11/22/07

Where has the New York Times Been on the Tenure Track Story?


The NYT is informing us about the skewed balance between adjunct and tenure track professors.

Here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/20/education/20adjunct.html?pagewanted=print

Wow. Thanks for the news flash.

There were two favorite moments in this article:

"Three decades ago, adjuncts — both part-timers and full-timers not on a tenure track — represented only 43 percent of professors, according to the professors association, which has studied data reported to the federal Education Department."


ONLY 43%? Does 43% seem like a low number to anyone? Alan Finder seems a bit out of his depth.

Other great moment:

"Tenure, a practice carried from Germany to the United States, was designed to guarantee academic freedom to professors by protecting them against dismissal. Some argue that it also protects incompetent or lazy teachers and sometimes leaves universities saddled with professors in disciplines that have lost currency."

Ah, the "some argue" technique for fake balance. "Some argue global warming is just a communist conspiracy." Again, where's the real balance?

The Times is so late to the party on this story, one wonders what they were doing in the three decades since the 43% was figure du jour.

11/3/07

Oil is at $150 per Barrell, Domestic Airfare's $800: What will Academics do?


This recent article about oil shock planning in the New York Times-- link is here http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/02/business/02wargame.html?_r=1&oref=slogin --should cause academics to sit up and notice.

The Times writes...
"War in Iran. Gasoline rationing, at $5 a gallon. A military draft. A Chinese takeover of Taiwan. A military anhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifd political confrontation with Venezuela. Double-digit inflation and unemployment. The draining of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve....$150-a-barrel oil."


What will academics do when these prices impact airfare? How will schools pay for travel to conferences? Will criteria for T and P change?


I would expect a lot will change. What I hope happens is consideration of localization of academic talent. Local conferences, local meetups, local interdisciplinary efforts in teaching. In conjunction, of course, with national and international scholarly efforts in publishing and blogging. Occasionally, a strong need will compel academics to fly. But until a new source of energy is found, it just might not be feasible.


We ought to think ahead about this.