Tuesday, March 27, 2012

From Gawker.Com


  1. Or because they're all on their computers on Sunday afternoon, dealing with snowflakes, and so heard about it quickly?

    I suspect you'd get a similar reaction from another very busy, very wired, professional population. Someone should try writing an op-ed suggesting that realtors don't add much value to real estate transactions, and see how quickly the responses roll in. In fact, I suspect that if one went back over some of the stories written in the wake of the bubble, one could already make the comparison with existing data.

    1. Right. We're sitting at our desks on Sunday and we're a rather articulate bunch. Educated and used to arguing, too.

  2. The IHE piece, by the way, is quite good, and cites a study that found that most full-time academics work c. 50 hours a week (as opposed to 37-43 for non-academics).

    I also found the following tidbit interesting: "a previous AAUP survey found that real faculty salaries between 1986 and 2005 barely increased, while the salaries of physicians went up by 34.41 percent, and those of lawyers grew 17.73 percent."

    I even agree with what Levy, in a follow-up interview, said was his main point: that too many schools are trying to adopt an R1 model. The thing is, we've already gone so far in that direction (or, rather, toward a model that has a very few faculty at any one institution doing R1-type research and teaching activities, a slightly larger pool of full-timers forced to spend a significant proportion of their time shouldering an ever-growing administrative/service burden, and a vast army of contingent faculty and almost-as-exploited grad students doing the great majority of the teaching) that the great majority of the people teaching the great majority of students are so vastly underpaid that it would cost considerable money to bring us back to a point where most schools were following the second-tier-state/SLAC/CC model of a few decades ago, with most faculty teaching 3/3 full-time loads, with a significant additional investment of time in service, and relatively modest research expectations. That's quite a good model, and it would bring greater equity for faculty and represent a better deal for students, but I doubt that a return to it would save money, because the conversions of part-time (or 4/4 or 5/5 no-service full-time non-TT faculty) to full time would vastly outnumber the conversions of 2/2 load to 3/3 ones (if that could legally be done).

    Of course, what Levi actually proposed is something more like a 6/6 or 6/7 load, which -- as any adjunct who has done it can attest -- is absolutely ridiculous, and would (does) seriously undermine the quality of teaching.

  3. Replies
    1. if we were working more than 40 hours a week we wouldn't have time to write a couple sentences on a blog or newspaper article. Those can take HOURS to write!

    2. As in the words of Karl Marx (often attributed to Blaise Pascal): "Sorry this letter is so long, but I didn't have time to write you a short one."

  4. Replies
    1. It occurred to me, too, that this is a very good way to (try to) shut people up, akin to telling somebody who feels passionately about an issue that (s)he is too passionate to speak at the moment, and should wait until (s)he is calmer.

      By the way, I believe the article excerpted above is a Gawker one, which quotes from the IHE one in order to make its point. I was surprised, too, and clicked through to IHE. As I noted above (in what was evidently a tl;dr comment), the IHE article is actually quite good, and balanced, in the sense that it both relays some of the critical reactions to Levy's op-ed piece and interviews him about his intentions for the piece (of course, one shouldn't need to interview the author of an op-ed to figure out what he was trying to accomplish in writing it, but that's another issue).

    2. This article is on Gawker, who apparently post nothing but crap on a regular basis, and even though I knew that, I think this may be one of my last straws with Gawker media. It's Gawker that cites IHE who have a well-written article response.

  5. I can't find the comment now, but one of the commenters writes that Levy's argument that professors only work during the hours they're in class is akin to claiming professional athletes only work when they're on the court. That makes me chuckle.

    Levy needs to take Comp II from one of us to improve his research writing skills.

  6. Professors have plenty of time to surf the net while they're in office hours waiting for students to keep their appointments to talk about all that stuff they missed.

  7. Lawyers, Guns, and Money posted an absolutely fantastic take-down of the original Washingtong Post article:



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