Monthly Archives: January 2019

Perhaps the twain is not destined to meet

The people who say there is no difference between the MA and the PhD are also those who say that if there were no tenure, everyone would be FTE with benefits. They have a really different idea of the university than I do and it appears to be a for-profit community college.

I believe in the unity of teaching and research but I have a more Humboldtian education than I had realized heretofore. Many people do not, and in fact in the United States the other vision is that of the English college.

I remember that even when I was a child, adults would argue about this. Some said the “teachers” at the community college were better, and others pointed out that the university did research.

Everyone seems to believe there is a conflict between teaching and research but in the Humboldtian model there is not, that is to say, there is hardly. There is, however, a great conflict between the idea of the college that transmits knowledge, and the university that creates it.

There are, of course, possible problems with the idea of constant progress, constant revolution, constant production.

Axé.

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Rosa Luxemburg suffered more, and accomplished more in less time

And she was executed, after torture, one hundred years ago tomorrow. She hated Prussian men.

In this rentrée, how many of your departments were threatened with loss of program? It happens to us every third year or so and it is very unsettling. I am sure it is a tactic designed to throw us off our game and distract us into self-defense mode, such that we then give them reason to say our evaluations and publications and grantraising fell. I am very tired of it. It amounts to harassment, not because the threat isn’t real but because we are asked to make efforts at program expansion while the administration makes efforts to sabotage these, and when we reach a stalemate, we are then left alone for a year or more.
In the first year, we recover, in the second, we plan on our own terms, in the third, we really start to stream ahead with our work, and then the war is started again.

Also, I spent over an hour making career and graduate school plans with one of our minors, who graduated in December, and was glad to do it, BUT: in the past I could have claimed this as a teaching activity, which is how I think of it, but now it would be a service activity, and would only count if the student were a major and were assigned to me. So I guess it is public service. But my point is that it was meaningful, something a professor should do with this student, and in this case I was the right one to do it, but because this one does not fall within our statistics it is exactly the kind of thing the university considers meaningless now, and because the university had not specifically assigned me to do this for and with this student, they can accuse me of having wasted time today by doing it. D–n them, really.

Axé.

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1er. monde

I am glad to be able to travel so much but I wish it took less thought. Since getting back from California it has taken a whole day to fully figure out how to do a weekend of professional travel to Washington, and another to Atlanta. It takes thought because it has to be done economically, cannot be done exhaustingly, and must leave some time for exploration.

In calendar 2019, we have:
* March: Atlanta, Washington … both arranged!
* April: Taos, [New Orleans] … to arrange in February!
* May: California … to arrange soon!
* June: [Florida], Washington … perhaps do in the simplest way possible!
* July: [Mexico] … optional!
* August: California … to arrange soon!
* September:
* October:
* November: Washington … perhaps do in the simplest way possible!
* December: California … arrange this in September / October!

This will make as many as ten total round trip plane rides in 2019. I now see why people have secretaries to make their travel arrangements.

Since I have been flying on Delta I really ought to begin using my Delta frequent flyer account more consistently. In California I stay in Air BnB, so I should join Delta Air Bnb and accumulate Delta miles. And I need to arrange that first California trip now so that the good places to stay are not gone, and because I have it almost conceptualized. There are so many other arrangements I will need to make.

Axé.

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Filed under Juegos, News

An argument I will not have again

1/ All institutions need more tenure track hires. That doesn’t mean everyone has to emphasize research to the exclusion of everything else; it means everyone deserves to be on some form of tenure track.

2/ If you have your NTT people on FTE, with benefits, pensions, offices, telephones, and representation in shared governance, that is good (and forsooth, you should have accomplished it by now), but it is not enough.

3/ If you are one of those people who says, “Gosh! We should really start saying hello to our NTT people in the halls, it is so rude of us to ignore them, as we do!” you were clearly very poorly brought up, what can I say. But don’t start greeting them and congratulate yourself for having taken important political action. When you start greeting them, all you will have done is take a small step toward minimal politeness.

4/ Don’t think you’re going to be able to run a program, or a quality program if you relinquish all your TT lines. Realize as well that you may not be attractive enough to move to unless you can offer the TT; and that even if you are, many others are not.

5/ People who say there is no difference between the M.A. and the Ph.D., and that an NTT job with perks is good enough, are neither serious nor sincere. They are just trying to get away with continuing to overburden and underemploy, while representing themselves as heroic champions of the downtrodden.

Axé.

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Filed under Movement, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Well

Clearly, I worked too hard too late yesterday.  I knew I was exhausting myself, and I am exhausted. This morning I have lolled about, reading news and e-mail.

Today I will make three phone calls and work out, and work for fifteen minutes. This should put me in shape again.

Axé.

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And so

After sleeping late and reading news, I worked on travel plans for a conference and wrote 150 words of a proposal. I wrote two letters that needed writing, and I will make two phone calls and work out tonight.

Update: what I really did was add 580 words to the proposal and hit submit.

Moral 1: once you get started, it’s hard to stop.

Comment: most of the proposal was cannibalized from prose I already had drafted. It still took all afternoon and into the evening, partly due to formatting issues, but mostly due to rereading, thinking, and arranging.

Moral 2: things take a long time, there’s no escaping it. When I am told I must finish things in less time than they really take, I find that I simply stop. Ergo, just allowing myself to spend a good 7 hours on a good 700 words, even when I started out with a draft, has to be considered good enough by every efficiency expert, because doing this at least put me in a position to hit submit.

Axé.

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