Monday, January 31, 2011

The Paid Vacation for Course Credit

My department is offering an increasing number of courses
set in exotic places in summer and during the January break, invariably offering a specialized course of study that the faculty member has no competence to teach--and, indeed, would never be teaching if there were not a trip attached to the course. These courses receive three hours credit and involve little more than blogging of the "Wow, Paris is really cool. And old, too" variety. Why the returning faculty member encourages us to read these blogs, I'm not sure. As far as I know, there is no attempt to affiliate with competent faculty abroad and share the so-called teaching responsibilities.

I am not envious because the thought of being responsible for my students' physical safety on a foreign continent 24/7 makes me ill. Still, I wonder where is the shame at this naked show of self-aggrandizement?


  1. I particularly resent these courses because a colleague and I bust our asses to run a January course on research ethics in order to (hopefully) reduce the amount of time our little darlings spend fucking up the lives of Poor Starving Africans or Illiterate Amazonian Indigenous Peoples etc.

    We do not blog, we teach. Shocking, no?

  2. @BlackDog:
    That blows: Research Ethics versus a trip to enact some colonial fetish... Guess who wins out! I'm sorry!!!

  3. I've been thinking up some courses along these lines. But I fear the locations I have in mind are not exotic enough, and the course requirements too rigorous (blogs or journals, maybe, as a starting point, but also lots of reading and substantial formal writing). And, yes, the idea of playing den mother, or any kind of mother, to a bunch of supposed-to-be-adults scares me.

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  5. @Blackdog: your course sounds great -- not cool or fun, maybe, but important. I hope the seriousness of the topic at least means that you get good students.


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