progressive empathetic person, I know I should think these adjuncts etc. are being exploited, but as someone who has spent the last 20 years doing jobs that the "academic class" wouldn't deign to stoop to, I feel like they have a sense of entitlement based on a glowing past, perhaps when they were students, and aren't really looking at how shitty other people have it economically.

sarahell, Sunday, 29 May 2016 19:18 (four years ago) link

one thing i've been thinking about is that this (the mismatch between phd's generated/jobs available) is generally presented as a humanities problem (and in english / philosophy / history in particular -- or that's what i know most about at least)

otoh i know plenty of people that can attest that this is a problem for "pure" mathematics as well, and i've seen some really amazing people doing work that is pretty clearly important and worthwhile bounce out of academia or to the adjunct grind, and not just in the states.

i do suspect that the "applied" end of STEM certainly is in more of a growth period, and e.g. if you want to make it onto tenure track in computer science that seems not an impossible dream still, but that's really an outlier in terms of growth.

i'd be curious to see a good breakdown between fields/departments that actually takes account of the pure/applied split.

germane geir hongro (s.clover), Sunday, 29 May 2016 20:03 (four years ago) link

as a progressive empathetic person, I know I should think these adjuncts etc. are being exploited, but as someone who has spent the last 20 years doing jobs that the "academic class" wouldn't deign to stoop to, I feel like they have a sense of entitlement based on a glowing past, perhaps when they were students, and aren't really looking at how shitty other people have it economically.

What sorts of jobs? What is this perception of the 'academic class' based on? When I was a sessional, I did plenty of other jobs as well, as did many of my colleagues. I had actually started growing reasonably comfortable with the gig economy. Still, what would you consider fair and appropriate compensation/conditions?

Hi! I'm twice-coloured! (Sund4r), Sunday, 29 May 2016 20:52 (four years ago) link

otoh i know plenty of people that can attest that this is a problem for "pure" mathematics as well, and i've seen some really amazing people doing work that is pretty clearly important and worthwhile bounce out of academia or to the adjunct grind, and not just in the states.

yes you can find articles on the postdoc crisis as well. an old girlfriend of mine is now a research biologist working at a major u and it's apparently impossible to get ahead / stable in the face of all the performance-metric bullshit, funding dances, professional hierarchies

j., Sunday, 29 May 2016 21:51 (four years ago) link

In Florida adjuncts can now be up to 70% of a school's teaching staff. There is no and can be no meaningful oversight of the quality of a liberal arts education in the post-MBAification of higher ed, and accreditation bodies are in practice virtually indifferent to the idea of quality academics and instruction anyway. Some of the issues relating to the quality of instruction aren't even new. Many states have long allowed instructors to teach anywhere from 15 to 23 credit hours per semester, and this workload has historically been approved by staff because picking up extra hours meant being able to eat or buy their kids clothes.

My old school's most recent academic growth plan included changing the school's name for the third time in 10 years, building a basketball stadium when the school had no league to play in, renting out for a season a pro baseball field several miles away, and chartering greyhound buses for the purpose of taking students to said baseball field as spectators. Meanwhile its library has shrunk in every five year period since I left, and the school's new president, coauthor of the the academic growth plan, is said to be even worse than its previous president, who didn't understand, for his entire interminable tenure up to the moment of his deferred retirement, when he was practically on death's bed, that his quixotic goals for the school flew in the face of what was statutorily allowable in the state of Florida.

The other school in the region was built on graft and straight up illegality. They needed surveys and tests and permits to build over wetlands and the school's reaction was fuck you, fine us. Three out of five members of the board who voted on the location the board ultimately chose worked for the company that owned the site and the land around site.

80% of the people getting a liberal arts education deserve free or cheap occupational/vocational training. The US workforce is heavily over-credentialed.

If I were king, I would socialize 80% of the private schools.

bamcquern, Sunday, 29 May 2016 22:20 (four years ago) link

accreditation bodies are in practice virtually indifferent to the idea of quality academics

SACSCOC is responsible for accrediting more degree awarding institutions than all the universities in the UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain and Australia combined, I believe. idk how they are meant to be able to do it properly.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Sunday, 29 May 2016 23:53 (four years ago) link

What is this perception of the 'academic class' based on?

the hundred or so people i know IRL who are university faculty (most adjunct) and what they've mentioned in person or in facebook posts on the subject. Almost all are arts and humanities ppl.

sarahell, Monday, 30 May 2016 01:13 (four years ago) link

So the majority of them are MFA's or MM's (or whatever the official U.S. Music Master's degree is called now) who pursued jobs in higher education partially in order to advance their careers as composers, artists, writers, etc.

sarahell, Monday, 30 May 2016 01:17 (four years ago) link

one thing i've been thinking about is that this (the mismatch between phd's generated/jobs available) is generally presented as a humanities problem (and in english / philosophy / history in particular -- or that's what i know most about at least)

otoh i know plenty of people that can attest that this is a problem for "pure" mathematics as well, and i've seen some really amazing people doing work that is pretty clearly important and worthwhile bounce out of academia or to the adjunct grind, and not just in the states.

That's true of "some really amazing people," but only some -- in general it would be absurd to the point of offensiveness for Ph.D. students in pure math to compare their situation to that of their fellow students in English. The job situation in math is leagues better and has been for at least twenty years. That might change if universities decide calculus should be taught by machine, or not taught at all, but that hasn't happened yet.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 30 May 2016 01:47 (four years ago) link

english is another mainstay of service-curriculum needs in most institutions, so…?

j., Monday, 30 May 2016 02:14 (four years ago) link

It seems inevitable that the admin & sports creep pendulum has to swing back the other way at some point. Or else it's not a pendulum and in that case I don't see how in the world higher education survives in any state resembling my college experience from the late nineties, even.

El Tomboto, Monday, 30 May 2016 13:38 (four years ago) link

full disclosure i have not yet read this but ppl i trust are sharing it approvingly on fb:
https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/elephant-seminar-room-phd-saved/

Mordy, Monday, 30 May 2016 15:30 (four years ago) link

That's true of "some really amazing people," but only some -- in general it would be absurd to the point of offensiveness for Ph.D. students in pure math to compare their situation to that of their fellow students in English. The job situation in math is leagues better and has been for at least twenty years. That might change if universities decide calculus should be taught by machine, or not taught at all, but that hasn't happened yet.

― Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, May 29, 2016 9:47 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i think j's point pertains here. there are slots to do undergrad adjuncting in remedial math, but seems to be precious little else. not sure how this is functionally different from introductory english courses. degreewise as a whole, the difference being i think that a math degree better suits you (in terms of how you will be judged) for employment prospects _outside_ of academia than many humanities degrees.

germane geir hongro (s.clover), Monday, 30 May 2016 16:56 (four years ago) link

the analogy in that article with the AMA isn't quite right---the AMA restricts the # of MDs each year to help keep wages up, it's rent-seeking. I don't see how an organization could come in now and induce that kind of discipline among Ph.D.-granting departments now.

droit au butt (Euler), Monday, 30 May 2016 17:15 (four years ago) link

also ime grad student teaching doesn't add up to a lot of hours / "instructional units", relative to faculty. & sure they do some grading / sections but not *that* much. temp / adjunct teaching is a different story, but cutting a doctoral program wouldn't change radically the kinds of undergrad teaching that regular faculty too. losing the occasion grad course would be a drag, I guess, thoughI only got called up to the big leagues four years ago, & I was happy enough before that. the article *doesn't* mention the loss of institutional prestige in cutting a doctoral program, something admins care about since it can lead to $$$ by donations, both by pumping up occasional alums b/c of the subject area, b/c it contributes to staying within associations like the AAU, or b/c it offers the slim hope of having a faculty member win a big prize.

droit au butt (Euler), Monday, 30 May 2016 17:22 (four years ago) link

also ime grad student teaching doesn't add up to a lot of hours / "instructional units", relative to faculty. & sure they do some grading / sections but not *that* much.

― droit au butt (Euler), Monday, May 30, 2016 1:22 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I think this deeply varies by field. Big intro courses are often taught in ways that are sort of unthinkable without an army of student support. Otoh, I know that often advanced undergrads are given opportunities to TA as well, and so i could imagine institutional shifts towards that as a way to compensate should grad resources be cut.

germane geir hongro (s.clover), Monday, 30 May 2016 17:30 (four years ago) link

2 of my math friends who did geo/topo and finished phds in the last year got jack shit. one of them is in nyc trying to get back into banking (which he left to do math), the other spent >a year unemployed and then got a job writing python on another continent :-/

math seems to have a weird job market though. when i asked them about it they didn't apply to that many places and said you needed to have connections so they just applied to places their supervisors told them to. i know in economics there's a central clearing house style job market where every candidate and dept coordinate in one city one weekend and get it over with and you can apply to hundreds of depts and interview for dozens. i can see why that doesn't work in math though, where everything's so specialized and it's hard to quickly get a feel for someone's research

de l'asshole (flopson), Monday, 30 May 2016 18:00 (four years ago) link

xxp i think the faculty themselves can often care a lot about the prestige, too? from their peers, from having students to boss around, etc.

my graduate alma mater scrapped its upper-level writing requirements for u.g. degrees some time ago, end of the 90s i think, and moved to using a writing-intensive designation on courses across disciplines, rather than just requiring something from a range of junior/senior english/rpc courses. my department's offerings would surely change if there weren't grad students around to grade all those papers (in most undergrad courses below the senior level, often the junior level, the faculty grade exactly zero): the curriculum is overloaded with W-designated courses that are meant to lure as many students as possible into taking them for the writing credit.

j., Monday, 30 May 2016 18:46 (four years ago) link

"i know in economics there's a central clearing house style job market where every candidate and dept coordinate in one city one weekend and get it over with and you can apply to hundreds of depts and interview for dozens"

no this exists in math in the states, at the big MAA/AMS joint meeting each January

droit au butt (Euler), Monday, 30 May 2016 19:17 (four years ago) link

in my job in cornland we had a doctoral program & I got a grader for my early modern course, sophomore level, but not for my junior/senior courses. I wasn't used to that because in wheatland I did all my own grading, but my colleagues in cornland were...pretty used to having that grading.

faculty definitely care a lot about prestige. I did; I didn't want to stay in wheatland for a bunch of (obv) reasons but one was jumping to a dept with a doctoral program, for the sake of vanity and to teach more advanced material occasionally. but yeah vanity for sure.

here in cheeseland first and second year undergrad courses are split between something like lecture and something like sections, and the person doing the lecture does just a little bit of grading on the final; in the sections you give three exams and if you're teaching those you have to grade them yourself. I taught one of those sections this last term, but the others were either grad students or adjunct-like people.

droit au butt (Euler), Monday, 30 May 2016 19:25 (four years ago) link

i know in economics there's a central clearing house style job market where every candidate and dept coordinate in one city one weekend and get it over with

some of my housemates from college were discussing this on fb. one is now an econ/applied math professor and the others were bio and pure math people, and the others were envious at the efficiency of the economics faculty job system.

sarahell, Monday, 30 May 2016 19:37 (four years ago) link

there are slots to do undergrad adjuncting in remedial math, but seems to be precious little else

Just don't think this is really true. To take a good but not top-10 department, University of Illinois, here's their recent job placement info:

http://www.math.illinois.edu/GraduateProgram/doctoral-graduates.html

Lots of these people are going to industry jobs in finance or data science, and lots are going to academic postdocs (which are not adjunct instructorships.) Now you could say maybe the postdoctoral system in math just means these folks are all dumped from the academy three years after Ph.D. instead of right after?

Just googling some of those grads from 2012, who would have been on the TT market this year or last, I see Avsec has a second postdoc at Texas A&M, Butterfield is tenure-track at U Victoria, Choi I can't find, Cummins is TT at West Point, Dixit is TT at IIT-Gandhinagar, Hu is TT at Georgia Southern...

So I just don't think it makes sense to say it's a pipe dream for math Ph.D.s that they're going to get a non-adjunct faculty job; a large proportion still do.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 04:17 (four years ago) link

Times Higher Education is launching a new ranking system in September, having decided that the current systems for ranking US schools is 'not fit for purpose'.

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/us-college-ranking-launched-by-times-higher-education

Is anyone at NAFSA this week? I'd intended to go this year but it got nixed. Seeing that David Brooks is giving the plenary speech might mean i dodged a bullet.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 10:02 (four years ago) link

dear god

Queens has a good anthropology department, iirc. That doesn't necessarily mean that anyone wants to study it there. It looks like a gloss on market forces at work. Not unrelated:

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/tuition-fees-force-students-pick-degrees-salary-prospects

That goes double (or treble) for lucrative international students.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:51 (four years ago) link

a few theoretical premises / hypotheticals, if i may ~

1. class inequality in the US has been dramatic for some time and continues to slide toward neo-feudalism

2. as in all other prestige professions, those born into privilege are the most "marketable" and thus over-represented in academia

3. to reflect 'the world as it is', why not dispense with the marxist pretenses of our humanities departments altogether, and award college admission and professorships at birth? AP classes and SAT tests would then only be taken by the "smart" comfortable / active / rich kids, to determine where they end up at school (although sooner or later, we might want to consider fine-tuning that, too, to accord with increasing feudalism)

4. the collective sigh of relief among the children of say, the bottom 66%, realizing they're not allowed to take AP classes or SATs like their "smart" comfortable counterparts, could very well release the engines of personal industry, and get this country moving again. first, they might get off their lazy butts and start working earlier. second, instead of taking out student loans upon high school graduation, the bottom two-thirds could take out small business loans. in any event, the money the government would save no longer subsidizing the advanced educations of people not born into comfortable circumstances could then be applied to further tax cuts on the job creators, which can only benefit the less industrious classes who'd be jobhunting at younger and younger ages, a virtuous circle

5. in the short term, this would mean shutting down a ton of schools, but you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. another drawback would be the shrinking of the NCAA, but perhaps it's time to have basketball and football minor leagues, anyways? the college music scene would likewise shrink, but hey, the obscurer the audience the better!

reggie (qualmsley), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 14:05 (four years ago) link

xxxpost
I wonder how much the econ job market system contributes to their culture of assholishness. They gossip and backstab to rival the cast of Mean Girls: http://www.econjobrumors.com/

But that doesn't mean it's not somehow "efficient"...

Dan I., Tuesday, 31 May 2016 14:11 (four years ago) link

What could sociology, anthropology, and history possibly have to do with the analysis of society?

jmm, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 14:12 (four years ago) link

i love EJMR but i think the ass-holishness on display there is just typical conservative message board trolls and doesn't reflect irl. the fact that the polisci and sociology equivalents are just as toxic kinda proves that. all the econ grad students i know are nice people who are disturbed by the stuff written there anonymously by peers

de l'asshole (flopson), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 16:09 (four years ago) link

the hundred or so people i know IRL who are university faculty (most adjunct) and what they've mentioned in person or in facebook posts on the subject. Almost all are arts and humanities ppl.

So the majority of them are MFA's or MM's (or whatever the official U.S. Music Master's degree is called now) who pursued jobs in higher education partially in order to advance their careers as composers, artists, writers, etc.

I dunno, the music sessionals I've known have generally either taught a tonne of courses or done other jobs as well (mostly music lessons or some kind of performance/conducting gig but I know people who have done manual labour). I did quite a bit of temping for a while until I was in a place where I could do well enough with other teaching work. I don't necessarily think there should be a really easy ride to tenure and a six-figure salary or anything but I think the labour situation could fairly be described as exploitative in a number of places. The fact that other people are also facing exploitative conditions does not change this.

Hi! I'm twice-coloured! (Sund4r), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 18:00 (four years ago) link

i'm not quite sure how to work it so that 'area studies' get to be saved but lately i've been feelin the crazy idea that academics should start pushing back hard against usefulness in schools, anything that's not a traditional academic subject is to be axed, banished to the vocational schools

i guess this would solve nothing tho, since aside from STEM-related fields needed to get the engineers out the door it would mean universities' revenue streams would vanish

j., Tuesday, 31 May 2016 18:04 (four years ago) link

I worry that we'd end up with a lot of musicologists who can't play.

Hi! I'm twice-coloured! (Sund4r), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 18:14 (four years ago) link

The jump in the number of students between 1980 and now, and particularly over the last ten years, has been extraordinary and I'd guess mostly driven by people who were the first in their families to go to college or the children of first generation immigrants. Usefulness isn't just built into the political agenda, it's in the agenda of millions of families where the risk of fronting up college fees needs to be tied to demonstrable increases in conventional employment prospects. Obviously there are questions over how demonstrable those prospects remain but I can't really see much of a way back from here. Business / marketing / finance are also absolutely crucial to the international student demographic, who'll be increasingly important in the the U.S. in the future.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 18:15 (four years ago) link

actually i was partly thinking of uselessness as a proxy for (the freedom for) rigorousness and student motivation (perhaps again in the freedom from certain occluding motivations). in my adjuncting adventures i've kicked around to a pretty representative range of the levels of institution in my region, had traditionally/untraditionally good/bad students at all of them, but it seems like the most poisonous combination, pedagogically, has been the ones who are only at college because they (economically) have to be, pursuing a practical major (in that mid range of the ones housed in universities, never traditionally in vocational schools) which has no real or even speculative need for anything like scientific/systematic knowledge, and are fundamentally incurious. it seems as if the traditional disciplines, trying to play the administrative numbers games, just cannot win with those students, thus just cannot win with the administrators.

this is a serious question, but, like, what do marketing majors even study

j., Tuesday, 31 May 2016 18:40 (four years ago) link

Every marketing course I've ever seen has been a combination of business fundamentals (intro to business statistics, management theory, finance, business ethics, etc), psych modules and more specific content (retail marketing, digital marketing, etc). As an undergraduate course it does often look like it has been cobbled together but there is also a fairly serious academic discipline behind it that gets fleshed out more at post-grad level and does cross over with the more traditional ideas of applied social science research.

There clearly needs to be viable, respected alternative routes for people who fundamentally don't want to be at university but feel they have no other options though. Whether that is vocational study, apprenticeships or something else, I don't know. Germany is an interesting example of a country that is arguably more 'over credentialed' than even the U.S. but still retains a strong alternative path for less academic students.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 19:20 (four years ago) link

it's mean the way vocational schools and the like are under-emphasized in secondary schools. kids who aren't great at school are made to feel like society has no use for them.

Treeship, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 19:29 (four years ago) link

even though i agree about incurious marketing students i feel like explicitly railing against 'usefulness' backfires in practice

de l'asshole (flopson), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 19:33 (four years ago) link

I dunno, the music sessionals I've known have generally either taught a tonne of courses or done other jobs as well (mostly music lessons or some kind of performance/conducting gig

uh, those are all perfectly respectable. Those aren't at all the types of "wouldn't stoop to x" jobs.

It's a supply and demand problem, as has been mentioned by others in the past dozen posts. Should "we" create more economic opportunities for all the MFAs etc or should there just be less of them? And what hasn't been discussed is education for education's sake. If someone wants a Master's in Music Composition or an MFA in visual art, because it will make them a more emotionally/intellectually fulfilled person, then why shouldn't they? Why should they have to reproduce the means of production by becoming a professor or a professional artist or musician?

This is definitely tied to socioeconomic class, but, this pressure to have a career in what you studied in college feels more pronounced now than when I was in college.

sarahell, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 19:56 (four years ago) link

given the cost of college in america, degrees are either 'investments' or luxury goods and if you get a job in your field then you avoid feeling like you bought a luxury good.

iatee, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 20:12 (four years ago) link

Otm

de l'asshole (flopson), Tuesday, 31 May 2016 20:24 (four years ago) link

what's wrong with luxury goods?

sarahell, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 20:24 (four years ago) link

and "cost" is relative.

sarahell, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 20:25 (four years ago) link

nothing's wrong with them, but unlike buying a sportscar a lot of people only find that their degrees were luxury goods after they made the purchase

iatee, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 20:44 (four years ago) link

yeah, it's as if they told everyone that a sports car was the ticket to a well paying job and a comfortable lifestyle and then when you got home they were just lol now you can pay this off for the next 20 years except w/ the sports car you resell it but no one will buy yr diploma even from a fancy college

Mordy, Tuesday, 31 May 2016 20:45 (four years ago) link

anything that's not a traditional academic subject is to be axed, banished to the vocational schools

Coming back to this for a moment, i do think it's at least plausible that a substantial cohort of students might, in the future, decide that a traditional academic university environment isn't the best place to learn business skills. Given the option of studying a degree-level course at a mid-to-low level college / university with little to no 'brand recognition' or studying a vocationally-orientated degree course with a theoretical path to direct employment at IBM College or the Chevron School of Management, i think a lot of people would probably lean towards the latter.

Sumsung does this reasonably successfully in Germany, Canada and the UK, typically at a lower level and in partnership with traditional colleges, but it has the potential to take a much larger segment of the market. One FTSE 100 company in the UK has launched its own stand-alone degrees rubber stamped by a trad university and aims, in the future, to have degree-awarding powers of its own.

This inevitably means the "corporatisation of higher education" and has been resisted on those grounds, and also poses a potential revenue threat to traditional universities, but it could lead to refocusing of attention.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Wednesday, 1 June 2016 07:48 (four years ago) link

Haha, I see that he was actually a bit critical - I was OTMing it on the assumption that by letting go of adjuncts (who are handling a massive amount of the teaching rn) and requiring f/t faculty to take on heavier teaching loads, the inevitable result would be an increase in the # of f/t teaching positions that would be created, many of which would go to those erstwhile adjuncts. There was briefly a move towards doing this at the two big local universities and under the previous provincial govt and a number of sessionals did get f/t teaching positions.

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 21:40 (one week ago) link

Not going to lie: if I could get even a full-time NTT position, I'd be overjoyed.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 21:53 (one week ago) link

Yeah, the difference in working conditions and respect was so huge that it was impossible to go back to sessional teaching after leaving a f/t VAP.

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 22:02 (one week ago) link

For me personally ofc; lots of smart, accomplished people do it.

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 22:06 (one week ago) link

In my experience, the more elite the institution, the more it is the norm for research academics to consider teaching to be burdensome “grunt work.” The exploitation of adjuncts is the natural outgrowth of such an attitude.


In her zeal to unmake research universities, as the product of greedy researchers masquerading as teachers, she says nothing of the political and economic incentives for adjunct-reliant faculties. It is no surprise to learn that she is a figure of the right.

Joey Corona (Euler), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:03 (one week ago) link

i think she's one of those crypto-back-to-tradition-my-intellectual-life-is-apolitical types? but i don't know positively

j., Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:14 (one week ago) link

anyway yeah it is gobsmacking to read a comfortably-positioned academic casually toss off a line like 'let the adjuncts go'. i asked her about it on twitter—she says she was merely addressing an argument to those with power, tenured faculty, while adjuncts should hahahaha take up grass-roots intellectual tasks outside the academy—whether she wasn't just assuming that those with power should keep it and those without it now should keep on not having it, and she came back with some hand-waving about pragmatism and vocation and labor. i don't really think she's thought some things through.

j., Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:18 (one week ago) link

Which incentives do you think she is overlooking, Euler?xp

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:20 (one week ago) link

i don't understand how addressing an argument to those with power makes it any better - if anything it seems to make it much worse that she's endorsing this course of action to ppl best in place to execute it???

Mordy, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:20 (one week ago) link

i have been thinking about this since u first mentioned it. "don't worry about my plan to screw marginalized employees of the academy i'm only making the case to your betters." how is this not "don't be concerned that i'm trying to feed you to predators i'm just pitching the idea to the lions"

Mordy, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:21 (one week ago) link

Yeah, like I said, I assumed she was advocating for effectively making all uni teaching part of full-time jobs, many of which would go to the people who had experience doing them part-time. It occurs to me that I may have been projecting that into the piece.

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:25 (one week ago) link

i think she imagines that because a lot of tenured types are in it for the research or the cushy conference per diems they would jet once they had to teach more than a 1/2 and that would open up spots for the ~true teachers~, the current powerholders would thus be the benefactors of those pedagogical hopefuls who are currently on the outside of power

j., Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:25 (one week ago) link

but there is definitely an emphasis on shrinkage, so she can hardly believe that taking this action would be likely to preserve rather than eliminating jobs

j., Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:26 (one week ago) link

it's just the kind of junk you would expect a st johns full-timer (they have their own revolving system of temps!!) to preen about like they were the only institution in existence that understood teaching and learning

j., Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:27 (one week ago) link

The incentives I’m thinking of: adjuncts get paid less, can’t mobilize as readily, can be fired easily: all aspirations of the ruling class.

The working conditions and job security of tenured faculty in the USA are exceptional in that country, and those faculty should advocate for the extension of these conditions to every worker. I don’t think she’s making that argument.

Joey Corona (Euler), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:30 (one week ago) link

Haha OK well MY argument is do this part of it and also convert p/t teaching positions into f/t gigs:

Fight for a smaller administration. Fight for reduced research requirements. Fight for a single pay scale that includes administrators, and, yes, coaches and top-flight surgeons. Fight for smaller class sizes, and for greater freedom in the classroom. Fight for greater faculty governance,

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:32 (one week ago) link

There is a lot of confusion in that article.

The one takeaway I can agree with is that tenured faculty often consider teaching to be grunt work. I can't count the number of times that people
with tenure I know and otherwise respect have said awful, demeaning things about their students and teaching loads. From my perspective, many tenured professors seem totally uninterested in teaching, or even scholarship. I've published more in the past two years than 90% of the tenured faculty in my department at my R1 school, yet I have little to no chance of ever getting a full time teaching job, despite years of fantastic evaluations from students and supervisors. I could go on and on, but some particular bits of that piece ring especially true.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:39 (one week ago) link

OK, I actually have no idea what she is talking about here (which she has repeated a few times on Twitter, it seems):

I was addressing the people with power: tenured faculty. If I were addressing contingent faculty, I would tell them that their vast talent and dedication can be put to wonderful use in the grassroots intellectual enterprises that this country desperately needs.

— Zena Hitz (@zenahitz) June 30, 2020

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 23:47 (one week ago) link

ahh, the grassroots, didn't know they were hiring... how's their health insurance these days?

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 2 July 2020 01:54 (one week ago) link

She seems confused

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Thursday, 2 July 2020 02:18 (one week ago) link

I'm not sure that she is confused tbh. Her point is not quite what I originally took it to be but I think she is actually pretty clear on what it is and is handwaving away the question of "what will the adjuncts do instead?", in part bc she seems to doubt it will be much worse than what they do now. She wants tenured faculty to take on heavier teaching, service, and admin loads; control administrative bloat; and, yep, she really does want mass layoffs of contingent faculty afaict:

Is lecturing 4/4 or 5/5 for peanuts and without security really the best use of your talent? Why are you doing this? Serious question.

— Zena Hitz (@zenahitz) June 30, 2020

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Thursday, 2 July 2020 05:07 (one week ago) link

Oh, OK, sorry j, I see you addressed a lot of this and think I found the tweets of yours you mentioned.

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Thursday, 2 July 2020 05:11 (one week ago) link

Agree this is the basic hole:

whether she wasn't just assuming that those with power should keep it and those without it now should keep on not having it

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Thursday, 2 July 2020 05:11 (one week ago) link

Her target is research university tenured faculty. Adjuncts are just collateral damage.

Joey Corona (Euler), Thursday, 2 July 2020 05:19 (one week ago) link

She's confused because she doesn't address some of the underlying reasons behind the meteoric rise of contingent faculty in the US, and also assumes that there are scads of jobs out there for those who aren't tenured. There are not. She is as delusional as an adjunct who thinks they can work their way up.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Thursday, 2 July 2020 11:11 (one week ago) link

Also anyone who treats adjuncts as collateral damage can fuck right off.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Thursday, 2 July 2020 11:12 (one week ago) link

Damning the people who are doing most of the actual work of the university to rescue the university is some next level dumb ass shit.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Thursday, 2 July 2020 11:13 (one week ago) link

we had to destroy the village in order to save it

Joey Corona (Euler), Thursday, 2 July 2020 12:27 (one week ago) link

Damning the people who are doing most of the actual work of the university to rescue the university is some next level dumb ass shit.

A story as old as time (or at least as old as the rise of economic rationalism).

assert (MatthewK), Thursday, 2 July 2020 12:43 (one week ago) link

Of course it's a story we all know. But it still is 100% stupid.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Thursday, 2 July 2020 13:05 (one week ago) link

Faculty governance has been all but erased at my school. We have been fighting (hard! with many negative consequences!) for what seems like forever (almost a decade?). We are a young mission-based teaching institution and research/publishing has never been expected.

Is lecturing 4/4 or 5/5 for peanuts and without security really the best use of your talent? Why are you doing this? Serious question.

^^^ that hit home but the answer is "because there is no other outlet for my talent that will pay me." Teaching as a skill/talent is so chronically undervalued in this country (USA) and sadly I don't see that changing anytime soon. I will hang on as long as I can.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 2 July 2020 13:20 (one week ago) link

Ding ding ding! Like it's not like I ever expected to make a ton of money as a prof, but who else is going to pay me for my talent and knowledge base?

I started my own online workshops that are going well, but without scaling up significantly, one workshop is about 2 mortgage payments with nothing left over.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Thursday, 2 July 2020 16:06 (one week ago) link

Yeah I’ve tossed around the idea of workshops but my parallel issue is a lifelong repulsion at branding, including (especially?) branding myself.

I’m working on getting a website together and I’m getting over it but all I really want in my perfect world is an institution to lend my skill to + the chance to reach students who benefit from my teaching + a life outside of work where I can be social and creative.

Instead I’m going to have to hustle to sell myself 😢 at least I can accept that now.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 2 July 2020 17:53 (one week ago) link

I definitely thrive in cooperative environments much more than competitive ones. That’s why my institution was such a good fit for me for so many years.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 2 July 2020 17:54 (one week ago) link

a lifelong repulsion at branding, including (especially?) branding myself

You and me both. Just thinking about it makes me want to retch, it's utterly visceral.

pomenitul, Thursday, 2 July 2020 17:58 (one week ago) link

Higher ed: the sunk cost fallacy.

(holy shit)

assert (MatthewK), Thursday, 2 July 2020 19:17 (one week ago) link

Unless yours is the winning ticket.

pomenitul, Thursday, 2 July 2020 19:24 (one week ago) link

every time i get an email from the administration about plans for the fall i have a panic attack. really excited to be at the top of my pedagogical game in seven weeks.

maura, Wednesday, 8 July 2020 16:50 (four days ago) link

have they told you what game you'll be playing yet

j., Wednesday, 8 July 2020 17:11 (four days ago) link

omg maura super otm
i have not been told anything either

honestly i am sort of glad i taught over the summer bc it has given me time to better acclimate to the online environment and prepare at least one course that i can teach again in the fall without sweating the living shit out of it

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Wednesday, 8 July 2020 18:15 (four days ago) link

seeing an email from our university president describing protocols for the return of students to campus in fall. re dorms, "beds in shared rooms will be separated by at least 6 feet" LOL GET THE FUCK OUT

marcos, Thursday, 9 July 2020 13:27 (three days ago) link

Unbelievable. These people are living in a fantasy world

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Thursday, 9 July 2020 14:22 (three days ago) link

i don’t know what it’ll be like. i always have a hybrid class anyway but i do not feel good about going to campus. but if i don’t teach how can i afford my $500/month insurance premium, lol

meanwhile at purdue:


I feel safer already. This will most definitely be fine. pic.twitter.com/Ay99KyEvzH

— David Atkinson (@drdaveatkinson) July 9, 2020

maura, Friday, 10 July 2020 02:08 (two days ago) link

Jeez Louise.

all cats are beautiful (silby), Friday, 10 July 2020 02:15 (two days ago) link

what the f

trapped out the barndo (crüt), Friday, 10 July 2020 02:28 (two days ago) link

lol

maura, Friday, 10 July 2020 15:53 (two days ago) link

i'm gonna miss all the radical left indoctrination training and meetings :(

Too many Universities and School Systems are about Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education. Therefore, I am telling the Treasury Department to re-examine their Tax-Exempt Status...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2020

reggie (qualmsley), Friday, 10 July 2020 18:22 (two days ago) link

xpost - it's a good thing air stops circulating completely about 7 feet above the floor level. that's a foolproof plan!

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Friday, 10 July 2020 18:32 (two days ago) link


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