Monthly Archives: April 2018

Writing goal for finals week

Locate draft manuscript and open it.

I am not joking, this is my writing goal for the whole week.

Otherwise my goal is to grade in an organized and sane way.

Axé.

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Neoliberal culture

I want to read the McGuigan book but it is very expensive. Perhaps I can ILL it. I’d like to have access to all the best reviews of it, too. I fear this would be “procrastination,” but perhaps it would not. (And anyway, does it matter if it is, or if someone can say it is?)

Axé.

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Very important!

I found some fragmentary notes from an old meeting that should have been followed up upon.

1. Our financial situation is not that bad (although we have contracted notable debt, and we appear to have mysterious overseas donors)
2. Data is reported strangely
3. We spend a great deal on sports, buildings and administration
4. We have very few assistant professors (i.e. newer tenure track hires)
5. We do not submit data to the salary survey
6. We appear to have misplaced priorities
7. We appear not to prioritize academics

We should realize that budgets are plans and projections, not audited financial statements (which are an entirely different thing

Administrations that dismantle departments, are divisive and separate faculty, are those who deserve votes of no confidence

We do not need to ask permission to put out press releases.

Axé.

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This is a thoughtful comment

On this post.

I agree with what Paula Krebs says here. It has certainly become impossible to justify the expense of holding first round interviews at MLA, especially given the likelihood of travel disruptions due to weather, which add an entirely new layer of stress to the process.

At bottom, this argument is about cost-savings, and decisions made with that rationale should always come with reflection. The MLA has provided job seekers with many on-site resources that will not be available with remote interviewing. While many interviewees probably never took advantage of them, they were there, and the possibility for solidarity with other job seekers is also gone when everyone is interviewing over the internet in their room or office. Again, maybe that solidarity was always an illusion, but part of me feels like this shift is another victory for neoliberal thinking. What are the major arguments in its favor? Cost-savings, convenience, and flexibility.

One final point: the other thing that MLA provided was uniformity to the process of the job search. Search committees generally followed the same timeline, asked for the same materials, and went through the same stages in the process of evaluating candidates. That uniformity is likely gone, so future job seekers can anticipate a lot more variation from one search to another. When I was on the job market 10 years ago, the standard application deadline was Nov. 1. Since the MLA’s Job Information List opened around Sept. 10, job seekers could plan to have about two months to complete their applications. This year, many searches in my discipline had deadlines in September, even though their job announcements were not widely advertised until the JIL opened. This shortened application period may have unanticipated consequences, and, specifically, it may work against most institutions’ stated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in job hiring.

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Marc B.

I would like to write on his Facebook feed, where he is ranting about “morally panicked literature professors” —

That’s ridiculous, and actually the reactions to tv when it came in were more subtle and interesting (I notice you don’t mention it). I am tired of having students who can’t read but are only trained to “skim for content” after first reading the list of multiple choice questions at the end. The morally panicked anti-literature English professors seem to be in favor of that (and also of selling infinite numbers of degrees in bad creative writing to people who can’t read).

Axé.

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Rushing

It must be in my horoscope, I do not like to rush. I am already rapid and efficient, so I do not need to rush, but I would not like it even if I were not rapid and efficient. There is really only ONE thing I dislike about academia and it is the ethos of rushing. If you are not rushing and setting timers, you are not working. Rushing only makes me want to quit. This means I must simply refuse and resist the culture of rushing, the exhortations to save time and cram activity into every minute (except when you go to a paid meditation class at a set time, of course).

Axé.

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Anhelos

There are so many days I would feel just fine if I could stay home part of the time to read and write, or if I could teach in English, or teach in Spanish to people who spoke it, or teach Spanish as a second language to people who could accept that learning Spanish isn’t reciting grammar rules and choosing the best of five possible answers, it’s about learning to speak–and not just speech for survival purposes, but for literacy.

The struggle over not just what college is, but what education is and what a university is, is what has me so tired; some say just teach as in high school but that isn’t the point.

Axé.

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