Category Archives: the Radical testifies

June 9, 2014, 12:28 pm

Today’s Quiz: What Is the Difference Between a Non-Profit and a For-Profit?

monopoly-manAnswer: a) none; b) the non-profits are better at evading scrutiny; c) the for-profits are busy remaking the world in their image; d) all of the above.

This week in Jacobin‘s online edition, see David Francis Mihalyfy’s Higher Ed’s For-Profit Future. It’s about corporate academia, as exemplified by the institution that is currently best known as the cradle of neoliberal thinking that has destroyed, and is still working to destroy, education for everyone. The University of Chicago, Mihalyfy argues, ”serves as a window into the fully corporatized future of education, where an unquestioned goal is profit for top staff and the checks-and-balances of the trustee system do not function.”

Structurally, Mihalyfy argues, there is absolutely no difference between the non-profit university and the for profit corporations that neoliberal economics wants us to use as a model every form of…

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April 15, 2014, 9:23 am

Kiss A Librarian This Week — It’s a Radical Act

2dced43c88608180873454e6de2da7a9Remember when everything on the interwebz was supposed to be free? Just like a public library? Well, that ended fast, and even getting into a public library can be a challenge in this era of budget cuts. However this week, some things are still free. In celebration of National Library week in the United States, Oxford University Press is offering up its dazzling collection of online resources — for free! Go here for details. And have fun.

Now that we are talking about librarians and how much we love them: take a moment this week to think about all the things in your professional life that are facilitated by the library and the wonderful, knowledgeable people who work there. Librarians are the heartbeat of our universities. When we give students an assignment, it’s the librarians who often help them focus their topics, get them to the sources they need, and show them how to use the on…

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March 11, 2014, 10:15 am

Oh Brave New World

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Have administrators at Columbia’s Mailman School considered closing their budget gap with a bake sale? Maybe asking faculty to shill gift wrap and ginormous candy bars door to door?

That has such people in it.

Here’s a novel way to lighten the burden of paying faculty salaries: make them figure out how to pay their own salaries! As Inside Higher Ed reports, Columbia University has notified several longterm non-tenure stream faculty in the Mailman School of Public Health (including Carol Vance and Kim Hopper) that they will be terminated for not meeting 80% of their salaries with outside funding.

According to CNNMoney.com, in 2013 the university had the ninth largest endowment in the United States, at $8.197 billion dollars.

Read the article: I could only garble this story more by trying to recapitulate it….

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February 27, 2014, 12:11 pm

Happiness is a Cold, Plastic Doll: the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

rs_634x845-140213110818-634.sports-illustrated-barbie-swimsuit-021314It’s that time of year again: shaved pubes, barely (or not at all) hidden nipples, salt-stiffened wind-blown hair, pouty lips — that’s right, it’s the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, now celebrating its 50th Anniversary. And Barbie is on the cover.

I never knew about this phenomenon until I went to college (that would be Yale University, winter 1977.) All of a sudden, one day in the dining hall, there were gaggles of young men reading the thing (reading would be one way of putting it, I guess.) Women were supposed to pretend that a tits and ass festival was all in good fun, just like they were the following year when Playboy showed up to shoot “Girls of the Ivy League.”

My initial response upon seeing the Swimsuit Issue for the first time was puzzlement. I had no brothers, I went to an all-girls secondary school — so I had never seen one and couldn’t figure out the genre….

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January 10, 2014, 9:25 am

Things That Might Hinder Your Career, Part Eleventy

One of the standard questions for candidates at the end of a conference interview is: “Do you have any questions for us?” Which of the following do you think job candidates ask most rarely?

  • Will you tie me up?
  • Do you spank in your department before tenure?
  • Is that the PMLA in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?
  • All of the above.

From today’s Vitae, we see that some a$$hat put an ad on Craig’s List for power exchange interview sex at the Modern Language Association meeting in Chicago this (more…)

December 21, 2013, 4:01 pm

Give It Up: A Few Suggestions for Holiday Giving

Alfred_E_Neuman_as_Santa_by_ZigZag123Finished your holiday shopping? Sick of materialism and the constant prodding to buy more and more stuff? I get that way too sometimes. That’s when it’s time to ask yourself: Have I given away enough money this year? So we at Tenured Radical are going to take a short station break from debating the future of the American Studies Association to play my favorite holiday game:

Where Is Tenured Radical Giving Money This Year? (An Annotated List)

Queers for Economic Justice. This organization is, unfortunately, defunct, due to the fact that we, as a community,  didn’t give enough money before now — or maybe because so few people care about the projects promoting economic justice right outside their door. This New York based nonprofit was only twelve years old, and a shining light in a GLBT politics that has increasingly pushed racism class analysis to the margins of its concerns. QEJ…

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November 16, 2013, 10:55 am

When You Are Too Sick to Teach

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Be considerate of yourself and others: stay home.

This article in today’s New York Times about doctors going to work ill struck a nerve as we enter the college sick season. Danielle Ofri’s account of tending to patients until she was completely felled with the barfing flu (otherwise known as the super-communicable norovirus) suggests that doctors forge on because they define themselves as the not-sick. ”As much as we empathize with our patients,” she writes, “part of protecting our inner core may require drawing an unconscious demarcation between ‘us’ and ‘them.’” Next to the grisly research about deadly infections being transmitted on physicians’ neckties, the idea of a doctor keeping an appointment with me when she has a vile illness is next on the list. I actually left a family practice years ago and found another doctor because it made no sense to me to go to a “wellness”…

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September 28, 2013, 7:10 pm

The Associate Professor Blues

yeswelacanIn “Supporting the Second Book,” (Perspectives on History, September 2013), American Historical Association President Kenneth Pomeranz elaborates on a topic he launched in the previous issue. I thought it was great that Pomeranz came out last month about his post-tenure publishing delay: one of the things that I have learned on the #GraftonLine is that academics — particularly senior people — don’t talk about their difficulties enough, nor do we share strategies for changing the bad writing karma that can afflict anyone. No wonder people who are struggling with their writing don’t talk about it – it’s not allowed!!!!!

So good for you, Professor Pomeranz. Many people will feel their load lighten just a little bit from hearing your story, particularly those who work at institutions that require a second book just for tenure. But, as Pomeranz also points out, promotions to full…

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June 18, 2013, 2:06 pm

Go Into Academia, Win Valuable Prizes

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Where is your college president spending the summer?

Today’s New York Times has the latest revelations about New York University’s executive compensation practices. (Full disclosure: not only was Tenured Radical’s Ph.D. bestowed from those Violet walls, but my current institution recently had its own executive mini-scandal.)

As Ariel Kaminer reveals, NYU’s top execs and a few elite proffies are also offered mortgages for summer homes, “Universities in similar circumstances, like Columbia and Stanford, also have helped professors and executives with home loans,” writes Kaminer, who has been following this story for several months. “Aid for vacation properties, however, is all but unheard-of in higher education, several experts in university pay packages say.” And how many universities offer you a mortgage after…

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December 7, 2012, 9:51 am

Stanford’s Five Year Ph.D. (continued): In Which The Blogger Responds To Comments On A Prior Post

Maybe I could turn this post in as a dissertation and get another Ph.D. by Sunday? Photo credit.

Yesterday I posted about Stanford’s new plan to shorten up the humanities Ph.D. to five years.  Then I went to the movies, specifically, a documentary about why the children of the poor attend four year colleges in far lower numbers than the children of middle-class or wealthy people. During the course of the evening, the post metastasized all over the interwebz, attracting a number of comments. My original Twitter posting notched more re-tweets than any item at Tenured Radical  has probably ever had.

Awesome. Keep talking, and while you do, here is a response to some of what I have heard.

Just to be clear: I do not defend an endlessly long Ph.D. But that said, many defenses of a forced time to degree metric…

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