Monday, November 22, 2010

Sticker Shock. Alison from Alexandria Won't Be Applying to This Job.

English: Full-time Professor, University in St. Louis, Missouri area is looking for a professor. Must have Ph.D. in English Language or Linguistics. Job duties include teaching English on college level and teaching English for graduate students in M.A program for Teaching English as a Second Language. 

Annual salary offered: $27,960. Send resume to: Dr. James Song, Midwest University, 851 Parr Road, Wentzville, Missouri 63385.
Ph.D. and grad level teaching for under $28k?


  1. Great jumping jellybeans. Please tell me that's a misprint.

  2. That's not horribly much more than I was making adjuncting. Teaching 6 classes. Sheesh.

  3. And you get to live in Wentzville, Missouri! Bonus!

  4. You know they're looking at a townie. Probably an in-bred with all three degrees from the same place right up the road, who has dutifully adjuncted for Midwest U. every summer, that already has a home/family established in lovely Wentzville, and whose spouse/parent is a long-time employee of Midwest U.

    Don't get me wrong- I'm not condoning this "offer" at all. But there's somebody that'll do it without batting an eye; therein lies the problem for all of us.

  5. Assuming this is before taxes, that's less than I make as an adjunct teaching 6 - 7 classes.

  6. While it is inconceivable for a professor to be starting at that salary ... a bit of perspective.

    In the field of clinical psychology, one must complete a pre-doctoral internship. Competition is so fierce it is practically required that you move to secure it as local sites will be seeking "diversity." Average starting salary: $21,000

    THEN, once you've completed that you get the privilege of completing a POST-doctoral residency, before you are eligible for licensure. Unlike our medical brethren, psychology interns/post-docs in the vast majority of jurisdictions are not able to get a limited license (READ: no insurance reimbursement) so hiring a post-doc is a money loser for all but the biggest academic medical centers or state hospitals (who are exempt from licensure rules.) That makes post-docs even more rare and that much more competitive. The salary there might hit $30,000 BUT, given the competition, many accept a VOLUNTEER position just so they can accumulate the required contact hours to sit for the licensing exam. And, given the competition, you likely will have to move for this position as well - making two major regional moves in as many years.

    Ahh ... to be in a helping profession!

  7. I make more than that. I'm a grad student.

  8. I make more than that. I pickpocket.

  9. If this is for real, someone should notify the AAUP about this. It should do whatever it can to let Dr. James Song and his superiors at Midwest University (provided these are all real names, I don't know) that this is pure-and-simple exploitation, inimical to academic, collegial, and human values, in favor of the pursuit of a false pragmatism. If this is real, I hope that what goes around, comes around.

  10. Hey, Wentzville has an outlet mall. And the person who takes this position will probably be shopping there in the clearance section, if not working a second job in the food court!

  11. It's funny, but when the Department of Physics at San Diego State tried to hire a tenure-track assistant professor in 2004 or 2005, the first four choices turned them down because they couldn't afford to buy houses in the San Diego area on the salary they were offering...

  12. And the great irony of that is the San Diego real estate market has since collapsed. You can't teach and live in SD, you have to live in the county towns east of San Diego or the part of town north of La Jolla. And God help you if you teach at UCSD or USD; you'll have to live in the same places as an SDSU prof but the traffic snarls get worse the closer to the sea you get.

  13. It's a private, evangelical, conservative Christian university, founded by the aforementioned Dr. Song.

    And my guess is he doesn't give a fuck about the AAUP.

  14. Midwest U. is accredited through TRACS, an accreditation system for Christian schools and colleges which probably holds very little water if you wanted to transfer from Midwest to a state school. Most of the Fundamentalist Christian colleges* avoid accreditation and the AAUP so thay can teach the maximum amount of Bible crap possible, skim on science, and pay the staff the cheesy wages you have seen. It only works if you've been mindfucked into thinking their way.

    * This place SCREAMS fundy college, and to top that it's a Korean-American fundy college, which means they'll be far more hard-core about the religion than even that flunk-out factory they call Pensacola Christian School.

  15. My dad was a professor (in the sciences). He made about as much as that job posting, not counting benefits. The college was an extremely small one up here in the semi-rural north. Because he was so into the location he left another job to work in my hometown. The pay sucked but there were serious perks -- small class size, ability to get out of work before five sometimes, summers free to do consulting or hang out with the family.

    But, there were serious downsides. There were times when paychecks were issued as IOUs, there were always rumors the college was going to close. Without my mom's income there's no way that job would have worked out for the decades it did. Overall, I guess it should come as no surprise that the school he taught for eventually closed down due to financial difficulty.

  16. > It's a private, evangelical, conservative Christian university, founded by the aforementioned Dr. Song.

    Well! How very unchristian of him, then!

    > It only works if you've been mindfucked into thinking their way.

    Well then! Anyone taking the job would get what they deseved.

  17. From Midwest "University's" website:

    "The first building was erected in 1989 at 8909 BUNKUM Road, Fairview Heights, Illinois ..."

    Just can't make this up!

    (But, while this organization is appearing to be an outlier, what I posted about clinical training in psychology is the standard in the field. There are people with doctorates working for NOTHING to secure training.)

  18. @Aware and Scared
    Compared to any state school, Midwest U. is a mediocre institution, but compared to some of the outright Christian paper mills* that exist, it's probably in the higher brackets. As long as they don't expel students for what they did on their Christmas vacations like Pensacola Christian College has in the past, then their "meh"-ness is assured.

    I didn't know it was that bad for psychologists; that sucks, and it needs to change. You're talking about providing mental care for nothing; I didn't that was possible in a medical-related field.

    @Froderick Frankenstien from Fresno
    What I meant was that anybody who wants to work at Dr. Song's sweatshop probably went to a Christian high school, then Christian college, then the grad school attached to that collage. So they've drunk the cool-aid and they WANT this, because Fundies see college professors as glorified high school teachers (what can I say, they live in the 19th century.) Any knowledge really does not matter; bringing people of Christ does.

    * Places like Patriot Bible University, where Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind (jailbird) got his degree.
    It's a former vet office in windswept Del Norte, Colorado.

  19. @Strelnikov

    I agree about the bible diploma mill comparison.

    However, I was noodling about the TRACS website and Midwest U actually has been required to "show cause" why their "accreditation" should not be revoked.

    If you can't keep even TRACS accreditation, that's pretty troubling.

    RE: Free medical/mental health care ... ahh, you have to remember that psychologists are the ugly step-children of health care. I was fortunate in that I landed a state-hospital post-doc, meaning I actually earned a decent salary. However, it was still 1/3 (yes, 33%) of what a first year MD made.

    And the beat goes on ...

  20. I think religious schools have a spotty sort of record of being able to offer reasonable salaries. There are lots of other reasons why a proffie might go there.

  21. >Anastasia said...

    > I make more than that. I pickpocket.

    Not if you are picking the pocket the person who takes that job!

  22. Given the fact that, 20+ years after the school was founded, applications still go to the founder, I'd have concerns about faculty governance and long-term continuity as well as accreditation. There are plenty of perfectly good schools that are affiliated, loosely or closely, with one religious movement or another (including some Christian ones that wouldn't want me as a member of their community despite our theoretically shared faith), but this one sounds iffy.

    And yes, the salary is disgraceful. On the other hand, I put my own just-over-40K salary into a cost-of-living calculator, and it spit out slightly over 26K as an "equivalent" salary in the St. Louis area, mostly due to differences in housing costs. This did not convince me that the Midwest U salary is adequate; rather, it confirmed my sense that my own salary (for a non-tenure-track job that I've held for ten years, eight of them w/ a Ph.D., and that I can only wish included the opportunity for graduate teaching) is disgraceful, too. Starting salaries for tenure-track jobs at my institution are about twice what Midwest is offering, and they're not overgenerous by any stretch of the imagination.

  23. @Contingent Cassandra
    Founders never leave at Fundamentalist Colleges; Bob Jones University was founded in the 1920s and a great-grandson is on the board today. The Hortons have never given up control of Pensacola Christian College (founded 1974.) And even if they did retire, the founders of these sorts of places would still give some sort of 2-3 hour rambling "sermon" at an appointed time of the year* and appear in any public event the school could cook up. It fits with their 19th century mentality, when a robber baron could found a college and fire anybody for not teaching exactly as he demanded.


    * Maybe Christmas or right before graduation; this has whipsawed on them like when one of the Bob Joneses was told that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been killed and this Jones spouted off crap fitting for a Klan rally.

    For the record I never attended a Christian college, but when I was going to the Insane Xtian grade and high schools, various colleges would send promotional materials (usually a VHS tape), though PCC sent a song and dance troupe the year I graduated high school!

  24. I don't like to double post, even if it's by two days....

    @Aware and Scared

    The lack of accreditation has never stopped a Christian college in the past; they just emphasize the religious elements of the school more. I'm not trying to play the snarky bastard -that's just how they work. Never mention the negative(s); always accentuate the positive(s)....when I was old enough to have been in the Young Pioneers (had I lived in the USSR) our Crazy Xtian school took a trip to the Institute for Creation Research. At the time it was in the second story of an office complex, and it was a pretty rinky dink affair. It consisted of a large electro-chemical lab space, with small offices for the staff and a tiny Creationism museum. At no time did they mention that the place was unsuited for their needs; instead they only spoke of how they were a growing concern. A decade later they were in large digs in Santee, CA. (a town 30 miles east of downtown San Diego), and after 2007 they moved to Dallas, Texas.


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