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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.