Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Lunchtime Reading

Sept. 11 is coming up. Read Lileks for a moving homage to the badly scarred Coal and Iron buidling.

Change in the academia-- N.Y.U. President Says Teaching Isn't Such a Novel Idea. The president of NYU is making his faculty actually teach undergraduates. He also wants to create new levels of professors -- not just adjuncts and full time profs. Experts don't think he's going to bring about any big revolution:

Large universities have always paid lip service to the importance of undergraduate education, but when they make hiring and promotion decisions, "publish or perish" generally rules. Weak teachers who publish in top journals often win promotions and tenure; prize-winning teachers whose publications are not deemed first-rate are often refused tenure.

Harvard and Yale have made some changes.

But Dr. Sexton's proposals are probably the first to consider creating new categories of professors.

Dr. Sexton's plan stems partly from his belief that better teaching will make the university more attractive, moving it up in rankings. But it also grows out of a personal love affair with teaching, which he calls "a sacred duty and privilege."

I love this man.

His proposal to create more levels of professors works out really well for me. I am beginning to worry that I will not get a tenure track position because I've had to take off a few years to raise kids. There is just too much competition out there for a chairman to bother hiring someone with several years of part-time work. There are so many great candidates with pages of peer reviewed articles that I don't stand a chance.

And I really like working part-time right now. I get to use my brains and raise the kids. How would great would it be if I actually got paid for it? All my money goes right to babysitter. In fact, the babysitter does better than I do. With Sexton's system, non-tenure track faculty would be better compensated.

What would happen to tenure track jobs? Would there be less of them? Would they be relieved from classroom teaching?

See, change is happening.

UPDATE: Read The Invisible Adjunct for a more well thought out discussion of this topic.

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