Sunday, November 21, 2010

Back from outer space

Or more precisely from the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association.

Beanie and Bubbie spent the last few days with my parents! So, it was just StraightMan and me in New Orleans. With thousands of other anthropologists. Not to mention Saints fans. Who are even dat much more annoying than anthropologists.


Is it not a truth in life that the time when you are busiest at work is right before a break or a vacation?

It is also a truth that in the higher education-industrial complex in which I work, a break is never a break: Thanksgiving week and summer included.



Finally, here is more evidence that "sucks" might be the new normal. Or is it just evidence of the kind of company I keep?

Friends on Facebook have been sharing the following two links that appear to be making the rounds among faculty: "So you want to get a PhD in the Humanities" and "One professor's fantasy".

I take the popularity of the links as a sign that morale among the professoriate is rather low at this time. When I started teaching, just five years ago, I actually talked about graduate school as an option that motivated majors ought to consider! Not any more.

I am conscious of the fact that I directly have benefited from the expansion of academia / higher education in terms of both my education (having had the privilege of attending an elite liberal arts college and a premier public research university), and my employment (as a tenure-track professor at a four-year public college).

However, I also think it is important and necessary to examine the effects of that expansion critically. We need to ask both whether or not colleges and universities really are prepared for the students that they are admitting, and whether or not the students really are prepared for college or university.

Simply expanding higher education is not the same as democratizing it.

No comments:

Post a Comment