• February 22, 2017

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February 22, 2017, 9:17:37 am *
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News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
 
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 1 
 on: Today at 09:01:31 am 
Started by spork - Last post by tenured_feminist
Wow, Polly (about the crisis of all those small, similarly situated SLACs).

I worry some about the strategy of ramping up large institutional projects to address student demand. Engineering is all the rage right now, and my institution is starting up a new engineering college. Of course we will hire tenure-stream faculty and a slew of administrators, including a dean, and we will do a national search to get someone "visible" and likely not cheap. I am not convinced, though, that said college is going to increase our yield by 200 students a year, and even if it does, for how long? The problem with chasing student demand is that demand can be ephemeral, new colleges take time to build and establish, it's expensive to do this, and everyone and her sister is reading the same studies about student demand. In our situation, we already have a superb engineering college at another institution that's less than ten miles away. I worry that we have just sunk everything into a white elephant that's going to drain us for years to come.

Don't even get me started on IB/AP/university in the high school stuff. The UHS courses in particular are a devil's pact that everyone agrees not to look at too closely because everyone benefits -- except the students who might actually need college-level mastery of material for which they are getting credit. I wish we could demand that our majors take our intro course with us, but it's politically impossible right now, so they come in with a hodgepodge of exceptionally poor to mediocre preparation. Even a 5 on an AP exam doesn't indicate mastery, and we happily accept 3s. Then there's our chancellor's obsession with "systemness," which means that we have to accept the online version of our intro course taught to 200 students by an overburdened adjunct faculty member if it's from the state university system -- and we can't even indicate that it's not the same thing as the course taught here by a very senior professor who's nationally  known in the field and is currently on the sixth edition of one of the main textbooks for the course. 

I also find it troubling that the message of "college is so expensive, do everything you can to save money!" is so dominant. I think we do a pretty decent job with EOP students if we get them as freshmen. We have the infrastructure to maintain a good support system. We do well with our transfers as well, but in large part because the ones who come to us are victors in the Darwinian struggle to make it out of our community college system and through our gates. I really wonder if some of those students whose parents are figuring to save some money by having their children start at community college aren't being penny wise and pound foolish. I think their children might have been among the 80%+ we retain and graduate if they'd started with us instead of struggling to make it into the significantly smaller percentage who finish AA degrees and still have the juice to make the walk over.

 2 
 on: Today at 08:14:24 am 
Started by bazouges - Last post by mamselle
In the lit review it's important, but unless the article is simply a state-of-the-scholarship update, it needs more than what I abbreviate as Cf/ct in my notes...you need to be advancing that scholarship in some dynamic way, not simply documenting how things are at the moment.

Cf/ct is more a teaching tool in the visual arts, especially. Students are asked to do it on tests to hone their eye....I tell mine it's to get them to"see what they look at, and look at what they see."

But unless your comparison brings you to some startling new conclusion--like finding that Cezanne was only following Tiepolo in creating disjunct lines across interrupive objects, not instigating that idiom (that's an example, I'm not saying it's true)--you aren't really contributing to the scholarship at any functional level, which usually involves engagement with primary source materials in texted as well as visual realms, even if your narrative follows a visual thread as its armature.

I'm not being snarky here, but your coursework should have made this clear to you somewhere along the line. The fact that you have to ask the question is troubling, and it's one of the reasons that those of us raised in and working in the more classically structured art history, (and dance, music, and theatre history) worry about degrees called things like "visual studies," or "dance studies," because they seem to be a cover for doing "art history lite" or "Dance history lite," especially when well-intended questions like yours arise.

It's not your fault, you can't know going in what will be coherent and what will be superficial in any program (and a lot of this shows up, sorry to say, in the for-profit schools, it's one ways they cut costs, by not insisting on depth or breadth in the syllabi and coursework they promulgate as equivalent to more traditional offerings; others then feel the pressure to 'dumb-down' in order to compete, which serves no-one, least of all the students, well).

But while the ideas you just now put forth as topics might lead you into some serious findings, they don't offer enough depth on their own to stand up as publishable work, you'd want to dig deeper and have something further to present. (You might get away with one lit review article if that hasn't been done in awhile, on, say, something like the French New Wave directors and how their work is evaluated now, but not more than that.)

You could also make a start by doing book reviews for journals, which puts the most recent pubs in your hands, free; allows for some, but not too much cf/ct; and earns a tiny bit of money while you survey the field and become familiar with the standards for scholarship in your field.

Bon chance.

M.

 3 
 on: Today at 08:08:00 am 
Started by I7878I - Last post by hibush
Feeling down after getting one's work judged, with criticisms, is understandable.

Success in academia requires being resilient to this sort of judgement. Consider making building resilience the first course of action.

Folks who are in fields where they apply for grants nearly every year, and publish peer-reviewed papers several times per year, are subjected to stringent evaluation of their best ideas on a continuing basis. Reviewers are not always kind or fair. You have to learn how to use the feedback effectively, and not have it depress you. That judgement is just part of academic life.

Once you have tenure, you become "part of the problem" in the department. That is, you now share responsibility for setting the tone. Isolating yourself is not productive. Thinking of fleeing somewhere else is not productive. What can help in taking on your new responsibility is to build a network of like-minded people. Don't try to convert the rest.  The like-minded may be in your department, elsewhere at the institution, or in your field at other institutions. With them, do the things that you think need doing.


 4 
 on: Today at 08:06:59 am 
Started by hamm9753 - Last post by hamm9753
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 5 
 on: Today at 07:55:27 am 
Started by mozman - Last post by mozman
Cycle 3 can be reviewed at any time in Feb-March. My study section reviews R01s, R21s and R03s at the same panel meeting.

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