May 17, 2013, 12:18 pm
My friend “Jana” sent her most promising manuscript to a journal that we’ll call The Ivy League Business Review. She received immediate confirmation that it was received, although the e-mail did not indicate whether or when it would be sent out for peer review.
So she waited. And waited some more. After six months of waiting, Jana politely asked about the manuscript’s status. She didn’t hear back. Two months later, she e-mailed again but with a more urgent tone. This time she received a reply from the editor. The essence was, “Thank you for your submission. Although the paper seems promising, it does not adequately fit the scope of The Ivy League Business Review. We therefore did not send it out for peer review. Best wishes.”
Jana will be coming up for tenure in two years, and having her paper pointlessly stalled for eight months was a real setback. When she told me…
April 25, 2013, 2:17 pm
I recently had a job interview. Six months after moving from Boston to New Orleans, it’s one of only a handful I’ve secured in that time. And while it’s not for a glamorous or exciting job—cashiering at a local grocery store—it’s honest work, and I’m at a point where I can’t afford to shrug off an opportunity. I won’t know if I got the job for another few days, most likely, but the interview seemed to go well.
I should be happy, crossing my fingers, optimistic that my financial situation might be starting to turn around. But I’m not happy, because I had to lie about myself to even get the interview.
None of the countless cover letters and résumés I sent out since moving here attracted any attention until, on the advice of a few friends, I scrubbed them clean of my M.F.A. and played down my five years’ experience as an adjunct teaching writing at a few colleges…
April 8, 2013, 6:40 pm
President Robert L. Barchi of Rutgers U. speaks at a news conference last Friday to announce the resignation as athletic director of Tim Pernetti. (Andy Marlin, Getty Images)
Public universities are not corporations. They are not sports franchises. They are not dysfunctional families in which the powerful can abuse the less powerful by enforcing silence.
As faculty members, we were deeply dismayed to learn that some Rutgers University administrators had known for months about Mike Rice Jr. and his assistant coach’s physical and verbal abuse of student athletes, yet remained silent. Homophobic slurs and physical abuse teach students a deformed version of athletic masculinity.
We were equally dismayed by the institutional implications of this culture of abuse. The corporate vision of Rutgers’s president,…
January 11, 2013, 4:08 pm
In November, Mai’a K. Davis Cross filed a federal discrimination complaint against the University of Southern California for denying her bid for tenure, arguing that the institution had a history of denying tenure to women and members of minority groups in the humanities and social sciences.
Earlier this month, a grievance panel at the university found procedural defects in how Cross, an assistant professor of international relations, had been evaluated. Its report has now been forwarded to the institution’s president, who is free to accept or reject the panel’s findings.
Regardless of the president’s decision, the handling of Cross’s case by the University of Southern California—both during the tenure process and in response to charges of discrimination—raises important questions about the direction of higher education in the United States. The policies on which the…
January 4, 2013, 10:04 am
My younger self would be surprised that I look forward to the annual convention of the Modern Language Association.
When I started going to the MLA, I was a new graduate student and didn’t know anyone. I wandered around the vast hotel (now mixed up in my memory with The Shining), attended sessions, and perused some books—I was learning a lot about the profession—but said hardly a word to anyone during those four days; it seemed like there was no way to initiate conversation. Everyone was talking in an unfamiliar code.
The conference seemed hierarchical, too, and anxieties about the job market—and the severe cost of attending the event—only compounded what I remember calling “MLAlienation.” I am sure one of the reasons I became engaged with the academic-labor movement toward the end of the 1990s was the desire to belong to a community within the MLA.
A lot has…
September 26, 2012, 1:20 pm
Last week the Modern Language Association released its report on the 2011-12 Job Information List, the clearinghouse for full-time academic job advertisements in English and foreign languages. The annual report compares the number of job openings, their rank, and location with previous years’ job markets.
Hidden in the data is a big surprise. Compared with other national labor markets for highly educated professionals, the academic job market for English and foreign languages is doing quite well. If you are on the market this year, you have good reasons to be optimistic.
Heavy on data, light on interpretation, this year’s MLA report nevertheless paints an overly dour picture of the job market. The report uses the economic-bubble year of 2007-8 as the benchmark for comparisons. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of job openings in English plummeted by 39.8 percent. But everybody …