Vince Pitelka on wed 24 aug 05
> I was talking to him last week about this and he pointed out that the art
> department is replacing full professors with part-time employees! My
> is that only the department heads, or maybe only the dean, will be full
> Frankly, from the college's perspective, it makes sense. My prof teaches
> only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12/13-hour days to be sure, but that
> make 40 in a week. I don't know whether there would be enough students to
> fill more classes.
From the college's perspective, it only makes sense from a financial point
of view, but the "bottom line" seems to be the deciding factor in so many
situations in academia these days, and the quality of education suffers.
The college administration accepts the loss of quality and continuity as a
trade off for money saved. It is one of the great ongoing tragedies in
higher education today. It happens more often in community colleges than at
4-year colleges and universities, but it is rampant at all levels. The
American Association of University Professors has made it one of their top
priorities to combat this trend.
Your comment that your prof doesn't teach anywhere near 40 hours per week is
typical of the kind of misunderstanding that encourages this trend. I know
from experience that you are a very smart, savvy person, Linda, so surely
you know of all the responsibilities that full time faculty have in addition
to their teaching. When they replace full-time faculty with adjuncts, who
does this work? The answer is that no one does it, and the whole character
and effectiveness of the program deteroriates over time.
I teach 18 contact hours per week as a full teaching load, but I work way
more than 40 hours per week, and there is no wasted time. I'll not bore you
with an inventory of all the peripheral responsibilities, but they are all
very necessary, and I take pride in doing them well.
Full-time faculty are the ones that really enrich a department with the
depth of their involvement, and they give the program continuity over time,
maintaining the standards, keeping all the programs going, building the
curriculum, building the reputation. Adjuncts are often excellent teachers,
but they tend to "teach and run" and rarely have responsibilities beyond
teaching their classes. In so many colleges and universities the turnover
of adjuncts is very high, and in too many cases they are barely qualified
for their teaching assignments. Adjuncts teach on contracts renewable from
semester to semester. If they speak out on controversial issues and anger
someone in administration, they are done. Freedom of expression flies out
the window. This is a very frequent occurence. When a college or
university shifts over to using adjuncts, in so many cases they end up with
a tame stable of teachers who are willing to do the university's bidding for
a pittance. It really is a deplorable situation.
Appalachian Center for Craft, Tennessee Technological University
Smithville TN 37166, 615/597-6801 x111
Linda Ferzoco on thu 25 aug 05
On Wed, 24 Aug 2005 19:49:34 -0500, Vince Pitelka
>Your comment that your prof doesn't teach anywhere near 40 hours per week is
>typical of the kind of misunderstanding that encourages this trend.
Yes, I knew that folks would say this and I'm sure that what you say about
full-time profs at 4-year schools is true, but this guy has no such load I
can assure you. Nothing like what you describe below. He isn't even on
campus the rest of the week. And the dean insists that all teachers do a
project each year, so he creates some piece with one hand tied behind his
back and that's it.
Don't get me wrong; I like Joe. But, the school hasn't asked for enough.
As a taxpayer, I should be getting more for my dollar snf the kids should be
getting more. God, stuff like this might make me sound like a Republican,
perish the thought!
>from experience that you are a very smart, savvy person, Linda, so surely
>you know of all the responsibilities that full time faculty have in addition
>to their teaching.
vide supra (that's me being a smarty pants)
Donna Kat on sat 27 aug 05
On Wed, 24 Aug 2005 19:49:34 -0500, Vince Pitelka
>> Frankly, from the college's perspective, it makes sense. My prof teaches
>> only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12/13-hour days to be sure, but that
>> make 40 in a week. I don't know whether there would be enough students
>> fill more classes.
>From the college's perspective, it only makes sense from a financial point
>of view, but the "bottom line" seems to be the deciding factor in so many
>situations in academia these days, and the quality of education suffers.
This post's header should be changed to "the Dumbing down of the U.S.A.".
It is Saturday afternoon and while I sit here typing my husband, a full
professor, is in at the desk reading a paper for a journal. When he has
finished he will spend the evening writing a review. In our 25 years of
marriage we have had two real vacations. While he is now only teaching at
most two classes a semester, he works both evenings and weekends doing the
chores unrelated to tearching that come with the job. His summer 'break'
of one month is spent catching up on writing papers from the research done
through the year. In every profession there is the deadwood that only does
what they have to in order to 'get by' but that does not represent the
More and more I see our country doing things on the 'cheap and easy'. This
may increase the profit in the short run but eventually your product is
going to be inferior and people will go elsewhere to spend what up front
cost more but is a better and more cost effective product. That is why
Japanese cars are big sellers in this country and why we are now losing the
foreign students we used to get.
I'm reminded of when we worked at Yale. They were so blown up about
being 'Yale' that they based everything on a reputation they once had and
invested nothing in what they were. When we left there the department was
unable to hire replacements. You can only rest on your laurels for so long.
We have been beating our chest and declaring how great we are so loudly
that we have forgotten to take care of the business of what it takes to be
great. If you want a promising future, you have to educate your children
and take care of their and the lands health. If you love your country, you
don't wave a flag and say it is OK to destroy it within to make us 'feel'
safe by destroying civil rights (at the same time giving more protections
to corporations than our people). OK, had my rant. It is a red button
issue with me. Donna