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The W - Current Events & Politics - Abolish tenure?
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DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.72
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/mikeadams/ma20041227.shtml

Any thoughts?

DMC
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.02
My immediate thoughts:

1. WHO is this guy
2. WHAT is this site
3. WHY did you bring this here
4. HOW long should I ban you




CRZ
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.65
1. He's a college professor and conservative columnist.

2. It's a site for conservative authors.

3. Because higher education and specifically tenure have been brought up here before (it's not like there are no connections to politics here.)

4. However long you wish.

Merry Christmas

DMC
A Fan
Liverwurst








Since: 3.1.02

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.24
As a former teacher there would be no sensitive to teach with sue happy parents, teachers and variety of other community memebers. The jist from this guy is that he thinks tenure is bad at the college level, I kinda agree, but people who teach at college levels or have degrees in that field can make three times as much working in their field or even in the private sector. I would also think of the job as a temp position instead of a permeant postion as well as would the students. The college prof would be considered an overpaid sub rather than a fixture and someone who is seasoned. It also helps new teachers develop into their own. I made a ton of mistakes at my job and if I had another semester, I'd learn from them and do things differently. The first class you teach will always be the hardest, because without tenure you have students, parents and even the administration always questioning you. You don't need to intensify that with the idea that the prof will be here for only one semester then he is gone, so lets listen to him or if he pisses us off lets get him fired.

I do agree tenure does make certian teachers lazy and immune to certain situations. However, most colleges do have teacher/student relationship stips in their contract which would remove the problem that this guy has. I don't know if I'd fire a teacher over having sex with gay prostitute, I'd ask if they would resign, but since the incident never occured on school grounds its really none of the school's problems. The same can be said about police officers like my former classmate that had a DUI charge against him that made the news, but he was not fired and when he did it again, he was not fired. So, this is really a question of tenure or of privacy? Either way, I don't think tenure is the really issue here as much as privacy and this college professor trashing a fellow teacher.

The question should be what can we do to make our schools better and to make the teachers want to work harder. Taking things away doesn't make a person work harder, it just pisses them off more. Then throwing on the impossible task that is No Child Left Behind, then you don't have to wonder why every state has a teacher shortage. Teaching is a difficult, hard and sometimes overwhemling job, taking away something that will help teachers stablize not all themselves, but their classes for now and for the future is going in the opposite direction of where our schools need to be. I will say some teachers are not worth the money spent on them while other teachers can't seem to catch a break, but that is in every job. So, you have to deal with it, because the people bitching about tenure would be the first ones fired at their job if they didn't have senoirity in the first place. Also, I think this guy would be the first teach I would fire since he has a very high opinion of himself anyway and has little or no respect for his fellow teachers.



"All faith reguires is giving into the possibility of hope."
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.89
    Originally posted by A Fan
    As a former teacher there would be no sensitive to teach with sue happy parents, teachers and variety of other community memebers.


Is that supposed to be "incentive"? Please tell me you taught math or PE or something NOT related to putting a properly-constructed and correctly-spelled sentence together.





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A Fan
Liverwurst








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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.24
It is supposed to be insentive, sorry about that. I taught everything at my school, I'm just tired right now. I'm actually shocked that was the only mistake in that. Damn, I must be tired if that was the only mistake beside my need for run-on sentences.

(deleted by A Fan on 28.12.04 1123)

(resurrected by A Fan on 28.12.04 1123)

(edited by A Fan on 28.12.04 1124)


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BigVitoMark
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Since: 10.8.02
From: Queen's University, Canada

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.09
    Originally posted by A Fan
    (B)ut people who teach at college levels or have degrees in that field can make three times as much working in their field or even in the private sector.


Bull. Tell me where a history, sociology, or phillosophy major is going to earn more money working in their field than as a tenured professor. There's a reason so many students of the social sciences next step is teaching ESL overseas or going to teacher's college.

I'm wrapping up my time at university and I can't tell you the number of instructors I've had who were flat out bad. Why were they there attempting to teach me? More often than not because of tenure. Seniority should never guarantee a person a job. I don't care if a prof has been at the school for twenty five years, if he is ineffective in teaching me about macroeconomics then I have no use for him. I have taught myself entire courses from textbooks because of poor tenured professors.

Tenure de-values a university education. Schools will fight to keep good instructors. If you want to talk about earnings, as A Fan began to, eliminating tenure would actually be beneficial for quality profs. Instead, in my experiences, tenure tends to result in surly profs who contribute much less to the university experience.



Screw Ricky
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Liverwurst








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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.24
I have a Masters Degree of Education in Poli Sci, I'm a loan officer now, closing about 1-3 $100,000 deals a month making about $3,000 to $6,000 a month. A tenured teacher that worked 6 years makes about the same as I do. I've been at my job for three months. My friend has the same degree, he is making SAT Tests for $1,000 a week. Anyone with a high level degree can make more money working away from teaching than being teachers. Social Scientists can find work with good pay they just have to sell out to the man ie go the civil service route or stay in college and get their Master's Degree. Once you have your Masters, you can sell out to the man for a higher price or start working your way into the field via federal or state grants or research companies.

Sorry, your college career sucked for you. I had a nice one expect when my college kept throwing Poli Sci and Philosopher teachers out the door even though they were good teachers. The school brought in new teachers for less pay and less experience. Then, when I went looking for recommendations to help me get into Grad school, there was no one there to help out. I don't see how it would be benefit to any student or school to have a revolving door policy when it comes to teachers. This policy at my former school pushed people away from that major and into other majors or they transferred to other schools that had strong tenured teachers who knew their program.

I understand that certain profs suck, trust me, I know. The problem comes down the administrative end. I have seen two administrations in my time and each one had a different philosophy towards the faculty. My undergrad was revolving door that pissed off way too many students and lead to the utter destruction of the social science dept in that area. My Grad one had a tenured teachers and they were awesome, they knew the material, how to handle the classroom and turn 3 hour lessons from tours of duty in Vietman to exciting thought provoking discussions. I will agree there is a major difference between Graduate and UnderGraduate work and relations, but my Grad department was helped by having tenured teachers who knew their stuff instead of random new teacher who couldn't control the classroom and knew nothing of the material.

(edited by A Fan on 28.12.04 1203)


"All faith reguires is giving into the possibility of hope."
BigVitoMark
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Since: 10.8.02
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.09
I see your point, but I would argue that if you attend a university that is heavily staffed with young instructors with little experience or reputation you're probably not attending a very good school. It's tough to maintain a good academic reputation when you have a bunch of rookies making up the faculty.

I understand your point about having better tenured profs at your graduate school, and that makes sense. Do you feel these people would have been unemployed were it not for tenure at that school? Highly unlikely. They might be working at another school, depending on where you were and the importance that school places on your program. Point is, tenure didn't keep them in the classroom. Assuming they are every bit as skilled as you describe, their skills kept them in the classroom. They would have had jobs somewhere on that basis, and they probably would have been paid better if tenure were not what it is.

I wouldn't argue that all tenured professors are bad teachers and they all become lazy the day they can no longer be fired. What I am saying, however, is that tenure does protect those who do fit that description. That protection comes at the expense of not only people like me, who have had PhD students give better lectures than some tenured profs, but also teachers like yours who are generalized as lazy and are limited in their earnings potential because of the tenure system.



Screw Ricky
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Liverwurst








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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.23
I would agree with some of what you are saying as well. I do think there is an inherit problem with tenure, but to get rid of it all together is foolish. The teachers I had at Grad school were skilled, because they had time to gather those skills in the classroom, if they didn't have tenure then they would never had gained those skills. Its a Catch-22, if you don't have tenure, then you are easily replaced with someone cheaper and probably less qualified. If you do have tenure you can make mistakes and learn from them, but not everyone is going to learn from their mistakes or they will think its a free ride.

They have something called tenure track and it lasts about two to three years. After those two to three years of teaching, the administration looks over your classroom's GPA, student feedback, graduation rate, classroom materials and ect.. If the classroom is above where you were when you started and about 85% is passing then, you get tenure. It proves you can teach and you are rewarded with tenure. It also weeds out some of the candidates that you know won't be good teachers, so they don't get the automatic tenure they would have. I do hope that becomes the new criteria for teaching. As for now, I think getting rid of tenure is a bad idea. I just think this generation has to allow for some of the older and lazier teachers to retire or every six years they have to go through the tenure track thing again just to keep them honest.

I just have this bad feeling that getting rid of tenure is like moving a clothing plant in Philly to Thailand for easier and cheaper labor. That is also my fear with No Child Left Behind is that privatization of schools will be a major disaster in the end, because what corporations want students to do is not what the students want to do or what their parents want them to do. Its going to be a very messy situation and one I think even Grimis will agree with me on that in the end you will have worse schools than when you began.

A quick note on the schools I attended, they were both state schools. They are technicially supposed to run the same, they do have some freedoms here and there, but at the end of the day its supposed to be in line with the state guidelines. It was honeslty, night and day with each one and I thank God, everyday I choose my Grad school. It lead to better things for me in my career and in my life, I meet my friend who introduced me to my wife. So, I just think the problem is not with tenure its the administrations who run them and trust me the undergrad school was corrupt from within to the point the IRS paid a visit one summer.

(edited by A Fan on 28.12.04 1429)


"All faith reguires is giving into the possibility of hope."
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Since: 7.11.02
From: Dallas, TX

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.16
They have something called tenure track and it lasts about two to three years. After those two to three years of teaching, the administration looks over your classroom's GPA, student feedback, graduation rate, classroom materials and ect.. If the classroom is above where you were when you started and about 85% is passing then, you get tenure. It proves you can teach and you are rewarded with tenure. It also weeds out some of the candidates that you know won't be good teachers, so they don't get the automatic tenure they would have.

I'm not sure where this is true (aside from some small, private colleges that are considered teaching colleges or from two year schools), but it would be the exception and not the rule. Tenure is generally based on publications (usually in very narrow, specialized publications that are only read by other other academics) and on the ability to attract research grants. Teaching plays very little role in tenure, at least for the vast majority of colleges and disciplines.

I know some fantastic teachers who were denied tenure because they did not publish enough (hence the expression 'publish or perish;' you never hear 'teach well or perish') and did not attract substantial outside (usually government) research money. On the other hand, I know some absolutely horrid teachers who received tenure very quickly because of sterling research records and an ability to receive $$$ for the department and for the school.

I don't like tenure because job security should be earned year after year and even month after month. The professors who are doing a good job don't have to worry about their jobs anyhow. The lousy ones should be worried about their jobs but aren't.
spf
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Since: 2.1.02
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.54
The problem is tenure is not designed simply to prevent job performance from being an issue. Being a college professor is not like being a mortgage broker or something where you can be judged on numbers alone. As a professor I often have to challenge my students to consider things that they have not dealt with before, sometimes things that make them uncomfortable and sometimes make them angry. And as someone who is not tenured I am afraid and will cut off certain discussions in my classroom for fear that if say we're talking about how people come to their religious beliefs that if a student is offended by the fact I won't let them not examine something simply because "well this is how it is." that I will be hauled before the dept. head and lose my job for that.

Problem is since Conservatives by and large shun academia (guess it doesn't pay enough) of course a majority of the people in the humanities are going to be of a liberal bent. All the PoliSci kids I went to school with who were conservative were off to get JD's or MBAs. You want more conservative teachers...get some more conservative grad students. Start seeding the universities the way that you seeded local school boards and city councils through the 80's and 90's. If the right is good at anything, it's long term political planning. If you start working now, by 2020 I'm sure you'll own most of the universities just the way you own most everything else right now.

(edited by spf on 29.12.04 1149)


A Fan
Liverwurst








Since: 3.1.02

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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.23
The tenure track was set-up in a number of the Pennsylvania state schools. How you get your foot in the door to a school is different then recieiving tenure. Like I said, what people will get out of abolishing tenure is the revolving door policy where teachers come and go. When the students needs someone for a ref or someone who knows the system since most profs are going to be advisors anywaym, they'll be screwed. If you have recently seen the checklist for students to graduate, you need someone who knows what they are doing.

Tenure is based on a lot of things, but I do think the problem we have here is not tenure itself. The problem from getting tenure has more to do with the administrations. If you go back and read the article that was linked, he discusses about how a teacher should be removed for having gay sex with prostitutes. Now, does that have anything to do with tenure or more to do with privacy laws? The other issue has more to do with how to get a job and keep it.

I know I would not teach without tenure in high school or college unless I had some free time in the mornings to teach, then go to my real job. The problem is that teachers have no control over the classroom it has been handed to school boards, administrations and the public at large which 90% know nothing about teaching anyway. So, I believe the real problem has to who is in charge. Also, would anyone really want a job that has to be reviewed every year?

(edited by A Fan on 29.12.04 1234)


"All faith reguires is giving into the possibility of hope."
JoshMann
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Since: 17.11.03
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.51
    Originally posted by A Fan
    Also, would anyone really want a job that has to be reviewed every year?


You mean other than 95% of the entire public sector?

(edited by Blanket Jackson on 29.12.04 1544)


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bash91
Merguez








Since: 2.1.02
From: Plain Dealing, LA

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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.10
    Originally posted by spf
    The problem is tenure is not designed simply to prevent job performance from being an issue. Being a college professor is not like being a mortgage broker or something where you can be judged on numbers alone. As a professor I often have to challenge my students to consider things that they have not dealt with before, sometimes things that make them uncomfortable and sometimes make them angry. And as someone who is not tenured I am afraid and will cut off certain discussions in my classroom for fear that if say we're talking about how people come to their religious beliefs that if a student is offended by the fact I won't let them not examine something simply because "well this is how it is." that I will be hauled before the dept. head and lose my job for that.


I'm sorry, but that's a truly pathetic rationalization for not doing your job. As a person who is not on tenure-track, I sympathize with the first part of your statement, but the second part is nothing more than intellectual and professional cowardice. If you aren't going to follow through with the issues and deal with the potential consequences, you shouldn't be in academia and you especially shouldn't be blaming your students for your failures as a teacher.

    Originally posted by spf
    Problem is since Conservatives by and large shun academia (guess it doesn't pay enough) of course a majority of the people in the humanities are going to be of a liberal bent. All the PoliSci kids I went to school with who were conservative were off to get JD's or MBAs. You want more conservative teachers...get some more conservative grad students. Start seeding the universities the way that you seeded local school boards and city councils through the 80's and 90's. If the right is good at anything, it's long term political planning. If you start working now, by 2020 I'm sure you'll own most of the universities just the way you own most everything else right now.


As a conservative in academia who had profound personal and professional differences with a number of my professors, I would note that arrogant illiberal bigots like yourself are also a reason that many conservatives shun academia. When you have faculty saying things like "Instead I can stay on the interweb and be quite open about how I think most people who voted for Bush are arguments against democracy being a viable form of government.", it's fairly apparent that your point of view is one that is simply not acceptable inside the confines of the ivory tower. For most people, having your colleagues and your superiors informing you that you are a sub-human might just convince them to seek a different outlet for their talents. If that different outlet also pays well, that's even better.

Of course, all of the above is just the opinion of a lowly conservative MA who loves teaching, loves challenging students, and works on yearly contracts.

Tim



Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit. -- Erasmus
spf
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: The Las Vegas of Canada

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.40
Well...where to begin with Bash's statement...?


    I'm sorry, but that's a truly pathetic rationalization for not doing your job.

Not sure how you are able to make the leap from "I will not let certain arguments proceed" to that I am not doing my job, esp. since you don't even know what my job is or what I do in the classroom. Apparently being able to deal with a situation more than 1 way doesn't work for you.


    If you aren't going to follow through with the issues and deal with the potential consequences, you shouldn't be in academia and you especially shouldn't be blaming your students for your failures as a teacher.

Apologies for restatement but this seems to need a response. Yes, I will make a discussion stop and approach it from a different method if I feel that it will be too confrontational to be 1. classroom-appropriate (which includes IMO whether or not I as a teacher should and am allowed to lead this discussion) and 2. is no longer beneficial to the classroom and the students. As someone who myself was a conservative student in college, I recognize that having a situation where the discussion devolves into an argument between student and professor helps no one in the room. And I will not let that happen. To me that would be cheating my students of their time in my classroom. Perhaps you see it differently.


    I would note that arrogant illiberal bigots like yourself are also a reason that many conservatives shun academia.

As someone who is much more restrained in expressing confrontational opinions in my workplace than on a message board, I guess I tend to assume others are the same way. Sicne you seem to infer that because I have no qualms about being argumentative here at the W that means I am an asshole to people outside of this space, I can only guess the difference between your online postings and your public utterances is nowhere near as pronounced.


    For most people, having your colleagues and your superiors informing you that you are a sub-human might just convince them to seek a different outlet for their talents.

See, now had the rest of the post not been such an uninformed attack on me I would sympathize with this. I know the majority of professors in the humanities are liberal (as I stated in my earlier post). I know that as a teacher I take great pains to not let my personal politics become a deterrent to my teaching, to the point where I fear sometimes I may overcompensate in making sure that those who disagree with me and my beliefs get equal time in the discussion. And again, with the internet thing, I'm going to assume that you do not use terms like "pathetic" "cowardice" "arrogant" and "bigot" to describe when a student disagrees with you. I would hope, that you would extend the same courtesy to me to assume that I am capable of a modicum of professionalism.

All of this of course is just one Adjunct faculty member's opinion, someone who does challenge his students twice a week to think differently, yet to always respect the voice of the other side in his classroom.



bash91
Merguez








Since: 2.1.02
From: Plain Dealing, LA

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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.10
Hoo boy, while I probably shouldn't respond and turn this into a conversation, this simply begs a response.
    Originally posted by spf
    Not sure how you are able to make the leap from "I will not let certain arguments proceed" to that I am not doing my job, esp. since you don't even know what my job is or what I do in the classroom. Apparently being able to deal with a situation more than 1 way doesn't work for you.


If you'd said "I will not let certain arguments proceed", I'd have agreed with you, but that's not what you said. You said that you were afraid of certain issues that you'd raised because it might offend a student and that's an entirely different statement. Limiting arguments because they have become unproductive or devolved into personal attacks is part of the job for any instructor. Stopping discussion because you're scared that the issues you've raised in order to challenge your students might offend a student is an abrogation of your role as an instructor and is an act of professional cowardice. If a student raises those issues, you're completely justified in stopping the discussion before it begins but if you have raised the issues then you're on a lot shakier ground when you stop discussion because you're "afraid".
As for the second half of that statement, you've self described as a college professor and, as I recall, a doctoral student in education, and I'm reasonably certain I can infer your duties from that description unless it isn't an accurate description of your position. I'm not quite sure where the ad hominem attack on my ability to be flexible came from or it's relevance to the discussion at hand, but I'll ignore it.

    Originally posted by spf
    Apologies for restatement but this seems to need a response. Yes, I will make a discussion stop and approach it from a different method if I feel that it will be too confrontational to be 1. classroom-appropriate (which includes IMO whether or not I as a teacher should and am allowed to lead this discussion) and 2. is no longer beneficial to the classroom and the students. As someone who myself was a conservative student in college, I recognize that having a situation where the discussion devolves into an argument between student and professor helps no one in the room. And I will not let that happen. To me that would be cheating my students of their time in my classroom. Perhaps you see it differently.


Actually, I agree with everything you said here, but that's not what you said in your first post.

    Originally posted by spf
    As someone who is much more restrained in expressing confrontational opinions in my workplace than on a message board, I guess I tend to assume others are the same way. Sicne you seem to infer that because I have no qualms about being argumentative here at the W that means I am an asshole to people outside of this space, I can only guess the difference between your online postings and your public utterances is nowhere near as pronounced.


And you'd be correct in that assumption. I see no real point in being anything other than myself here or in my public utterances. If anything, I'm probably more circumspect here than I am offline.

    Originally posted by spf
    See, now had the rest of the post not been such an uninformed attack on me I would sympathize with this. I know the majority of professors in the humanities are liberal (as I stated in my earlier post). I know that as a teacher I take great pains to not let my personal politics become a deterrent to my teaching, to the point where I fear sometimes I may overcompensate in making sure that those who disagree with me and my beliefs get equal time in the discussion.


If that's the case, good for you. It makes you a lot better than the vast majority of professors I've had at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

    Originally posted by spf
    And again, with the internet thing, I'm going to assume that you do not use terms like "pathetic" "cowardice" "arrogant" and "bigot" to describe when a student disagrees with you. I would hope, that you would extend the same courtesy to me to assume that I am capable of a modicum of professionalism.


You are correct, I would not use that language to a student, save perhaps bigot, but I have absolutely no qualms about using that time of language to a fellow teacher or another adult if they've acted in such a fashion as to deserve such descriptors. Given that you've self described as someone who views those of the conservative persuasion as examples of why democracy is a failure, I have no problems with using terms like arrogant and bigot to describe your stated positions. If that offends you, perhaps you should rethink those positions or the ways in which you've stated them. As for pathetic and cowardice, I'm pretty certain that I've outlined why I felt those terms were accurate based on what you had written and why I felt they were appropriate descriptors.

Tim



Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit. -- Erasmus
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3476 days
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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.67
"Problem is since Conservatives by and large shun academia (guess it doesn't pay enough) of course a majority of the people in the humanities are going to be of a liberal bent. All the PoliSci kids I went to school with who were conservative were off to get JD's or MBAs. You want more conservative teachers...get some more conservative grad students. Start seeding the universities the way that you seeded local school boards and city councils through the 80's and 90's. If the right is good at anything, it's long term political planning. If you start working now, by 2020 I'm sure you'll own most of the universities just the way you own most everything else right now."

I have to say I use to agree with this sentiment from spf. Recently I heard what I think is a decent response from David Horowitz. His basic idea is that if you look at academic positions, they are in fact very desirable. They really *do* pay very well for the amount of labor involved, you most often have summers off, time off for research, TENURE, the "status" of professor, etc. He is convinced that many conservatives would gladly leave their positions in government or business for a faculty position, but because of their backgrounds and records, departments will simply not hire them. (Mike Adams has also written a bit about anti-conservative bias in college hiring committies.)

I do agree with spf's "bottom's-up" approach to balancing out academia though. More conservatives need to be pushed into graduate school, need to be taught how to walk the walk and talk the talk of an academic. I myself have had some success at this as a conservative academic and have recently had some small success in publishing. If you join their organizations and learn their language, liberals *can* actually be respectful of the balanced viewpoint of a conservative. Now I don't think I'll be very successful at my job hunt this year, nor do I think I have a chance at the University of California for a PhD, so I still do think bias plays a role (although it clearly will not be the only reason for my failures.)

No matter what its cause, the liberal culture of academia continues, I think, for a very simple reason. People just like being around others who are like them, and someone who is very far on the left, by in large, isn't going to desire a relationship with someone on the other side of the spectrum. Remember that college departments are often very close environments. I think simple relationship issues are what often deny conservative scholars faculty positions.

DMC
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From The News-Press (Fla.), 3/9/06: http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs....99/1002/NEWS01 Thieves hit Democrats' office By Betty Parker Lee County's Democratic headquarters had its second break-in in almost as many years this week.
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