Courting controversy pt. 2

September 5th, 2010 by james

Just a quick follow-up to last week’s post on changes in higher education. The New York Times published an article on Friday, highlighting two new books on the future of the American academy and picking up some of the points I discussed last time:

The labor system, for one thing, is clearly unjust. Tenured and tenure-track professors earn most of the money and benefits, but they’re a minority at the top of a pyramid. Nearly two-thirds of all college teachers are non-tenure-track adjuncts like Matt Williams, who told Hacker and Dreifus he had taught a dozen courses at two colleges in the Akron area the previous year, earning the equivalent of about $8.50 an hour by his reckoning. It is foolish that graduate programs are pumping new Ph.D.’s into a world without decent jobs for them.

But the real meat of the article is an overview of some interesting, but slightly terrifying, proposed solutions:

As for the humanities, let professors do research after-hours, on top of much heavier teaching schedules. “In other occupations, when people feel there is something they want to write, they do it on their own time and at their own expense,” the authors declare.

The authors being “Andrew Hacker, a professor emeritus of political science at Queens College, and Claudia C. Dreifus, a journalist (and contributor to the science section of The New York Times)”. You can thank them below.

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