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sympathy for the devil

I was caught deep in the dungeon of The Chronicle of Higher Educations's comments section on the latest "abolish all tenure" op-ed (to sell books) and realized I could in fact publish my findings as an entry. Alas, we strive here at USK to publish only first-time originals but forgive me for making an exception here or there. (Note: this piece may be slightly edited from its original found here as comment 47:

Please pardon any honesty, complexity, complicity with, or sympathy for the d----, or in this case, the tenured.

Well, here goes:

This is conjecture, not the almighty proof that only a billion-dollar research grant could provide me the time to provide, but I suspect that most anyone who is on the "anti-tenure" side in some sense probably:

a) feels very vulnerable at work, does not have tenure or union protection, and resents people with such security


b) does have tenure, hustles her ass off despite this, publishes new books every year, but in a free moment or two notices the tenured colleague next door is rarely in his office and when present can occasionally be seen surfing online for golf clubs and lingerie


c) is a parent who with kids in college or high school and has been reading that over half of America's undergraduate courses are taught by people with no job security or benefits


d) is tenured but affluent enough to survive this hypothetical move to FREE UNIVERSAL CONTRACT LABOR (or as Karl Rove would describe it, "Jobs and Growth")


e) believes that all research should pay for itself, presumably in the short term (which yes, now that you point that out, seems counter to the principles of research)


f) is also for moving more undergraduate tuition dollars into the classroom--perhaps where the sad sap adjunct faculty member engaged in his "regurgitation" could interupt his upchucking of the data and leap upon the students fighting for those dollars


g) is part of the demographic described in comment 44 but remains uncertain of his or her stance on tenure despite a sort of negative emotion associated with his tenured neighbor's rather nice car


h) is also irked by the contracts of athletic superstars although he can hardly imagine Stanley Fish's basketball exploits (as described in the NYTimes, no doubt a benificence brought to you by the makers of fine wine and tenure) comparing to the great feats of the Lebrons and Carmelos.

In conclusion, I suspect that choice (a) is the main reason. Folks feel vulnerable and resent others who seem less so (despite all of their incognito chronicle comment postings that seemingly suggest similar fears). Feel free to find me for (i) through (z). And in the mean time, fight for your long day!

Yours for all contigency appointments,

Alex Kudera
Well, that's what I posted over there. I'm feeling a bit guilty for having betrayed my caste, and I certainly have not yet been forwarded my raise. I suppose I better stoop lower and get back to grading papers.


Ken said…
The whole education system needs some remodeling. There is a major knowledge and tach understanding gap between professors and students attending college now. We see tenured professors on cruise control, not developing there craft. Then we see adjuncts and their toil for existence. I love adjuncts because they love teaching, but you must recognize the old phrase "Those that can DO, those that can't TEACH"

Just posted today about Some challenges Higher Ed faces.

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