Thursday, March 02, 2006

Goodbye to All of That

The Chronicle recently published a lovely, wrenching piece on giving up a tenured professorial job for greener pastures.

Jean Simon:
"For instance, one evening last semester, as I was driving home after teaching three classes and then meeting with students into the wee hours, I was amazed to hear Almost Metropolitan State's president proclaiming in his weekly radio address that, to keep up with the for-profit educational sector, professors needed to do a much better job of delivering product, not when it was 'convenient,' but whenever our 'customers' (formerly known as students) demanded it."

Rufus: I will never forget the lecturer who told us, during our TA training, that we should have quick and ready answers for the students because "how would you feel if you were at the information desk at a store and the person there couldn't help you?" That pretty much set the tone for my experience as TA actually.

"My president had just announced to the community at large that I was lazy and doing a bad job. What we needed was enhanced customer service with a side of more publications, please."

Rufus: How quickly these places have forgotten what a university once was!

"I had to pull my car off the road to shout expletives and bang my fists on the dashboard. Although I didn't realize it at the time, my roadside meltdown was the beginning of the end of my academic career."

I'm guessing this sort of constant brow-beating and "customer service" rhetoric is ending a lot of academic careers. If you're a smarty smartstein, like Dr. Simon clearly is, why would you ever stay in an institution that treats you this way?

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