My workplace has a new President; based on his periodic pronouncements I’ve started calling him President Diversity. Notre Dame’s Professor Patrick Deneen calls this The Ignoble Lie:
Meritocratic ideology disguises the ruling class’s own role in perpetuating inequality from itself, and even fosters a broader social ecology in which those who are not among the ruling class suffer an array of social and economic pathologies that are increasingly the defining feature of America’s underclass. Facing up to reality would require hard questions about the agenda underlying commitments to “diversity and inclusion.” Our stated commitment to “critical thinking” demands no less, but such questions are likely to be put down—at times violently—on contemporary campuses.
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.
I was disappointed that my alma mater and employer, UT at San Antonio, didn’t make the Texas Top 30 list, but then I followed up on the College Choice and found that UTSA didn’t make their Top 50 list either. Maybe this has something to do with it.
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.