Many Happy Returns

DAYS WITHOUT A CONTRACT: 411
DAYS UNTIL THE START OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR: 6

I am back in town and ready to blog, albeit probably with less coherency than normal, until I actually get another twelve hours of sleep.

That said, I’m only going to link up two things today (expect more content tomorrow morning, honest):

Letters to the editor [The Southern]
Scroll down to the second letter, titled “Why not criticize faculty and ‘so-called research?'” from Marvin Kleinau. Basically the letter seems to be a criticism of faculty criticizing the administration and calling for the administration to criticize faculty teaching and research… (And the circuitous of that sentence calls to mind the song from the Lion King, Circle of Life.) The sort of irony of his argument is that I generally thought that was what administration did, through vehicles like — oh, annual faculty reviews. Still, anyone want to take a stab at answering that?

Central Michigan U. Faculty Give Union Representatives a Green Light to Call a Strike [Chronicle of Higher Education]
97 percent of faculty voting at Central Michigan University voted to strike. Good luck to them, if they do go on strike. Like those of us who are on “strike watch,” I’m sure the goal is simply to get a good contract. A strike is a tool to do so.

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2 thoughts on “Many Happy Returns

  1. I was just about to rant about Kleinau’s letter over at deo volente but will do so here instead, since you beat me to it–again! The obvious fallacy in Kleinau’s letter is that administrators do evaluate faculty teaching and research. For tenure-track faculty this takes place most notably in the tenure decision, which lies ultimately with administrators. Although departmental faculty vote and their verdict, especially when they are united in their judgement pro or con, should be, and usually is, the decisive factor, we all know cases where administrators stepped in and decided that the faculty member’s research, teaching, and service weren’t good enough (usually research is held to be the culprit, of course), despite strong support from departmental faculty. So they were denied tenure–and thus effectively fired. Anyone who has been through the process knows how demanding and stressful it is.

    While abuses take place–in which good faculty are fired–and while poor faculty sometimes get through, so the system is far from flawless, it works reasonably well. It’s one of the main things TT faculty are trying to protect in contract negotiations. That’s right, we are trying to protect a system that gives administrators the final say in whether we are tenured & promoted–or fired. Sounds like an outrageous position to me . . .

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