May 25, 2016

My (Unsolicited) Thoughts on the Writing Task Force

Polstergeist

headbang

This summer, the university where I teach has seen fit to form a Task Force (caps both necessary and utterly not) on the teaching of writing.  Some professors “up the chain” in other departments feel dissatisfied with the quality of writing they get from students who have completed at least one semester of the required first-year writing courses.  I couldn’t agree more with their dissatisfaction, yet I couldn’t agree less with their methods of trying to remedy it.  The way this has come to pass feels more like shit rolling downhill than any authentic attempt at improvement, an Internal Affairs inquiry when what we need is actual professional collaboration.

The formation of the Task Force represents how much the university cares about writing across the curriculum and in all fields, ostensibly.  So let’s take a look at the evidence of that care and reflection, shall we?

The university cares so…

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February 4, 2012

Forging a New Way Forward to Transform College Faculty Employment Practices

This site is maintained by the New Faculty Majority Foundation in order to promote dialogue about the general framework it has proposed to guide reform of faculty employment practices in higher education.  (To learn about NFM’s proposed framework to guide reform, start above at “About.”)

The Problem:

So-called “part-time” faculty, together with graduate students, constitute over 60.5% of the teaching faculty (often 80% at community colleges).  An additional 15% work full-time but with fewer rights and responsibilities than their tenure-line colleagues. The average pay of “part-time” professors is $25,000 or less per year for having the same teaching loads and teaching responsibilities as their full-time colleagues. The number of part time faculty has grown by more than 280% between 1975 and 2009.  Most faculty on temporary appointments have very little time and few institutional resources with which to serve students or to develop professionally.

According to the Delta Cost Project, a nonprofit organization that has studied college costs, “over time there has been a gradual shift of resources away from instruction and towards general administrative and academic infrastructure.” It also reports that “institutions enrolling the most students spend the least on their education.

NFM and its Foundation were formed in 2009 and 2010 to improve the quality of higher education by improving the working conditions of the majority of its faculty.