academia’s indentured servants

Outspoken anthropologist Sarah Kendzior [<-- have a look at her blog!] has an opinon piece published at Al Jazeera, called Academia’s indentured servants.’ Very worthwhile—here are some snippets from the beginning and the end:

On April 8, 2013, the New York Times reported that 76 percent of American university faculty are adjunct professors – an all-time high. Unlike tenured faculty, whose annual salaries can top $160,000, adjunct professors make an average of $2,700 per course and receive no health care or other benefits. […]

Last week, a corporation proudly announced that it had created a digital textbook that monitors whether students had done the reading. This followed the announcement of the software that grades essays, which followed months of hype over MOOCs – massive online open courses – replacing classroom interaction. Professors who can gauge student engagement through class discussion are unneeded. Professors who can offer thoughtful feedback on student writing are unneeded. Professors who interact with students, who care about students, are unneeded.
    We should not be surprised that it has come to this when 76 percent of faculty are treated as dispensable automatons. The contempt for adjuncts reflects a general contempt for learning. The promotion of information has replaced the pursuit of knowledge. But it is not enough to have information – we need insight and understanding, and above all, we need people who can communicate it to others.

And if you already are at it, you may also like her essay on why anthropologists do ignore the Internet: On Legitimacy, Place and the Anthropology of the Internet at Ethnography Matters.

KENDZIOR, SARAH. 2013a. On legitimacy, place and the anthropology of the Internet. Ethnography Matters 13 February 2013. Electronic document. Available online.
KENDZIOR, SARAH. 2013b. Academia’s indentured servants Al Jazeera 11 April 2013. Electronic document. Available online.
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