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Bill Brydon

symploke - Uneasy Work - 0 views

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    Academics don't work very much. At least that's a common impression. After all, they only teach a few hours a week, and they have summers off. 1 The claim that they might spend a lot of time preparing doesn't stave off the general impression-reading books really doesn't seem like work. They not only have slim obligations but are sanctimonious about it, added to which their anemic hours are protected by the impregnable shield of tenure. They have an easy ride. To avoid reinforcing this image, once in the early 1990s while I was working at East Carolina University, the provost circulated a memo that we should avoid sunbathing or gardening in our yards during weekdays because it gave a bad impression to the people of Greenville, North Carolina. The UNC system was suffering from budget cuts, so the provost was worried about public relations; he was careful to acknowledge our academic freedom, etc., but didn't want to fuel the idea that we led the life of Riley. Yet, most of the academics I know are always working. They run from the keyboard to a meeting to coffee to teaching to office hours to home, where the work continues, reading for an article or a manuscript for a press, back at the keyboard finishing an article or chapter, or culling through the endless stream of email, or wincingly grading papers. Rather than aristocrats in smoking jackets leafing through leather-bound tomes, they are sleep-deprived and over-caffeinated, working on deadline to finish the book manuscript for tenure, the talk they have to give in three days but haven't started, the papers they have had for two weeks so really need to give back tomorrow, the job search committee they're on that received two hundred applications, and the legal-case-thick tenure file they have to review. Work slides from office to home to coffee house to airport to car, thanks to technological conveniences like the Powerbook, Notepad, Kindle, and
Bill Brydon

A National Campaign of Academic Labor: Reframing the Politics of Scarcity in Higher Edu... - 0 views

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    So I come to you tonight in part with an academic analysis of current discourse. But more than that I come to you with an invitation. An invitation to participate in a loosely coordinated set of efforts, a national coalition and a national campaign, a national caucus, if you will, of academic labor seeking to reframe and redirect public discourse and public policy about higher education. A national coalition and campaign that are underway. Central to that campaign is entering in a systematic, coordinated, collective way, the national conversation about higher education. That conversation is being advanced and defined outside of the academy by foundations such as Gates and Lumina, by governors and state legislators, and by the Department of Education and Congress. It is a conversation that is being defined within the academy by academic managers. It is a conversation that is framed by a neoliberal political economy that privileges the private over the public (which is remarkable given the collapse and bail-out of Wall Street), that features large corporate, for-profit employers, but that ignores small and medium-sized business, not-for-profit organizations, and not-for-profit employees. It is a conversation that calls for students (as customers) to pay more to get less, that overlooks the persistent gap between what we promise and what we deliver to various student populations, that are the growth populations of the future, lower income students, students of color, and immigrants. It is a conversation that is defined by absence, by an absence of professional voice, an absence of imagination, and an absence of a sense of the possible. It is a national conversation defined by a politics of scarcity, and by a narrow view of what we do in higher education, of the functions we serve.
Bill Brydon

Same Work, Different Pay? Evidence from a US Public University - Feminist Economics - 0 views

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    This study examines detailed data for faculty at a typical public research university in the United States between 1995 and 2004 to explore whether gender wage differentials can be explained by productivity differences. The level of detail - including the number of courses taught, enrollment, grant dollars, and number and impact of publications - largely eliminates the problem of unmeasured productivity, and the restriction to one firm eliminates unmeasured work conditions that confound investigations of wider labor markets. The authors find that direct productivity measures reduce the gender wage penalty to about 3 percent, only 1 percentage point lower than estimates from national studies of many institutions and with fewer productivity controls. The wage structure for women faculty differs markedly from the wage structure for men. Interpreted against the institutional features of wage setting for this population, the paper concludes that penalties for women arise at the department level.
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