All posts by Rebecca Schuman

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The Adjunct Crisis and the Free Market

Margaret Mary Vojtko, a veteran instructor of French at Duquesne University, died broke and humiliated on her front lawn this month. Last week her friend Daniel Kovalik memorialized her in a wrenching op-ed essay, and for the first time Americans outside academe began to notice, en masse, adjunct faculty in the United States, who now make up a majority of college instructors.

Margaret Mary’s story put a face on labor practices that should be the collective shame of  American academe. They shoul…

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Thomas Friedman’s Vision of Online Oligarchy

Thomas L. Friedman’s breathless New York Times column on the potential of massive open online courses envisioned remote villages in Egypt enthralled with lectures on Plato and nuclear physics, and thereby a large-scale democratization of what used to be the purview of the privileged few: higher education. Friedman did mention the online revolution’s potential disadvantages—“Yes,” he conceded, “only a small percentage complete all the work, and even they still tend to be from the middle…