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January 11, 2008

The following was posted to InsideHigherEd in response to a book review about Academic Labor:

I married the oldest of a large extended family. Thus, over the last ten years, I have been witness to lots of discussions about college. At no point did the qualifications of the professors come into it. I will say it again…they didn’t care if the prof was tenured or not.

They cared about: class size (only because they were afraid of their own note-taking abilities or they were afraid of “getting lost” in the mix); “hardness” of material; cost; brand association upon graduation.

Administration is customer facing–they know these concerns. They also pay the bills and balance the sheets. Since adjuncts help pay bills with no customer recoil, they will continue to be used, ever more and more.

Will students notice, care, act? Only later, when they are, themselves, beholden to the brand. It is a vicious cycle, not really mentioned, with a new crop of eager, anxious and oblivious “clients” each September.

Read the review. It gives a good history (if slightly abridged) of the notorious 1989 report about all of those retiring Liberal Arts profs.


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