Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the view across the pond

We are not alone. This story in Times Higher Education has a familiar ring: "The insecure scholar: My name badge is about to let me down again" is from THE's new weekly online blog on the daily struggles, petty indignities and insecurities of an academic life on casual contracts: "Conferences are fun but the chat about position and status can be so embarrassing."

The writer then describes a typical conference encounter, "Yes, I’m fully qualified with a good track record of post-doctoral research and publication. But my position within academia since completing my doctorate has been unclear. For a number of years after completing my thesis I did not hold a university position, subsisting on freelance community research projects. In those years, I came to dread receiving an integral part of any conference – the name badge. I had no institution to put underneath my name. When I bumped into people I knew, they would frequently come out with something like: 'so you’re now at... oh', looking embarrassed at my lack of affiliation. I’d have to quickly summarise my complicated employment situation before apologetically explaining that I was still doing some academic writing in my field."

What's on your name badge? Maybe it's time to face up and out ourselves as what and who we are, precariously employed some still desperately seeking permanent academic employment. Imagine the effect of complacent tenured conference goers looking around a room and seeing themselves in the minority, outnumbered like Custer at Little Big Horn... 

Other UK post-secondary (tertiary) education links of possible interest:
  • College and University Support Network (CUSN):  an independent charity supporting all adult, further and higher education staff and their families to improve their wellbeing and effectiveness; established by the Teacher Support Network, in collaboration with the University and College Union, to meet the specific needs of those working in further and higher education.
  • University and College Union (UCU): represents more than 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK and is the largest post-school union in the world. 

1st U, & founder: Rupert I: 
how times have changed

No comments:

Post a Comment

pull up a soapbox and share your 2¢


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...