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  • A

    AAUPOct 4, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    This article was also picked up by the national AAUP’s blog:

  • B

    BillOct 3, 2014 at 10:43 am

    The problems are far greater than you write about…

    Administrative bloat? Yes!
    Greater emphasis on athletic success? Yes!
    Less emphasis on academics? Yes!
    Rising Tuition? Yes!
    Unaccountable Faculty? Hmmm?

    Let’s also agree that there is a rise in adjunct (and contingent) faculty because there is a decline in the number of hours actually taught by tenured professors. If we could get tenured professors to work a 40 hour week, with fewer 6 month sabbaticals, we would be using far fewer adjuncts and contingents.Take a look at the UNC General Administration site to review how many classes are taught by tenured professors.

    Also, a recent study by researchers at Northwestern University found that non-tenure-track lecturers at that school were superior to tenure-track faculty…

    It’s an interesting read for sure.

    • M

      Michael C. BehrentOct 3, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks to Zach and Kasey for replying to my article. I think it is crucial students are involved in these discussions. Bill, thank you too. I don’t agree with everything you say, but that’s part of a discussion, and you raise important points. Let me just respond briefly:

      – I believe it is crucial that tenure-track (TT) faculty support non-tenure track (NTT) faculty. What’s happening with NTT in most universities is unconscionable.

      – That said, I do not believe that separating research from teaching and denigrating research is the right way to go. Not only is research—producing new knowledge—integral to the role of the university, but, in my experience, teachers who remain active scholars tend to be better teachers as a result. You’re right that some institutions encourage professors to privilege research at the expense of teaching—and if that’s your point, I fully agree. Moreover, I think it’s often under-recognized that NTT faculty actually do do research: what’s unfair is that this isn’t acknowledged. But, at the end of the day, the dividing line should not be between TT faculty and NTT faculty (especially since most TT faculty have experience being NTT at some point). We share too much in common. The dividing lines, in my humble opinion, are between those who actually fulfil the core mission of universities—teaching and research—and those who, though they do neither, earn dramatically superior salaries and have incredibly better working conditions.

      – I’m glad you mentioned the Northwestern report, but it would be better to mention the report itself rather than a second-hand summary of it. The report does not actually question the value of research, as one might gather from reading your post. It makes a rather strong case for the value of research; it suggests, however, that some should do teaching, and others should do research. If you’re going to rely on this research (and let’s not lose sight of the irony of the fact that you’re criticizing research-oriented professors by quoting a research institute, comprised of the those very research-producing professors you criticize), it’s worth quoting from the full article (available from the NBER via institutional subscriptions) at length: “Perhaps the growing practice of hiring a combination of research-intensive tenure track faculty members and teaching-intensive lecturers may be an efficient and educationally positive solution to a research university’s multi-tasking problem.” If one is going to accept the study you quote to its logical consequences, then this means one IS accepting a division of labor between research and teaching—not an abolition of the former. Just to be clear.

  • K

    KaseyOct 2, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I’m so thankful for Henry Giroux’s talk that was held on campus last week. It has brought light to some major issues that many students do not think about. We need to as a university acknowledge that this is affecting all of us. We should have a say! Thank you so much for writing this article!!

  • Z

    ZachOct 2, 2014 at 10:04 am

    These are issues that matter and nothing is going to get some by sitting silently and hoping for the best. Well said

    • Z

      ZachOct 2, 2014 at 10:05 am


    • H

      Hannah MalcolmOct 2, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      I absolutely agree with your assertion that “sitting silently” will accomplish nothing. So let’s not be silent. This ought to be the topic of discussion, not some new coach or the latest game.