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Three thematically-related links have crossed the threshold of my attention recently, and have resonated particularly powerfully with me given my current academic liminality.
 
First, Inside Higher Education notes that this year, the number of full-time administrators has for the first time exceeded the number of full-time faculty employed in higher education. Follow-up data on the proportion of full-time to part-time faculty and on the proportion of a faculty member’s time spent on institutional administration would (I suspect) underline the conclusion that the contemporary educational economy has shifted, and continues to shift, away from teaching and learning and toward survival-mode management skills (meet, obfuscate, produce data that affirm one’s productivity, and so on).
 
Second, Marc Bousquet over at How The University Works notes that the management rhetoric of “quality” amounts, in essence, to “more bricks, less straw.” As Chris pointed out to me in directing me to the site, the powerful exposition is as nothing compared to the punch line. Several institutions have considered appointing me their deans, in which processes I have always emphasized my commitment to situating the care and feeding, encouragement and promotion of the faculty at the center of a flourishing school; perhaps the contrast between my ardor for the faculty’s role in healthy educational life (on one hand) and Bousquet’s article (on the other) provides one clue about why schools have, in the end, chosen other candidates.
 
Third, Lee Wilson reports on a “future of academic publishing” round table he attended. In response, I’ll just observe that something is happening here, but I’m not sure they know what it is. Although the Disseminary project (for a variety of reasons) turned out not to have the catalytic effect I had hoped for, you can see scattered examples of the principles I articulated relative to the Disseminary at work in various settings (though not, at the moment, in way that draws them together in a coherent, complementary project).

1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. I don’t think it’s just administrative nonsense, though I do agree that’s part of it.

    Another part is the steady and relentless deprofessionalization of teaching at the college level. There’s probably the same number of Ph.D classroom hours, all told — but more and more of those hours aren’t by full-timers.

    Academia has no one to blame for THAT one but itself, I fear.

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