Comments on: The origins of the casualization of academic labor http://www.historiann.com/2010/11/19/the-origins-of-the-casualization-of-academic-labor/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sun, 21 Sep 2014 07:01:11 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Teaching Carnival 4.4 - ProfHacker - The Chronicle of Higher Education http://www.historiann.com/2010/11/19/the-origins-of-the-casualization-of-academic-labor/comment-page-1/#comment-747702 Wed, 01 Dec 2010 13:04:37 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13259#comment-747702 [...] argues that “Administrators are the authors of [the] shift from tenured to casual labor.” Dean Dad responds that administrators are really simply the bearers of the bad [...]

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/11/19/the-origins-of-the-casualization-of-academic-labor/comment-page-1/#comment-742708 Sun, 21 Nov 2010 18:23:39 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13259#comment-742708 Y’know what? Let him buy his own damn copy. He’s not tenured, but he’s got a cushy gig at Harper’s now.

Thanks for your perspective on this, comparatrice. But Chicago most certainly does use adjuncts or non-tenure track lecturers: for example, the most famous adjunct faculty member in the world!

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By: comparatrice http://www.historiann.com/2010/11/19/the-origins-of-the-casualization-of-academic-labor/comment-page-1/#comment-742701 Sun, 21 Nov 2010 18:08:30 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13259#comment-742701 I’d love to know where Frank was temping back in the mid-1990s. My bet that it wasn’t Chicago State or Northern Illinois, and that it was someplace like Chicago or Northwestern.

Chicago (my alma mater) wouldn’t have had a lot of adjuncts teaching a subject like history; IME they were always reluctant even to let grad students teach, apart from foreign languages. It’s part of the pseudo-SLACky culture of The College. When I read “a college in Chicago” I figured it was Columbia College (I don’t know why; you just get certain pictures in your head of the happy mid-90s life of a history PhD running into his Columbia students at the Empty Bottle, apparently), and that he was using his friends’ anecdotes to authorize the leap to the general case about tenured faculty and adjuncts.

I think people do often have these conversations, over drinks or whatever: consciousness-raising derailed by conspiracy theory. “OMG, we are all adjuncting, the tenure-stream faculty is against us, this is The New Normal, this is The Way It Works…” Turning it into a Harper’s article 15 years later, though… yeah, you want to do a little more research first. We could take up a collection and send him Marc Bousquet’s book.

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By: Warnings from the Dead! : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2010/11/19/the-origins-of-the-casualization-of-academic-labor/comment-page-1/#comment-742686 Sun, 21 Nov 2010 17:10:15 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13259#comment-742686 [...] of her advice falls into the category of avoiding “invisible teaching work,” as Dr. Crazy memorably named it.  Why should we pay the price for administrative [...]

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/11/19/the-origins-of-the-casualization-of-academic-labor/comment-page-1/#comment-742658 Sun, 21 Nov 2010 15:10:46 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13259#comment-742658 D.J.: this is exactly why I wrote this post. People who aren’t in tenure-track lines don’t always understand that departments aren’t in control of the budget. It’s not like we have a pile of money, and we can decide that we can either hire one tenure-track colleague or three adjunct instructors. Instead, we’re told by the Dean, who in turn was probably told by the Provost, “no, no hires this year–but you can have money to hire three adjunct instructors because we need X number of seats in history classes.”

I’m sorry that the administration at your uni is taking advantage of your determination to serve your majors well.

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By: D. J. http://www.historiann.com/2010/11/19/the-origins-of-the-casualization-of-academic-labor/comment-page-1/#comment-742641 Sun, 21 Nov 2010 13:23:10 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13259#comment-742641 Here’s a new game my administration is playing with full-time faculty in my department – stealth increases of teaching load. Things like: classes with under 15 students don’t count, so even though you need to keep teaching them (to serve our majors or grad students) we will still schedule you with a full load of 40-student-plus classes. A friend of mine showed up at the beginning of the semester to find that she had been scheduled for 5 classes instead of 4 (large classes, different preps). No extra money, no asking if she minds, just, whoops, here’s your teaching schedule and I guess you’ll have to teach it because there’s no one else who can. Unfortunately teaching load is not in our contract and we have no union. When we say no, we can’t do this, you’ll have to hire an adjunct, I really don’t want to be blamed for causing the problem of adjunctification.

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By: KC http://www.historiann.com/2010/11/19/the-origins-of-the-casualization-of-academic-labor/comment-page-1/#comment-742550 Sun, 21 Nov 2010 02:57:36 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13259#comment-742550 I confess that the gears of university budgets don’t make any sense to me at all. Like other people, I see a long-standing trend towards adjunctification, towards higher enrollments, and towards higher tuition, yet the financial health of the institution just seems to get worse and worse. I know that, at least in the case of my state school, we’ve seen severe drops in state aid owing to the budget crisis, and that explains a lot of the austerity measures we are facing now. But this crisis seems only to have accelerated already existing trends.

I don’t think Frank really knows what he’s talking about. Tenured and tenured-track faculty are not the ones clamoring for more cheap labor. That’s something I’ve never come across, at all.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/11/19/the-origins-of-the-casualization-of-academic-labor/comment-page-1/#comment-742531 Sun, 21 Nov 2010 00:42:21 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13259#comment-742531 Mamie, what you describe is the adjunctification of tenure-track jobs. Now, that’s equality for ya!

I’d love to know where Frank was temping back in the mid-1990s. My bet that it wasn’t Chicago State or Northern Illinois, and that it was someplace like Chicago or Northwestern. (Although even at those unis I truly doubt his implication that somehow tenured faculty teaching loads were reduced as a direct result of the use of adjunct labor.) Like most critics of academe who never spent years on the job market and have never worked in a tenure-track job, he doesn’t get it that most of us end up at Chicago State or Northern Illinois, not Chicago or Northwestern.

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By: Mamie http://www.historiann.com/2010/11/19/the-origins-of-the-casualization-of-academic-labor/comment-page-1/#comment-742530 Sun, 21 Nov 2010 00:22:38 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13259#comment-742530 In my department, nearly everyone in a tenure line teaches a nine-hour load. Of those three classes, two are 100-level general education courses. Among our adjuncts, all of whom are part-time, everyone who has a Ph.D. teaches a 400-level class, pretty much every semester. This distribution results from the university’s focus on credit-hour production per dollar of salary. Truly, if carried to the extreme, this would result in full-time faculty teaching nothing but large service courses and adjuncts being assigned the seminars and upper-level classes. My usual nine-hour load offerd seats to just over 200 students a semester, justifying my employment.

This is not, I think, what Frank imagines is going on.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/11/19/the-origins-of-the-casualization-of-academic-labor/comment-page-1/#comment-742441 Sat, 20 Nov 2010 15:31:05 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13259#comment-742441 English Prof.: I think you’re right. But I think the examples you choose (not unreasonably), English and Chemistry and foreign languages, do not reflect the practices of other departments. Regular faculty in my department must teach a 100-level course every two years, and some volunteer to teach it annually. I don’t know if my department it just more democratic than others, or if other history departments follow this practice, but it’s only recently that the regular faculty have shifted to an every-other-year schedule instead of an annual requirement for a 100-level class. History departments tend to be rather proud about the importance of having experienced faculty teach our lower-division courses.

My department regularly offers our adjuncts a mixture of service classes and upper-divison lecture courses (and even sometimes senior seminars.) It is true that they teach more service courses than the regular faculty, but I’d say that there’s some logic in that: only regular faculty, for example, teach graduate classes, and regular faculty have been recruited in national searches to teach specialized courses in their fields, whereas adjuncts and lecturers usually come from a local pool and aren’t necessarily hired because of their particular area of specialization (although frequently that’s of use to us as well, given the gaping holes left among our regular faculty.) And, in my department T.A. assistance is distributed equally–anyone teaching a 100-level class gets a T.A., period, regardless of tenure-track or adjunct status.

Early in my career I had some course releases and then a medical leave, so I was in the position of having to teach a 100-level class while the department Chair had to find a specialist in my field to teach some early American classes because of our previously inflexible rule that regular faculty had to teach one 100-level class per year. That was an unnecessary burden on the Chair, and a ridiculous waste of my expertise, in my view. That’s one reason we changed that rule.

But I agree with you in principle that teaching should be more fairly distributed across the curriculum.

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