Comments on: For-profit flim flam http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/20/for-profit-flim-flam/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sun, 28 Sep 2014 05:09:30 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/20/for-profit-flim-flam/comment-page-1/#comment-715397 Tue, 21 Sep 2010 16:33:02 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12526#comment-715397 Funny coincidence: I just received an e-mail from a student of mine from 4-1/2 years ago. He had contacted me earlier in the summer for a letter of recommendation, and wanted to report that he was enrolled in the graduate program of his choice and doing well.

Would a student who had taken a class with a temporary or “special” faculty member 4+ years earlier be able to track down that adjunct for a letter? Would she remember him well enough to write an effective letter on his behalf? Would he care enough to keep her posted about his professional progress? I don’t know for sure, but I’m glad for this student’s sake (and many others) that I’m not an adjunct.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/20/for-profit-flim-flam/comment-page-1/#comment-715298 Tue, 21 Sep 2010 14:06:01 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12526#comment-715298 Natalis–that’s true. I didn’t mean to demean the contributions of non-tt faculty. However, because at-will employees have a tendency NOT to be around more than a few years, it’s difficult if not impossible for even dedicated former students to track them down and request letters of recommendation, references, etc. Relying on temps to do the full-time work is short-sighted at best, and abusive of both faculty and students at worst.

Perpetua–I see what you’re saying, and I didn’t like Bob Smith’s punative approach either. However, I think it’s more than a little ethically dodgy for tenured or tenure-track folks to moonlight at another institution. But, “special” and other non-tenure track faculty–all’s fair in love and war, right? (Another reason why it’s professionally and ethically dubious to try to run a uni on non-tenure track labor.)

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By: Natalis http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/20/for-profit-flim-flam/comment-page-1/#comment-715279 Tue, 21 Sep 2010 13:24:39 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12526#comment-715279 In an ideal world, non-ttt faculty should not be expected “to explain details about the curriculum, answer questions about required coursework for the major, advise students adequately, and provide letters of recommendation or serve as references…” In the real world, instructors, lecturers, and adjunct faculty DO all these things.

This is not to diminish the underlying truth of Historiann’s statement: industry “best practice” would dictate that only those faculty compensated for these “extras” can be expected to do them. Reality dictates that everyone in the boat has to bail, particularly if one is an at will employee with one’s job perpetually on the line. More importantly, being non-ttt does not deplete goodwill or compassion. If worthy students come to ask for a rec or advising, good faculty members (ttt or no) tend not to turn them away. Universities then capitalize on this goodwill to extract more labor with lower capital outlays.

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By: Perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/20/for-profit-flim-flam/comment-page-1/#comment-715264 Tue, 21 Sep 2010 12:33:41 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12526#comment-715264 Love this from the article: “When faculty have a full-time position, there’s an expectation from students, parents, taxpayers that they’re fully committed to it,” he says, “not that they’re also working part-time for a for-profit and contributing to that company’s profits.” I have an idea – how about paying faculty enough money that they don’t NEED a second job? And he’s clear that he’s talking about tenure-track faculty here, working as he admits (with two job) 70-75 hrs a week.

I completely agree with your points about transparency and faculty, Historiann. I don’t mean to derail the aspect of this issue you want to talk about. I was just so struck by the POV of administrators that “We need transparency so we can punish our full time faculty for needing extra work.” There’s this bizarre, unintended subtext to it about how miserable it is to be a t-t faculty in some places. And the invocation of the taxpayer’s rights and expectations! Oy ve!

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/20/for-profit-flim-flam/comment-page-1/#comment-715098 Mon, 20 Sep 2010 23:54:12 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12526#comment-715098 It’s NOT!!!

But apparently, university administrators aren’t always thinking with 5 or 10 years’ foresight. To be fair, many of them have to solve budget crises NOW NOW NOW so maybe they don’t have that luxury all of the time. But still–someone needs to remind them that universities are more than just places where the middle-class earns credentials. The whole thing relies on a great deal of institutional memory and the goodwill of faculty who have been offered the privilege of tenure.

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By: truffula http://www.historiann.com/2010/09/20/for-profit-flim-flam/comment-page-1/#comment-714976 Mon, 20 Sep 2010 19:35:21 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12526#comment-714976 provide letters of recommendation or serve as references for students who might have graduated a year or two (or six) ago

Hey, how’s that going to work in the brave new world of online classes?

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