Friday, September 19, 2003

Four bars back to you 

Stephen plays his second solo in our duet on administrators saving money by teaching themselves.
So, what would it cost to have some administrators teach real classes? ... First, we lose some administrative meetings and some scheming up of new requests for information to send to the faculty. Second, we might get some sense from the 8.00 to 4.30 crowd about what our reality on the faculty has been, i.e. we can find time in our schedule to teach more courses, we can find time in our schedule to teach more students per course, we can find time in our schedule to fill in assessment reports, we can find time in our schedule to develop new forms of assessment, we can find time in our schedule to fill in the same human resources form for each external speaker. Third, we'd be less subject to criticism for relying on part-timers and inexperienced graduate students to teach courses.
I'll trade four bars back: First, most of these requests seem to come from people who don't belong in classrooms at any rate. Most of them have long ago abandoned any pretense of doing academic research, and someone who is not up-to-date with what is current in their fields shouldn't be teaching. Indeed, second, that is often what part-timers and inexperienced grad students can offer -- what is new? Sometimes you don't need this -- a previous university president here taught for free, but he was in political philosophy, where cutting edge isn't necessarily better than Aristotle. (I know I'm asking for a butt-whipping on that one.) But our current president is a biologist, a field that changes greatly in short periods of time. Our previous academic VP was an economist who seemed quite uninterested in our research. Do we really want those folks in the classrooom? And as for getting these people to have any empathy for the daily rhythm of teaching faculty? I don't think they can lay down that beat.