(Though I think all of the *advertised* slots are now for full professors, who aren’t always susceptible to earnest appeals . . . . Present company excepted, of course!)]]>
The question isn’t whether it’s worth doing, which obviously I think it is. I was just responding to the claim that such work is *required* for *tenure.*]]>
And second, I also agree that the subset of people who are overwhelmed with research obligations is pretty small.
I do think that, in general, faculty don’t have a healthy attitude toward service. (And that attitude leads people to think of it as *only* bureaucratic, rather than meaningfully connected to teaching or research or whatever. If assessment only means, “my dean is making me do this,” as opposed to, “hey, let’s try this way of finding out what our department *actually* teaches,” then one’s likelier to complain about it more.)
(Having said all of this, I don’t mind admitting that within three hours of New Kid’s comment, I got two new requests for service that really couldn’t be turned down, which is pretty funny.)]]>
Moreover, I think the “self-generated” thing is a red herring – it’s not about making more work for yourself, it’s about doing an excellent job. Sure, you didn’t have to make all the changes to your courses and so on, but it’s not so much that you decided to do that work to do more work – it’s that you decided to do that work in order to do your job *well.* I think it’s perfectly reasonable to recognize the constraints in academia that make it hard to do everything well without working 60+ hours a week. To me, Bauerlein’s post basically says, Why try to excel? Coast and be mediocre, or if you do try to excel, you have no right to complain about the difficulty in doing so.
That being said – yeah, I think it’s silly for academics to complain about how their research is too much work, when it’s what they (in theory) love to do. But I don’t know academics who complain about being overworked because they have too many research irons in the fire. They complain about being overworked primarily because of bureaucratic service requirements, and because of things like increasing student enrollments in writing classes, and grading. It’s all relative, of course – colleagues at both my former jobs complained about such stuff, and Former College folk had it WAY easier than Rural Utopia folk – and some people are going to complain no matter what their situation is. But nonetheless, everyone I know who has a t-t job considers themselves lucky to have it. It is just frustrating that 90% of the non-academic world seems to think professors sit around eating bon-bons when we’re not teaching our six hours of class a week (as if it were only six!).]]>
Some hires, though, have been brought in to grow the department in specific ways, and there’s an expectation that they would develop new courses.
(And, to be clear: I’ve taught lots of different classes, and developed new ones, &c.)
Since I’m both untenured and not-pseudonymous, I’ll refrain from commenting too directly on the question of rising research standards, which is an issue at my school as well. I’ll just say that there always seems to be a gap between the actual increase in the standard, and the perception of an increase. But that’s a vicious cycle: As assistant professors crank out more research, the administration can sit back and say, “see–maybe we really *should* raise the standards.”
This thing you call “merit pay raises,” we don’t have that. It’s a union campus.]]>
I agree that much of this work is self-generated, but that’s because it’s the nature of the profession: that we must be self-generating in terms of our work because there isn’t the same kind of oversight that there is in corporate America. That said, even if we must motivate ourselves, that doesn’t mean that the work involved isn’t a prerequisite for success or economic sustainability. He implies that we could make the same money, have the same career, even if we didn’t “choose” to work as much. At least at my institution, this is just not true.
Now, my institution is one with a 4/4. So perhaps he’d give me a pass. But I would argue that the same is true for many at institutions with slightly lesser loads, as well as schools that are “research” universities.
I’ll tell you, if I’d taught the same four courses in rotation to tenure, I wouldn’t get tenure here. If I’d not published at all, I wouldn’t get tenure. If I did that stuff after tenure, I wouldn’t get merit pay raises and I wouldn’t get promoted. Perhaps that’s not the case everywhere, but neither is it the case that we could all “choose” to work less with no repercussions.
That said, we could all bitch about it all less 🙂]]>