Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by jlai, May 18, 2012.
Interesting article. One part, which I may have misunderstood, was regarding faculty mobility. When I was in college (back in the early '70s), teachers/professors frequently taught at more than one university. Is that uncommon now?
I don't recall any of my professors teaching anywhere else at the same time-some would do a sabbatical, but they weren't teaching at W&L on MWF and VMI on TTH, even though you can literally walk from one to the other.
Of course, they were also, at least the overwhelming majority were, professors with doctorates and they were actually TEACHING most of the time. No TAs and only a few instructors who didn't qualilfy as academic faculty.
I had several Professors at EMU who split their time between EMU and WCC, which was about 2 miles away, and one who split his time between EMU and UofM. I thought that was very odd at the time.
I was a fine arts major. Pretty much all of my studio art professors taught at Yale and my school. Some of the liberal arts professors taught at more than one school as well. Maybe that's just not done anymore?
Tenure-track faculty at research universities didn't generally teach at multiple universities from what I observed in the 70s and 80s. (However, I was most definitely not taking Fine Arts.)
Adjunct faculty often taught at multiple universities, and that has become even more prevalent. Some of these folks traipse between four different campuses and still make under $35K a year because adjuncts are paid very, very poorly.
Many universities are making increasing use of adjunct faculty. When my MIL retired as a tenured prof in the '80s (comm. college) she was replaced with several adjunct faculty, all in part-time appointments without benefits.
(In the professional schools -- business, medicine, law -- adjuncts work very differently, and often bring incredibly important "real world," current experience to the classroom. I don't know if they're paid a lot better, but these folks are usually fairly affluent anyway from what I saw.)
Business professors are paid market rates or close to it (i.e. what you would be paying them would be equivalent to what they would get in the real world). A lot of the adjuncts, as you said, have other things going on and many of them are C-level execs and senior managers. I remember having one accounting course taught by a partner/coo of a Big 4 firm. Another professor I know had a consulting firm with a bunch of Harvard and MIT business school professors (and their pitch was you can either go to Bain or to the people who taught the consultants at Bain).
My state has been trying to close programs that don't have enough people graduating from them. But the bar for meeting the # of graduates is pretty low and even then you can appeal. It's really not easy to close a degree program
Some states do have different universities focus on different programs, as the author suggests. Indiana, for example. Purdue focuses on engineering and science. Indiana University is more liberal arts and doesn't have engineering at all, IIRC. IU does have the law school and medical school, however. Both have business schools, but with different strengths.
I wonder why the author focuses on having the faculty travel from campus to campus to deliver content, rather than having the students travel from campus to campus to receive content. The latter makes more sense to me.
Tenure-track faculty at research universities aren't supposed to teach much to begin with, as their main focus is on research. You don't get promoted in a tenure track by being good at teaching - there's a reason people refer to publish or perish. Adjuncts, OTOH, do often have to work in multiple schools to make ends meet.
The university where I work has a small downtown campus (quite far from the main one) and there's also a few programs taught out of town. I don't believe faculty members much like teaching in either off-campus location; it's a hassle, and the commute takes time from other things they can be working at (research, working with graduate students, administrative responsibilities, etc.). I agree that having the students travel, or better yet, utilizing distance learning, would be a more efficient solution.
It's become more and more common for academics to survive by teaching at several places, yes, for below-minimum-wage pay. . . which ain't great for ensuring either satisfied students OR a satisfied faculty members. (Adjuncts can sometimes be great, but more often than not they're struggling to survive and just hoping, HOPING, for that full-time position to come along.)
Something is really wrong with the whole financial model of higher ed. I asked my alma mater many times why the tuition kept going up at an alarming rate. They always answered, "Well, the fee only covers [some percentage] of the actual cost." Upon my asking, "well, WHY does it cost so much?" I could never get a straight answer. Somewhere amidst the competition for more country-club-like facilities, many colleges have lost their way, and it doesn't surprise me that the author of the article found many colleges on the brink of financial ruin.
My nephew is a junior and starting to plan for college. My brother is completely appalled by room and board costs. But at the schools he's interested in, there are no traditional dorms. Only apartment style housing where every student has their own room and access to a kitchen, with cable provided for "free" (read: added to the cost of housing). And the cafeteria at one, we were told by an admissions rep at a visit I joined them for, includes desserts from The Cheesecake Factory on a regular basis and a whole bunch of ridiculously expensive stuff like that.
Nephew has been told to narrow his choices down to schools that allow him to live with one of his parents or his grandparents. He is angry. His dad's answer is that if he wants the expensive on-campus lifestyle he should have worked hard enough to have the grades for scholarships to cover tuition (he hasn't) or he can find a way to pay for it himself.
Well, better that your brother has started to have the financial discussion with your nephew now rather than as a senior. That gets very, very ugly.
Has your brother run the "Cost of Attendance" calculator at schools your nephew is interested in?
Sending you a PM a bit later -- got to go out right now.
More like I have run it for him. But, yes, he's looking at it now. His position at this point is that he will pay per month the equivalent of what he now pays in child support and nephew has to figure out the rest. My brother makes pretty good money, so that amount will serve him well if he makes smart choices about where to go to school. But the schools push a lot of expensive extras like studying abroad. His half-sister (not my brother's child) is currently ending a junior year in England. She pays her regular tuition to her university, but has to pay living expenses, transportation, fees, etc...which she has financed through loans. She is studying to be a high school English teacher How she thinks she will pay that back on a teacher's salary...Nephew's mother thinks he should have a year abroad as well. Which would be nice if someone had a money tree. The mother lives on child support (ending when Nephew graduates in a year) and disability, so she wouldn't be paying for it. So there has already been some conflict on that topic, too.
^^ Just wanted to let you know that my son did a semester in Florence, 2nd semester, junior year. It actually wound up being cheaper than a semester at his school here. And not just tuition, that included air fare, room & board, traveling, etc.
I'm not surprised. While a lot of things are relatively inexpensive in the States, higher education is not one of them - tuition and other university-related expenses are really high compared to most places. I know some people think the availability of college loans make it possible for people to overspend on education and enable colleges to increase the costs rapidly. I don't know if this is true.
She did a program with her university where she pays her regular tuition for the year--so she is not paying lower tuition. She also works to pay living expenses as her mom has no funds to help and there is no father in the picture. She could not do that abroad--so all the costs were more than if she had skipped it.
I was a high school English teacher. I know the limits of the salary and salaries are much lower in the state where she is and intends to stay. To me, if your financial situation is not strong in the first place and a year abroad necessitates more loans than you would normally have and you are planning for a low paying and increasingly unstable field---anything that adds to your debt is not a wise choice. A trip to Britain for a few weeks with a backpack and a hostel guide would have served her as well and cost her a lot less now and in the future.
By far the biggest expense for colleges is human resources.
Some lay this at the feet of the business model (as in how schools have increasingly adopted corporate practices), which is said to have created sharp increases in salaries and benefits for administration (particularly) and faculty.
I usually see financial aid rather than loans being blamed for this, but I would think loans would be considered an issue as well.
At top--level schools, yes, but this is certainly not true everywhere by a long shot. Some business profs with real-world experience take a big salary hit in going into academia, but the (relative) stability and security, plus the chance to do something interest and less stressful, is worth it to them.
But adjuncts in business schools do not always get paid a premium over what adjuncts in other disciplines get paid. More than some get paid exactly the same as every other adjunct, but they do the work to build up their resumes/experience, or to give back to the development of their profession.
Due to similar financial issues to what you mentioned, I did was do a work exchange via BUNAC. They get you a work visa, and you can work abroad for nine months either while you're at college or just afterwards. The countries involved are more or less the former British colonies. To me, this was a nice way to get an "abroad" experience, while being able to earn my living expenses.
This was exactly my issue - I'd considered being a professor of business, but the opportunity costs are simply too high. Even in business, where the salaries are often higher than those in, say, the liberal arts, they *still* can't afford me.
I do adjunct, not for the money, but because I enjoy it. I do get paid a premium over certain other adjuncts, for teaching in the business school. I also used to teach in tech at another school, and got a premium there as well. I'd been told the premium was to entice people in the field to teach, as there's more demand for adjuncts in certain of these fields then there are people with the skills who are willing to teach.
My husband actually adjuncts with only a bachelors degree, because so few people have the skills required to teach the class he teaches. And yet we know tons of liberal arts PhDs who can't even get adjunct teaching jobs. It's about the demand, or lack thereof, and the available supply of qualified people.