Monday, May 14, 2007

George Will?

The Colorado chapter of the American Association of University Professors has several pages, including this paper, on the Instructor Tenure Project, which, as noted here last week, advocates giving CU instructors tenure (duh) after seven years of teaching, on a track distinct from regular professorial tenure--but a track, naturally, worthy of equal respect (and, no doubt, pay).

The authors, Don Eron and Suzannne Hudson--CU instructors who naturally would be grandfathered into tenure under their own proposal--quickly work up that combination of self-pity and self-aggrandizement so characteristic of, well, CU.


Low results on the Faculty Course Questionnaires (FCQ) can result in the termination of instructors' contracts. Students who are not getting the grades they've come to expect often are aware that if they serve the cause with sufficient energy they can persuade their fellow students to evaluate an instructor harshly. Because the instructor understands the necessity of pleasing students to maintain employment, the temptation to overpraise them may be overwhelming. When their performance is praised, naturally, students believe in their own excellence. While self-esteem may be a productive quality it quickly reaches a point of diminishing returns in competitive professional environments. . . . In all likelihood by the time they confront those diminishing returns, and learn they lack the skills and knowledge to cope, the instructor who told them they were excellent--as the bargain he cut with himself to maintain employment--will be forgotten, unlike those fearless, memorable, transfiguring teachers who long ago inspired us to follow a calling to higher education.
So are longtime CU instructors Eron and Hudson admitting that they have succumbed to "overwhelming temptation" and sent students on their way "lacking the skills and knowledge to cope" (whatever that means)? I doubt it.


So unique is the role of university teachers to the survival of the group that their only obligation is to serve the good of society, within parameters [sic] determined not by their employers but by others within their profession. While this unique status has always infuriated segments of the population, society as a whole has tolerated the arrangement because . . . it is in the self-interest of society to do so.
A little while before it was the "survival of democracy." Now it's "survival of the group."

Not surprisingly, two officers of CO-AAUP are also signers of the letter alleging research misconduct by the Churchill investigating committee: Margaret LeCompte is CO-AUPP prez; Vijay Gupta is vice. (Ken Bonetti, an organizer of last week's bitter National! Emergency! Forum! is CO-AAUP's staff representative, while authors Eron and Hudson are treasurer and secretary, respectively. Keeping it in the fambly.) A leetle more self-aggrandismont [italics sic]:

Tenure for contingent faculty recognizes that contingent faculty are a distinct demographic whose views are essential to the vitality of undergraduate life at CU and cannot be represented by tenured faculty who may be unaware that such distinctions in perspective may exist or are significant.

Distinctions of class, I think they mean, instructors generally being from the proletariat and all.

Then a warning:
When contingent faculty find themselves in disagreement with tenured faculty, the tension is likely to remain beneath the surface, unrecognized yet destructive.
Very strangely, alongside the typical po-mo leftie assertions that "as expressions of social conditions, ideas are essentially tools--or strategies that people use to solve their problems" (they mean "truth," of course, not "ideas"), there are at least two mentions of "the greatest generation" and a concluding quote from a surprise guest:
If success, as defined by George Will, implies "an enterprise in which benefits exceed costs," then the experiment of contingency is an abject failure. It is never too late to replace failed strategies with better ideas.
George Will! They must be sincere!

(h/t Leah via snaps)

No comments: