Two links that have left me thoroughly depressed.

19 04 2010

First, there’s Thomas Reeves’, “What do professors want?,” at Mercator.net. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around all the implications of this one, but here’s the problem in a nutshell:

A friend’s son, a brand new pharmacist, recently started work at a local drug store with a salary that exceeded my University of Wisconsin System salary when I retired as a full professor.

Then this part really hits home:

The education of the professor’s children is another sticky point. Good private schools are out of reach financially, and religious schools are, well, religious. That leaves the public schools, which all good humanists officially champion. Those who know better feel obligated to remind colleagues and neighbors that young people learn a lot about “real life” while evading bullies, drug dealers, and gangs, and being instructed by teachers whose true calling in life was employment at Wal-Mart.

It’s not so much the public schools part that bothers me, it’s the fact that I worry about paying for college when I work at one. In fact, I just got the letter from my Provost recommending me for promotion to full Professor, and I’m too worried about paying college tuition in two years to thoroughly enjoy it.

Now let’s head downhill on another slope:

Marc Bousquet, “Academic Freedom RIP,” from How the University Works:

“Think you enjoy academic freedom? Think again. In July 2007, the American Sociological Association reported that 1/3 of its members felt that their academic freedoms were threatened, a significantly higher figure than the 1/5 recorded during the McCarthy years. What this suggests is that witch-hunts haven’t gone away; they just don’t attract as many headlines. (Just last month, Bill Ayers was disinvited from another lecture: ho-hum.) Today, even tenured faculty at top research schools can legally be disciplined and harassed for questioning the administration in a department meeting.”

The book he’s previewing sounds really interesting, but I’m going to have to seriously cheer up before I have the strength to read it.

Anybody seen any happy news today?


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