In a 1780 letter to Abigail, John Adams wrote that he “must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy,” while his “sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.” There is a great deal in this observation, and, within the context of late-18th-century, mid-revolutionary America, Adams’s assessment was spot-on. Nevertheless, were his words to be taken literally, such a progression would eventually create a society without any food.
My parents would say to me all the time: you can teach yourself anything better than someone else can teach it to you. Which I really think is true. I hate the the word “disempower,” because it seems kind of cliché, but I do think that we take people’s ability to self-teach away by creating this idea that that someone else has to do this for you, that you have to take a course, you have to do it in some formal way.
It took me a long time to learn that you take courses to find out what you don’t know, so you can go study up on it, and organize your self-study.
I was preparing a data analysis assignment for one of my classes, and decided I needed an example for my students. Similar to what I’m asking of my students, I wanted to use public employee salary data from the the Texas TribuneGovernment Salaries Explorer. After a few moments’ thought* , I hit upon the topic of salaries for non-tenured faculty at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where I teach statistics.
I downloaded the UTSA data–an Excel CSV file–and selected out employees whose job titles contained the words “ADJUNCT”, “LECTURER”, or “TUTOR”, and copied those to a separate worksheet page. From there on, every bit of my example was done using R, all composed and arranged nicely with RStudio. The full analysis is here, but look at this interesting graph:
How the heck do two part-timers in the College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies make over $100K annually? That’s one sweet gig!
Working in the Women’s Studies Institute is a vow of poverty. Should have gone to trade school.
The Writing Core Program is almost as bad. Learn to write advertising copy and move to the College of Business Marketing Department.
Part-time NTT economists seem to make more than full-timers. That doesn’t seem to make make economists credible.
President Trump is about to sign the new National Defense Authorization Act, which will prohibit funding to Chinese-run Confucius Institutes on American campuses.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz added the key amendment to “The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019,” which also restricts funding to universities that host Confucius Institutes and requires them to provide a public record of any agreements or contracts they have with the program, which has deep ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
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.