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Monday, August 28, 2017

“NoDUH”on the Inside Higher Ed website wrote in response to this provocative article today: •“No duh. I got a doctorate in the humanities and graduated into the recession: 2010. One visiting postion and I was done. Nothing, nothng, nothing but adjuncting positions available. I ran out of time, money, health to keep pursuing tenure-track work, or even more visiting positions. The academy used the recssion excuse to double-down on "shedding" full-time faculty positions. That will NEVER stop. The shift to part-time labor among faculty is as permanent as outsourcing in the manufacturing sector. PERMANENT. And yet institutions keep churning out new phd's because they themselves are in the race: more head-counts among their doctoral students means more funding for their own dept's. They won't stop. They will never stop. All our professional associations still behave as if the profession has NOT distmantled itself, as if we all have those tenure-track positions. Demands for publishing and conferencing are at faster and faster levels. This spin cycle will only go faster until it burns itself out somehow, but I don't know what that will look like. It is the corporatized academy working according to the logics of late capitalism. It's a machine that grinds up people while exploiting their passion and commitment to their chosen professions. Don't look to academia to change things. It won't It will continue to eat up everything n sight until there's nothing left, like any other capitalist machine. The majority of the faculty at my institution at now low-[aid adjuncts making $2400-2900 per course of 25-40 students. The admins make 100-150k a year/ We are the peons in the knowledge factory. "Merika”

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Absentee Landlord

Our Governor, who spent the last two years out of town has returned.  Perhaps he should continue his campaigning.  There are a few items in his proposed budget that need reworking.  (For a complete rundown see the faculty senate minutes for the February 14th meeting.  Kristen Keith did an excellent analysis.)  I wish to highlight a couple of issues.  First, we get a one percent increase each of the next two years in state aid.  Second, there will be no raises in tuition or student fees for the next two years.  Our tuition will now have been frozen for 8 of the last 12 years.  This does not bode well for next year's union negotiations.  Finally, there is the proposal that we pay for students' books.  We could charge 300 dollars a year in fees for this.  The estimated amount students pay per year is 1250 dollars.  The estimated cost to the university--over 13 million dollars per year over and above what we could collect from students.  This dwarfs the one percent increase each of the next two years.  I believe this budget signals significant trouble for us as an institution.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Departments to be Eliminated

It would seem there is a list somewhere that has departments that don't graduate enough majors or are redundant to the region.  It would be nice to know the hit list and the criteria being used to create such a list.  It is to be hoped that these departments/programs will be given a fighting chance to show why they should not be eliminated. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Brian Anse Patrick

As most of you already know, Brian Anse Patrick passed away the day after Christmas.  Brian was the driving force behind the blog.  If there was any satire afforded here he was predominantly responsible.  While he wrote primarily as Bloggie, he used several forms of identification.  To say he disliked bureaucracies would be an understatement of huge proportions.  He had little use for hierarchies.  Originally a parochial school student, a nun told him he was going to hell but first he was going to jail.  A priest excommunicated him.  He was then tossed from public schools as well ostensibly for starting a riot.  Eventually he obtained a G.E.D. and a Ph.D.  He hunted and quoted Aristotle, Burke, and Mill. And the Communication Department had the good sense to hire him.  His students loved him and there was often a cadre in his office until the department was moved from University Hall and sequestered in Sullivan.  When people got upset with the blog, he would note that the University had a million dollar PR office and the faculty had the blog.  I will be giving a more complete eulogy at the Faculty Senate meeting January 31st.

Brian will be missed by those who knew him well.  The blog will miss him.  But there are several major issues facing the faculty, so we will attempt to muddle on.  Those include: a new (or another) strategic plan, a new 10 year plan for the use of space and probably a new Union contract.  There is a lot to discuss, so let's get at it.   

Monday, November 28, 2016

As the semester ends

There are a couple of quick items of which you should be aware.  The semester nonsense of changing (or shortening) is not for anyone's benefit except the states.  If you think students are going to take a bunch of two week classes over winter break you've been hitting the eggnog a little early.  The state wants everybody together so we will all look alike walk alike, well you get the idea.  It will make no difference to students whether we teach 16 or 15 weeks.  You want meaningful change?  I have an idea let's go to quarters, oh wait we've been there and before that we were on semesters.  Don't administrators have enough to do without make work projects like this?

The other point is the great unveiling of the new master plan.  Oh boy.  It will be interesting to see if any attention was paid to all those "thank you for your input" public meetings.  Some will find coal in their stockings; others will perhaps find something more valuable.  Come one come all it's December 7th.  (Incredible timing.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Sorry for the lengthy absence but I had rotator cuff surgery and they filed down a bone spur while they were at it.  Word on the street claims the University is at a standstill in terms of approving new or replacement hires.  On the one hand this saves money; while on the other hand it doesn't do much to help our students.  If the University wishes to continue its upward "surge" in enrollment, then students taking courses in their major field of study are going to require more than part-time instructors.  The more part-timers you have the more difficult it becomes to control the curriculum and the overall pattern of instruction.  This is not meant as a slam on all part-time instructors but students need full-time faculty for mentoring and career advising.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Couple of Thoughts

Just when one thought the world might be getting a little brighter two things happen that remind you of your place versus that of the chosen few.  First, our President has been given a large bonus.  To place the $90,000 bonus in perspective, it is larger than most of our salaries.  I have no idea what kind of a job the President has done.  I have no idea what she was or was not told when she took this "fixer upper".  What I do know is that we are running a deficit and that the appearance of this bonus makes it look like it's back to business as usual.

At the other end of the financial spectrum there is the Phoenicia.  Word on the street is that they will be forced out by December.  It seems 22 years of faithful service is not good enough.  Aramark wants their kitchen.  So, there you have it:  a big bonus for one year's service and a kick in the but for 22 years.