• December 1, 2015

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December 01, 2015, 1:41:26 am *
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News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
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 on: Today at 01:38:52 am 
Started by radieuse - Last post by hungry_ghost
I teach a class with a very high proportion of ELLs. Brixton's post is spot-on. I am truly ashamed of what our administrators have done. 

The only thing I'd like to add is that this student, as you describe her, is not making even minimal effort. She is not contacting you to say she does not understand your comments, or to argue that she didn't plagiarize, etc. Her failure to change in respond to your comments suggests that she doesn't even read them. She is not even making the basic argumentative grade-grubbing effort. And you have no way of knowing why: is the student depressed and needs a level of help that professors are not trained to give? Is the student out with a boyfriend or out partying, having a great time, hasn't bothered to check her grades and doesn't care? Or, has the student paid another ELL to take the class for her (yes, this is more common than you would believe: an ELL asking another with less bad English to write a paper).

Regardless of the true situation, giving a passing grade for the level of effort and mastery you describe will not benefit the student. An F (or an accumulation of Fs) will necessitate a change of course, and a change of course might benefit the student, whether it is hitting rock bottom and seeking help for depression, or a wakeup call to stop the partying and start working, or to find a better ghostwriter. 

It doesn't sound like your institution will give this student appropriate support, but that would also be a direction to try.

 on: Today at 01:16:18 am 
Started by radieuse - Last post by radieuse
mystichtechgal, I just double-checked her initial post on the "introductions" discussion board, and she describes herself as an international student who lives in a nearby town (location of a satellite campus). I don't have access to student records that could confirm that, but I assume it's probably true.

professor_pat, based on the student's (presumably) non-plagiarized submissions, my best guess is that her comprehension of written English is okay, although her own writing is atrocious (grammar, syntax, etc.), and the problem is compounded by either laziness, hard-headedness, or a genuine underestimation of the work required to be successful in this class or college in general. The plagiarized responses are usually good answers to what's being asked, not just semi-relevant copy-pasta. It's difficult to explain without getting too specific, but her work comes across more as "I didn't bother to read the assigned material" than "I don't even know what's being asked here." I've definitely seen the latter with other ESOL students, and it takes a slightly different form. Hopefully you know what I mean by that!

secundem_artem, I guess I assumed that the student was fully aware of that possibility, and just hoping to skate by on charm.

 on: Today at 12:58:39 am 
Started by octoprof - Last post by pareadocs
Our semester started late, so we have two weeks until finals instead of the usual one.

Our semester started early and yet we have two weeks until finals too.

 on: Today at 12:35:41 am 
Started by naive_waif - Last post by k_guy
I'm a fan of the word "no". I always say no, to everyone and eveything (well you know, sort of!). But invited talks, as an assistant prof? That's what you should say yes to, in my opinion.  Especially if you have the time to do them and enjoy them. Keep in mind also that you can work on the plane/train, and importantly, that they shouldn't be talkS: they should be one talk, a broad programmatic talk encompassing several of your papers. Once your seminar/colloquium talk is ready, it's ready for a while. Minimal prep.

It will never be equivalent to a good publication of course, but it does say (to yourT&P committee) very nice things about your standing in your scholarly field.

That sounds like good advice to me.  I'd like to get more invited talks.

 on: Today at 12:23:24 am 
Started by cg_npar - Last post by k_guy
Thanks for all the input.

No, I do not have students to take care of.  If there is no need to deal with the HR, I will be thrilled because they are not as friendly as when I came. The calls and emails are drowned nowhere.

prisonerofcanada,  from what you are saying, there are forms to fill out because I have to get the benefits taken care of as well.

Will you be receiving benefits, and is it possible you could lose these if you don't do something for HR be for leaving?

Where I have worked there have been multiple steps, paperwork etc for people who were leaving.  If someone didn't do these things it really made no difference.

 on: Today at 12:16:39 am 
Started by magnemite - Last post by secundem_artem
The problem with news articles like these is that non-academics read them and think they understand both the problems and the solutions.  The causes resulting in our problems and the policy prescriptions necessary to correct them are usually seriously oversimplified.  And politicians like simple explanations for how to fix a problem.  Classrooms only used 8 months a year?  Teach for 12.  Faculty not open to change? Get rid of tenure.

And so it goes.....  If only things were that simple.

Were I to have my own one size fits all solution, it would be transparent accounting practices.  How much revenue does the basketball team represent?  And how much honestly does it cost?  Does our new program in data mining actually pay its own way?  Which if any programs subsidize other ones?  From that data one can make better decisions.

 on: Today at 12:12:50 am 
Started by categorical - Last post by k_guy
I am sure Pollymer thinks he/she is doing good by allowing adjuncts to attend events and become part of the community. By getting to know people ( networking) and how the community works may give one a leg up to potential opportunities. This is true in most places.
  Most of us are coming from an angle that has left us bitter. We have worked, participated in a community, helped out, etc, only to be left with nothing.

  I know I started a few posts recently about issues similar to this and got lots of great feedback. I am almost worn out and see no more sense in arguing the subject. After years of trying to do everything right, I realize it was a mistake.

   I will admit to seeing 1-2 scenarios that worked out the way Pollymer outlined. Admittedly, the people who worked p/t and became heavily invested got lower level f/t positions. This was only 1-2x and  they were not adjuncts.

  In my case, I need to cut back on teaching , conserve my strength and find something else to do.

  I guess I thought adjuncting would be a bit more secure than what I have seen.
  Instead of arguing with admin ( who do mean well - even if they do not see our perspective) , we should focus our energy on trying to fix the system.
  When I think of how much money I brought in for the school, it sickens me how bad I am treated.  2k per student x 15 students= 30k per class. 8 classes per year and that is $240,000.00. I get less than 10% of that.

Right now I am calculating my travel costs to teach and realize it's almost not worth it. I know many of you are in similar scenarios. I would never get a place more expensive and closer to the school and it's not reliable income. So I live far away where it's cheaper and pay heavy travel expenses.

Sorry you've had such a bad experience. I would suggest that part of what led to your poor outcome is that you miscalculated what was to your long term benefit. Administrations I have worked under were always talking about things like 'loyalty' and 'community' as a way to get more work out of faculty. The faculty who bought into this ended up underpaid and some even ended up losing their jobs when finances were bad. How much community involvement and service they put in didn't count for anything in their favor. From what I have heard that is typical in academia. Do what is in your own best interest. I think that is rarely things like service or 'being part of a community', as nice as these things sound.  You can count on the university doing what is in its best interest.

How much $ a university may make is irrelevant to what they pay faculty/adjuncts. If someone else will do the same job for $X why should they pay someone >$X? Aandsdean suggested not accepting low pay as a way of decreasing supply and increasing pay. Another possibility is to increase your value to the university.

 on: Today at 12:05:56 am 
Started by radieuse - Last post by systeme_d_
I'm somewhat embarrassed at how our institutions are doing with our international students.  For some, they are the institution's tuition cash flow, but little is done to actually support/educate them once they get here.  Encouraging your school to figure out how to support students like this would be a great service to both the student -- as well as others to come.

This post is spot-on.  

It so happens that my current university is an outstanding example of terrific education and support for international (and new immigrant) students, but I am afraid that many universities fall short in this respect.

 on: Today at 12:04:04 am 
Started by radieuse - Last post by professor_pat
Radieuse, any chance the student's English is so poor that she actually doesn't understand the instructions or assignments? I know we've had some students at my uni who clearly should not have passed the TOEFL; I'm guessing someone was paid to take it for them.

 on: Yesterday at 11:57:59 pm 
Started by radieuse - Last post by mystictechgal
OP, just as a matter of clarity . . . you say that the class is online. Is your student local, or even a resident within the country?

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