Come get some.
Hey Trevor, great rundown of the horrifying proletariatization of academia as a way to side-step and control faculty (not to mention save millions of dollars). I was an adjunct professor at SFSU and USF and a private for-profit art school called AICSF for five years before I got my permanent, tenure-track position. The instability and uncertainty of being in an adjunct position, coupled with the fact that, intellectually, it is so much harder to continue researching and developing as a scholar without an institutional base and support, and that as an adjunct, no matter how moral you are, you’re still not really part of the institution you work at, all combined to make me a great advocate of part-timers at my current university and a HUGE critic of the part-time system at large. Did you know that originally, adjunct was set up as a way for a professor to teach classes outside his or her department? We’ve come a long way from those days, baby.
Also, BYU (my alma mater…ack!) really must be sanctioned again by the AAUP. This is just getting ridiculous. A few months ago they fired an African American professor for speaking out about the Church’s racist past.
Finally, thanks a mil for posting the Berube piece. I hope you don’t mind if I comment on it over on my blog.
Yes…I do know that the adjunct system was originally set up to allow full-timers to teach ad-hoc in other departments, and also to allow emeritus and visiting profs a chance to get back/out into the classroom. It is sad to think how this idea has been corroded over the years and effectively used to—as you say—sidestep the P&T process.
I’ve also taught part-time in a private art school, but thankfully mine was a non-profit. I had a friend who taught at the Art Institute of SF about ten years ago; I’m assuming that’s different from where you were, though. Where’s your full-time gig now?
oops, I posted this comment on the wrong thread! lol
No, the Art Institue of San Francisco is an old art school, and quite cool and rigorous. I, however, was at The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, a for-profit chain of schools that’s part of “Art Institutes International” (the Phoenix University of art schools). The kids were great and sincere, but were being completely exploited and had no clue. I was sort of philosophically opposed to for-profit education prior to teaching there, but am no adamantly opposed to it. The market simply isn’t the best arbiter for all things, and in fact, can completely fuck things up (can I say fuck on your blog?)
Like I said, I was an adjunct for five years, so I “get it.”
I’m now at San Jose State University, American Studies. It’s a bit of an odd fit for me because I’m a social scientist and most of my colleagues are humanists, so they often look at me like I”m from outer space. But it’s a fantastic first tenure-track position and I’m enjoying the job security.
“The market simply isn’t the best arbiter for all things, and in fact, can completely fuck things up”
Amen to that (and an extra +1/2 “amen” is given for clearing the “fuck” post-haste…well done). The market certainly has an influence on education, but to leave the whole process dangling on market forces is just begging for trouble. Ben Marcus wrote a great piece a few years back for TIME, in which he talks about the heightened role student evaluations have come to play since the larger commodification of higher education. In it he writes, “the business model has taught me that the customer is always right. But maybe a few more dissatisfied customers would mean a better learning experience.”
The problem, of course, isn’t seeing that we have a problem, but knowing what to do about it. And I don’t know about you, but after taking a full-time teaching gig after managing a rotisserie schedule of four simultaneous adjunct jobs, I felt immediately and strangely guilty about commandeering my office space.
American Studies? Way cool. No wonder you dig Berube. I studied with some very interesting cultural critics in grad school, but all of them were Marxists, so my view of cultural studies is particularly bent that way. How about you?
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