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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Biosphere 3. Eight Day update No. Nothing has changed. Lot 11, on this snowy Saturday, is still accessible without snowshoes and the entire Snyder Building inside is well-lighted and even warmer than yesterday (noon temperature in the hall outside the door to the Political Science Department faculty offices was 74.3 degrees Fahrenheit = cozy!). Outside my office window a that time there was a total temporary whiteout. The outside temp. is now, at three-thirty p.m., a bone-chilling 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Not to worry: Cozy in our offices Dr. Reid and I are getting a lot of professor stuff accomplished. Meanwhile, out in Lot 11, meanwhile, the portable generator on wheels is chugging away, and getting something accomplished -- but what that something is, I have no clue. Is it there just to serve us, two humble hard-working and underpaid social science professors? I think not. It must be serving a higher purpose. Will it be there tomorrow, blowing smoke and shaking like a hound dog after a long swim on a cold day? Stay tuned!
Biosphere 3. Seven day update That lonely generator on wheels in the middle of Lot 11 behind Snyder Memorial is still shaking like a dice cup and blowing smoke like Humphry Bogart. Its purpose remains unknown. It is just past noon and 13 cars and trucks have joined the generator there, in back of Snyder. Some professors who continue to ignore the ban in order to accomplish academic work in their offices. Everything works, and the corridor temperatures (and my office temperature) have registered at a cozy 73.6 all day (and I suppose all night). It is noon and there are 13 vehicles in Lot 11. Will Day eight of the New Winter Break be much different? Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Biosphere 3. 6-day update Thursday has brought increased scholarly activity to the third floor of Snyder Memorial: two anarchist faculty and at least one bemused graduate student researcher were pounding their computers keys-- one from before dawn -- to what is presently 3:50. Outside the temperature is presently 8 degrees F. Inside Snyder = 72.4 in the halls, offices and labs. Meanwhile, the mystery generator totally disappeared overnight, only to reappear Thursday morning up and running. There are four vehicles in the parking lot behind Snyder (Lot 11). Three hours ago there were thirteen! Some lockdown! Stay tuned ... ...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Biosphere 3. 5-day update Recap of the first five days within the "No Go Zone": I first entered the dome with significant trepidation on Day 1, Saturday December 23rd. Amazingly, the Forbidden Zone on Day 1 was uneventful. Snyder Memorial was heated throughout, as was my office. I got a lot done. Day 2, a Sunday, was similarly like any old Sunday on the Main Campus except that there was significant snowfall and no traffic. There was a portable generator attached to a hole in the ground operating in the parking lot. Its purpose was and remains unknown. Day 3, a Christmas Monday, promised to be the biggest test of the "New Winter Break Closed Campus" experiment. I arrived at 6 a.m. to the parking lot behind Snyder. The portable generator was still fired up and belching smoke from its exhaust pipe. Snow was about 4 inches deep everywhere. I drive a Jeep Wrangler so deep snow was no deterrent to parking. I entered Snyder with my key card. The thermostat on the wall in the hall read 72.4 degrees. I worked the entire day in the office -- and accomplished a lot. No one else was in the building Out my window during the day I could see two signs of life: two small golf cart sized vehicles were robotically pushing snow around and clearing sidewalks in Centennial Mall. More surprisingly, I saw one of those falcons that live in the clock tower from March through October flying around. I thought they went south for the winter? Apparently not. Tuesday, Day 4, was about the same as Monday -- except that around 11 a.m., my colleague Dr. Neil Reid arrived to his office. Our office lights and desk computers worked fine, so we both accomplished a lot. Dr. "C" emailed to ask if our Geography labs in the Snyder Building were accessible even though the campus was in the midst of the unprecedented, experimental New Winter Break lockdown. I told him that the Snyder Building and its labs seemed 100% accessible for faculty and student research purposes. Today is Wednesday, December 27th. I arrived a 7 a.m. The portable generator in the parking lot was shut off. Perhaps it had run out of gas. I entered Snyder and the temperature in the Building was -- 72.4 degrees! Hooray! I expect to see Dr. Reid again today, as some of our diligent SISS research assistants working on the GISAG Lab computers. I'm sure it will be another productive day in Snyder for the GEPL and SISS faculty and students who risk the ban and want to get some work done. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 22, 2017

"As a final reminder, the University’s new winter break will begin next week, enabling faculty and staff to relax and recharge at a time when many departments are operationally slow ..." This is a specious claim -- and absurd. Diligent research and teaching faculty want to increase their productivity daily, weekly, monthly and year-round. The new winter break may appear penny wise to the anonymous brain-dead bean counter who conjured it up for an apparently feckless administration, but its deliberate demoralizing of the professoriate is rooted in amoral market forces that will prove pound foolish in the long run. Why impose a brutal, self-inflicted, week-long "Little Death" on the intellectual core of our campus learning community? What next? Two weeks? If our present administration does not begin to invest in increasing the numbers and the morale of its tenure-track and tenured Liberal Arts research/teaching faculty then down the road -- and not too far -- a "Big Death" for the University of Toledo seems increasingly likely.

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.