Sunday, May 5, 2013

movie break

…now showing…last of the profs aka the great train wreck…still on topic…#academiclabor featuring the #adjunct as Gunga Din, post inspired by The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities by Frank Donoghue, Fordham UP, 2008, the  most recent entry in  the Academe blog seriesReviews of Recent Books Concerning Current Issues in Higher Education,

Donoghue thinks (2008) it's too late to turn back and that we've already passed the tipping point. Asked at the beginning of the interview above to describe last profs in ten words or less, he replies, "a train wreck with no survivors."
Academe reviewer Martin Kich, synopsizes Donoghue's main points with admirable clarity and calls the book a "seminal work of the corporatization of American universities," adding that Frank Donoghue offers "a much longer historical view than most other authors focusing on the topic." Kich, who also blogs for CFHE's"On the Issues" blogargues against the inevitably, not always convincingly. 

So déjà vu all over again. I started assembling materials for a related "literature of whither U" post. Looking for more about Donoghue and his book, I hoped for a page, found more reviews, but hit pay dirt on YouTube, with a series of 4 short videos of an interview that I added to the New Faculty Majority playlist (above), BYOP.

In Academic Matters (Canada), Emily Gregor Greenleaf calls The Last Professors: "a eulogy to Stanley Aronowitz' 'last good job in America'" (2011). She notes that,
 Although Donoghue values the disappearing fields and the type of work they provide, his goal is not to argue for their continued relevance. Donoghue is distinct from others who have discussed the marginalization of the humanities in that he sees this disappearance, not as an assault on the values of the liberal arts, but as an unintended consequence of much larger changes in the academic system.
Earlier, Scott Jaschik, in his 2008 IHE interview with Donoghue, asked what prompted him to write the book and how it relates to tenure, increased reliance on contingent academic labor and, finally, how a tenure track professoriate could be restored. Donoghue replies,
The tenure-track professoriate will never be restored. Two factors seal its fate. First, the hiring of adjuncts continues to outpace the hiring of tenure-track professors by a rate of three to one. It’s silly to think we can reverse the trend toward casualization when, despite a great deal of attention and effort, we can’t even slow it down. Second, the demographics of American higher education don’t help us either. For 40 years, students have been moving away from the humanities toward vocationalism. This trend has been accompanied by an equally pronounced shift in enrollments from four-year schools (with English and History majors) to community colleges, where the humanities have never had a strong presence. Tenure-track professors don’t have a place in this new higher education universe. Much as it pains me to say it, I never considered putting a question mark at the end of my title, The Last Professors.
Back at the Chronicle, Bousquet blogs Last Professors? (with a question mark), describing the book as a "vigorous, approachable, and often angry book that seeks to hold the tenurable minority responsible for the steady flowering of multiple tiers of labor" and criticizes professional associations and graduate programs.  Quoting Donoghue in Last Professors,
This take-charge, self-help approach is perfectly pitched to an audience of job-seekers who have survived graduate school and earned the Ph.D., and who cannot bring themselves to admit that the academic labor system is rigged against them. Instead, they deny it, or, more accurately, they don’t believe that the system will personally victimize them. If they fail, it is because they were “underprepared.” Ideally, they believe that their personal merit and thorough preparation will override the workings of the ‘market.’ … If you believe that success or failure is largely up to you, the job search itself becomes an intense personal drama about individual distinction and merit (p 37).
…Marc did not want to believe it either.


  1. I'm blogging for CPFA as MadFreewayFlier on LiveJournal and will happily re-post NFM and other items on my Twitter feed #TKVest, also.

    1. Thanks ~ and delighted to hear it. I've been wanting CPFA to have more social media presence with links for me to share. Other parts of the country need to know more about CA adjuncts.

      I just added your LiveJournal link to the #NewFac Web 2.0 (blogroll) feature here ~ it 10 most current posts but is getting crowded...time to split into more than one. I'll get all the twitter streams connected and do more RT's next time on TweetDeck, plus a notice on FB tomorrow when awake and coherent

  2. - I don't know exactly where to put this but this interview seems right up your ally. It's a good friend of mine talking about the adjunct situation from hs personal experience.

    1. Thanks, Rhie. We posted the link on NFM's Facebook pageand tweeted to thousands... literally.

      Talk about timing...just yesterday, I added a Tumblr page, New Faculty Majority News & Links just for quick posting and overflow links. Tumblr pages include a submit a post feature that I activated. The pull down menu in the upper left of the compose screen shows different screens for text, link, image, a quote or video


pull up a soapbox and share your 2¢


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...