The New Faculty Minority

We don’t deserve to all be adjunctifed—if only because universities without academic freedom translates to a less free society—but I worry that we are more likely to be if we let the few sadistic professors and knife-twisting administrators distract us from the much more difficult, because more intimate and more ethically complex, politics of painstakingly changing what is in many places now our status quo.

When Tenure-Track Faculty Take on the Problem of Adjunctification,” Jennifer Ruth

Here’s another piece that links the current state of our profession to the privileges and stubbornness of tenure track faculty, e.g. the status quo. I have had some experience with these things myself, and I sympathize with Ruth’s plight. I admit, too, that when I first went into academia I naïvely supposed a certain kind of progressive thinking was a natural part of my profession. As it turns out, academics are a deeply conservative lot, less concerned with justice and equity and more with protecting (what’s left of) their status.

I am hoping that these skirmishes are a sign that the bottom has been reached, although I tend to agree more with P.D. Lesko, who thinks that adjuncts need to think beyond what their tenure track colleagues believe is best. I am also less sanguine that Ruth about the good will of administrations. I think it is administrative culture– with its distorted business model– that lie at the heart of our problems. As Lesko notes, we work in a trillion-dollar sector. There’s no reason, beyond misguided administration, why we can’t have pay equity.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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