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silly_walks_616 karma

Have you ever tried to convince your rich friends that they are wrong? What did they say?

edit: spelling

silly_walks_13 karma

Dr. Kelsky,

You have been an outspoken critic of higher education, particularly when it comes to the various ways colleges and universities exploit the precarity and insecurity of graduate students and adjuncts who are seeking stable, permanent positions.

In order to secure those positions, you advise them that their best and most successful strategy is to "play the game" as it were -- write, dress, speak, and behave according to a set of professional standards that are, by your own definition, sexist, racist, classist, etc.

So here's my question: How do you reconcile your professional advice (to more or less conform to expectations) with your advocacy (to speak up and change the system)? These beliefs need not be in opposition, but they often are. So, for example, we all know that we should dress for the job we want and not the job we have, but as the recent #Ilooklikeaprofessor hashtag suggests, some professors understand the idiosyncrasies of their attire to be a part of their personal identities. Another example might be academic civility on social media -- UIUC's treatment of Salita seems to indicate that it's a bad strategy for even the tenured to be outspoken on social media, and yet many academics feel a sense of solidarity and advocacy when they take to twitter to show their support of various causes (including yourself).

A more "Kantian" way to put the point would be to ask you what the world would look like if you universalized your professional axioms -- if graduate students, adjuncts, and pre-teunred faculty behaved according to your professional advice, what kind of professional world do you think we would have?

silly_walks_4 karma

Marc Bousquet has already shown that PhD "overproduction" is a myth. More undergraduates are going to college (both in total numbers and percentages of the population) now than at any point in our history. Someone needs to teach those students.

The problem isn't that we have too many highly trained, intelligent people to teach undergraduates, but that those highly trained, intelligent people aren't being paid a living wage. So instead of saying that we need to cut education programs, I think a better way of addressing the problem would be to say we need stronger (and better) collective bargaining agreements that secure those wages. Another way of putting it would be to say, as Bousquet does, that we aren't overproducing PhDs; we are underproducing jobs."

silly_walks_3 karma

They shouldn't be. I have it on good authority that no single person -- not even the president -- has the power to take on powerful special interests like wall street alone.