Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Adjunct faculty members are the invisible men and women of modern academia."

From Randall Smith, writing in Public Discourse:

Let me suggest that one of the closest things we have to “guilds” in modern American society are the professional academic societies: the American Philosophical Association, the American Political Science Association, and a host of others across the academic disciplines. And in all three areas I’ve just set forth—sensible training and raising up of apprentices, care that there were not too many apprentices for possible positions, and protection of those at the bottom of the guild hierarchy from abuse—the modern academic associations have failed miserably.

Graduate students are allowed to tread water with their heads barely above the surface for year after year without appropriate guidance. There is often little or no thought among graduate faculty to the placement of their graduates in appropriate jobs, or whether in fact perhaps their own graduate program ought to close to help clear up the glut of excess graduate students on the market.

Closing such graduate programs would of course necessitate two grievous sufferings that many senior faculty members are unwilling to undergo: the loss of the prestige that comes with teaching in a graduate program and the terrifying possibility of actually being required to teach freshmen in introductory-level courses. 

It is crucial, in my view, that senior faculty show themselves willing to make the necessary sacrifices for justice rather than merely laying the blame solely at the feet of administrators. Senior faculty must shoulder their share of the blame.

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