The Sorry State of Higher Ed

It’s a sad state of affairs for Universities. It used to mean more to be a college professor. Of course that was before women joined the ranks in larger numbers. It’s funny how that works.

From the Homeless Adjunct – snips from  How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps

 

At latest count, we have 1.5 million university professors in this country, 1 million of whom are adjuncts. One million professors in America are hired on short-term contracts, most often for one semester at a time, with no job security whatsoever….

 

…the average yearly starting salary of a university professor at Temple University in 1975 was just under $10,000 a year, with full benefits – health, retirement, and educational benefits (their family’s could attend college for free.) And guess what? Average pay for Temple’s faculty is STILL about the same — because adjuncts now make up the majority of faculty, and earn between $8,000 to $14,000 a year (depending on how many courses they are assigned each semester – there is NO guarantee of continued employment) — but unlike the full-time professors of 1975, these adjunct jobs come with NO benefits, no health care, no retirement, no educational benefits, no offices. How many other professions report salaries that have remained at 1975 levels?

 

…From the 1970s until today, as the number of full-time faculty jobs continued to shrink, the number of full-time administrative jobs began to explode. As faculty was deprofessionalized and casualized, reduced to teaching as migrant contract workers, administrative jobs now offered good, solid salaries, benefits, offices, prestige and power. In 2012, administrators now outnumber faculty on every campus across the country.

 

…There has been a redistribution of funds away from those who actually teach, the scholars – and therefore away from the students’ education itself — and into these administrative and executive salaries, sports costs — and the expanded use of “consultants”, PR and marketing firms, law firms. We have to add here, too, that president salaries went from being, in the 1970s, around $25K to 30K, to being in the hundreds of thousands to MILLIONS of dollars – salary, delayed compensation, discretionary funds, free homes, or generous housing allowances, cars and drivers, memberships to expensive country clubs.

 

…So what is the problem with corporate money, you might ask? A lot. When corporate money floods the universities, corporate values replace academic values. As we said before, humanities get defunded and the business school gets tons of money. Serious issues of ethics begin to develop when corporate money begins to make donations and form partnerships with science departments – where that money buys influence regarding not only the kinds of research being done but the outcomes of that research.

 

…Tuitions have increased, using CA as an example again, over 2000% since the 1970s. 2000%!

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When you know how much tuition has increased and how little adjuncts are paid – you realize how absurd the situation is. I am an adjunct. I will be paid $2500 for teaching over 30 seventy-five minute classes – along with creating/grading tests and papers, etc. What sort of incentive is there for creating more permanent jobs. It will take an informed public to complain – voice their outrage over the situation.

New Study About Declining Religiosity

I noticed a couple of articles about a new study – by WIN-Gallup International – Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism.

The question is: Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship of not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person or a convinced atheist.

The study is flawed from the outset by it’s polarization between the concept of “religiosity” and atheism. It’s quite possible to be religious and be an atheist. Taoists, Buddhists, etc. are religious – yet generally atheists. Pantheists and others can be “religious” and be atheists. Many people who attend Unitarian Universalist churches are atheists (and many are not). That is probably the direction that people are going. People like to have a cultural, moral, even “religious”, group – whether they are atheists or not.

It is an interesting development, however, the degree to which people in Ireland are abandoning Catholicism. 

From the Independent:

Republic of Ireland abandoning religion faster than almost every other country in the world

The Irish commitment to the Catholic religion is fast draining away, according to a new poll which points to a dramatic plunge in those who regard themselves as religious.

Worldwide, only Vietnam experienced a greater drop in those describing themselves as religious in a poll which extended to 57 countries, covering three-quarters of the world’s population.

The survey confirms that Ireland, once regarded as particularly devout, has been almost transformed from the days when the Catholic church exercised both political power and strong social influence.

The church’s standing has taken a series of severe blows over the last decade, in particular suffering damage from a series of devastating sex abuse scandals. The sense is widespread that it has reacted sluggishly to the revelations and has been more concerned with defending itself rather than with the interests of victims.

The survey showed that those Irish who considered themselves religious had fallen from 69 per cent in 2011 to less than half today. Ireland was ranked seventh in the 57 countries for those describing themselves as convinced atheists…

In addition to the sex abuse revelations Ireland has become a much more secular country as the church has lost the religious and political authority it once wielded.

This was most strikingly demonstrated last year when, in an unprecedented attack, Irish prime minister Enda Kenny shrugged off decades of political deference.

He declared: “The rape and torture of children were downplayed or `managed` to uphold instead the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and reputation.” He denounced “elitism, disconnection, dysfunction and narcissism in the Vatican.”

Previous polling has indicated that a majority of Irish Catholics are strikingly out of line with the Vatican’s attitude on issues such as priestly celibacy and the introduction of women priests. Almost 90 per cent believe that priests should be free to marry, with over 70 per cent saying they believe married men should be ordained.

Rome’s reaction to criticism from Irish priests has been authoritarian. One priest with liberal views was ordered to a monastery to “pray and reflect” while another was prohibited from writing on such issues.