I wasn’t too sure about this until I read John Scalzi’s pithy recommendation. “This is bullshit” exactly sums up my opinion of his latest strawman social-justice snoozer Locked In. So he’s become my anti-oracle.
A 2014 congressional report suggests that 89 percent of adjuncts work at more than one institution; 13 percent work at four or more. The need for several appointments becomes obvious when we realize how little any one of them pays….
According to the 2014 congressional report, adjuncts’ median pay per course is $2,700. An annual report by the American Association of University Professors indicated that last year “the average part-time faculty member earned $16,718” from a single employer. Other studies have similar findings. Thirty-one percent of part-time faculty members live near or below the poverty line.
It’s amusing to think of all the underpaid university adjuncts striking for a “living wage.” Unfortunately, the pool of potential “scabs” is way too deep for any strike to be effective for more than one semester.
Of course, not all disciplines have the same problems. My department is chronically desparate to find enough statisticians to teach all our courses, and I’ve been comfortably esconced in a non-tenure track job for over 15 years. But statisticians are rare birds, and everyone I’ve talked to allows as how it’s far too late for them to swot up on their math and stats to become employable.
The ability of statistics to accurately represent the world is declining. In its wake, a new age of big data controlled by private companies is taking over – and putting democracy in peril.
begins William Davies tale of woe in the Guardian. Unfortunately, he confuses credible statistics with modern state-istics*; and seems impervious to the idea that Joe Sixpack has wised up to the fact that there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics,” and that most of these are peddled by the Leviathan State and its corporate cronies. Usually to Joe’s detriment.
Statistics in industry and scientific research is doing quite well, thank you. The Big Data movement is still immature and riddled with snake-oil salesmen; it will eventually spot them, possibly by applying its methodologies reflexively.
Tip from that same O’Reilly Newsletter. Finally, I got on a sucker list that’s interesting!
Yesterday I was cautioned by the recounting of an event that occurred in our College of Business. It seems that a lecturer was explaining a concept that required either averaging or the area under a curve, and resorted to writing an integral on the board, by way of illustration. This was NOT a demonstration of technique, nor an explanation of how to perform calculations required in the course, rather just background. However, one student–correctly recalling that calculus was not a prerequisite–took umbrage; he wrote a letter of complaint to the Dean! Holy hellfire sh!t! Just last week I spent 10 minutes explaining to my calculus-averse biostatistics students how the standard normal table was constructed (integration does not conquer all). I had no idea I was skating so close to the edge. Probably because I’m an idiot or a lunatic.