Academic Issues From A Very Contrarian Point of View Monday: On Rights for Non Tenure Track Faculty

Do you think all the kind articles about how adjuncts and other non tenure track faculty should be well treated is part of the abolition of tenure generally?

An old colleague of mine thought adjuncts, instructors, and non tenure track faculty should have non ideal working conditions precisely so that they would either go on for the PhD or go into another industry. Improvement of working conditions for this group was merely an effort to keep them there and make the PhD, research, and a part in governance seem superfluous if not downright unattractive.

I wonder: if the point of being on the tenure track or tenured is not having academic freedom but having decent working conditions, and if the latter are then extended to non tenure track faculty, such that tenure is no longer a necessary protection against abuse, is all of this not a convenient way of taking academic freedom (as well as a few other old fashioned goods) out of the equation?


7 thoughts on “Academic Issues From A Very Contrarian Point of View Monday: On Rights for Non Tenure Track Faculty

  1. P.S. I just claimed some academic freedom in real life, by announcing my refusal to test from a test bank. “I will not surrender, and I await you here,” said I, quoting Sandino. “I want a free classroom or death.”

  2. I’ve heard that, too–“academic tough love.” Of course, it’s always a TENURED person who thinks that a job smackdown is a good idea . . .

  3. Well, my colleague who first said it was an untenured assistant professor, and here it’s actually the untenured assistant professors who are into it. It’s not a smackdown, it’s a legitimate claim about academic freedom. One departing assistant professor after another has pointed this out.

  4. P.S. Also: the administration’s line for our subunit has traditionally been that assistant professors who think it is unfair that they be harassed and blocked from doing their work just want to deliver “job smackdowns.” But we tenured folk want junior faculty to get developed, not stunted as we were. I would like to see it become possible for new assistant professors to make good careers here — not to have to move or leave the profession.

  5. Here one “Mark” commented that faculty publications are boring and that the “best teachers” are “part-timers.”

    He said all faculty should be converted into part timers and teach English composition.

    He said he was an adjunct, himself.

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