Hi, friends. I wanted to share something with you today, an essay from Sarah Kendzior on the plight of adjunct faculty in academia. This issue and a similar issue in academic science are very close to my heart, as I and many of my friends have built their futures on the hope and expectation of long-term careers in university teaching and/or research. Today I’m not going to rant about the immorality of current working conditions for many academics, but I do want to share the following from Dr. Kendzior’s piece.
“The plight of the adjunct shows how personal success is not an excuse to excuse systemic failure. Success is meaningless when the system that sustained it - the higher education system - is no longer sustainable. When it falls, everyone falls. Success is not a pathway out of social responsibility.
Last week, a corporation proudly announced that it had created a digital textbook that monitors whether students had done the reading. This followed the announcement of the software that grades essays, which followed months of hype over MOOCs - massive online open courses - replacing classroom interaction. Professors who can gauge student engagement through class discussion are unneeded. Professors who can offer thoughtful feedback on student writing are unneeded. Professors who interact with students, who care about students, are unneeded.
We should not be surprised that it has come to this when 76 percent of faculty are treated as dispensable automatons. The contempt for adjuncts reflects a general contempt for learning. The promotion of information has replaced the pursuit of knowledge. But it is not enough to have information - we need insight and understanding, and above all, we need people who can communicate it to others.”
(Bold added by me for emphasis.)
The current system is exploitive, immoral, and unsustainable. We cannot keep doing this. I agree with the author. “Success is solidarity.”