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post #46 of 104
It's funny that academics are thought of as being so badly dressed. I went to the USA's most eccentric slightly brandname U., and some professors were quite dapper. Their dress ran the gambit from bespoke to streetwear, and in both categories it could be pleasing. There was one professor who alternated between Armani suits, green velvet jackets, and very soft-looking leather jackets. Another fellow's whose look was suits with various bright-colored turtlenecks. The late author of a somewhat notorious bestseller wore $5000 Lanvin blazers and bespoke suits. One spring, I had a prof. who always looked fabulous in linen pants, leather sandles, and various baby blue and pink shirts, etc. His wife is Italian. On the other end of the spectrum was a slightly younger "dude" who wore tight bellbottoms, dior homme - type sleeveless tops, cord blazers and various big-collared vintage shirts and sometimes a cowboy hat. There was a whole crowd of more boring dressers, but they certainly didn't look like the messy kooks described here. Polo shirts, blazers, and khakis were the getup for most. Blah - but acceptable. I should add that my father is a prof. and he usually wears a bowtie, and suit or blazer. On more casual occasions, it's harris tweed and a turtleneck. Not brandnames or anything, but he does his best. Of course I didn't take much science and my father is a historian. I say that with immense respect. A good friend of mine is a physics professor from Japan who dresses quite awfully. He is brilliant. From the fragment of his theories that I can comprehend, it seems like he will be the next Edison. I mean, fashion atrocities can be entertaining as well. There is a certain appealing style to the nerdy scruffiness of these people.
post #47 of 104
Quote:
And most important here: we do not work 8 months out of the year. No college professor does if they are in a tenure-track position. While my classes run from late August to the end of May, I spend my summer preparing classes for the fall and doing research. I also don't work a 40 hour week--during the academic year it tends to be 60-70 hours per week. Please don't perpetuate that dumb stereotype that teachers get their summers off. It simply is on true. bob
Perhaps, YOU work 60-70 hours a week. I won't be ungentlemanly enough to doubt your word, but if so, you are surely one in a thousand. Some of the other fellows who have never been professors may swallow this malarky about sweating all summer "preparing classes for the fall and doing research." Remember, I've "been there, done that." Once you've got your syllabi made up and taught a course a time or two, preparing a class is no biggie. I might concede that at a top-tier university the pressure for research and publication are greater, but the teaching burdens are commensurately lighter. During my graduate years at UCLA, the teaching "load" for the average prof was was six hours a week for two quarters and three hours for the third quarter, and sabbatical leaves were frequent and generous. I taught history at a "second tier" state university. The history faculty there, especially the younger ones, were the worst bunch of lazy loafers and poseurs I have ever seen (most of them, anyway). I was able to outpublish practically all of them--in top journals I might add--and I sure didn't bust my posterior in doing so. (Aside from politics, this was a major reason why they hated me--it gave the lie to their lame excuse that the university's isolation and library facilities prevented them from doing the research they were otherwise lusting to do.) Admittedly, being a professor is not a high road to riches. Otherwise it is a sweet and easy road through life. In fact, relative to the actual work performed, I consider it pretty much a racket, and a lucrative one that. Many years ago there was an amusing little expose of the professorial racket by an anonymous professor, "This Sure Beats Working for a Living." The title says it all. It is my strong conviction that we could probably shut down about 70 percent of our institutions of higher learning, use a fraction of the money to improve the quality of our high school education and be ahead of the game for it.
post #48 of 104
I agree with this. I remain friendly with a several of my undergraduate professors and law school professors. I've never once heard any of them complain about work load. A 60 - 70 week? Again, I won't doubt your word, but I've never met a single professor would spends 60 - 70 hours a week (or even 3/4 of that) fulfilling his professorial duties. And, once you get tenure, forget it. And that's the biggest thing -- in most professions, a promotion equals even longer hours. In academia, unless one works out of a desire to be the most prolific writer, tenure leads to a much easier worklife. Now, I know some professors who do substantial consulting work on the side, and that jacks up their hours. Of course, they also get to hire brilliant students to do massive amounts of work for them and only pay them $12 an hour.
post #49 of 104
Quote:
Of course, they also get to hire brilliant students to do massive amounts of work for them and only pay them $12 an hour.
Less. The most brilliant students I know work for about a third of that. Of course, they also get "valuable experience" (i.e. a good reference letter, contacts, possibly a publication) in addition to a degree. On the other hand, I know some really well paid management consultant who spend most of their billed hours playing solitaire or Pong, and a lot of the actual time worked is spent changing the fonts on their powerpoint presentations. You want "real" work? Go into construction. You want high pay for low effort? Ride a desk. If you can (theoretically) wear a suit to work, you are probably eating off someone else's back, one way or another.
post #50 of 104
For the most part, I think that what you said is the truth.
post #51 of 104
I teach at a major research university, where there are plenty of faculty members who work quite hard. Others work less. Professors aren't overworked, but, at least in my experience, they aren't quite so lazy as a few of you have suggested. A 60-70 week might not be the norm, but more than a few of my colleagues put them in. I even do it myself from time to time. I have to say that I find some of the academic bashing here a little tasteless. I am sorry that you found so few of your colleagues worthy of you, Jlibourel, and that you think that professors practice unusually exploitative labor policies, johnnynorman3. I haven't found the professors I work with today to be all that different from the other people I've worked with in the past (in law firms and in a large business). Edited (removed typos)
post #52 of 104
All we can do is speak from our own direct experience. So your's was different from mine. But I think my experience is far more typical than what you have experienced. Here is my load during the academic year: A. 3 classes each semester (9 hours/wk in class) one of which is typically writing intensive (in economics.). The office hours that goes with it. Typically this is for 50 students. All this amounts to easily 40 hours/wk. B. Committee work amounting to probably only an hour per week. C. Research if I can find some time would be another 5 hours/wk. Notice how little actual research that amounts to. D. Various meetings about other stuff -- 3hrs/wk E. Advising (including 5-7 senior theses) -- 8 hours well, that's 57 hr/wk already. Make this specifically the end of the spring semester and you can tack on another 10 hours/wk. I didn't include my commute. And none of this includes the little bit of consulting work I do. My assumption is that we're talking about the workload for someone who likes their job and tries their best to do it. If your colleagues were lazy, well that's another matter. There are people in the private non-ed sector who are lazy too. I have colleagues that are lazy too. And I do sweat my class preps. Because I value above all else my teaching. You cannot simply repeat your same class year after year and consider what you do to be quality. You must constantly update it. You must experiment and figure out what works best--what content, what assignments, what timing, etc. This is my sixth year teaching and I'm still making changes to couses. Even my Principles of Microeconomics which I have now taught 20 times (literally). Maybe you just aren't teacher material. What happens when I get tenure? Nothing changes except that I could end up being dept chair with the extra work that that entails. If I'm lucky by then I can get can get a break and not have to do as much research as a trade for being chair. But right now our chairs can't. And at this point it seems we are truly off the topic of this thread. If you guys want to discuss it elsewhere I'm sure we can start a new one and bitch there. bob
post #53 of 104
Quote:
 And I know many people who choose academia in part because of its relaxed attitude towards things such as dress and hours.
If the biology department of the university I attended is any indicator, the lack of a drug testing policy was another major factor.   (I worked as an undergraduate research assist in an "in silico" virology lab so I had some knowledge of such things, also, the prof I worked for did not work even 40 hours a week unless it was crunch time to get a manuscript ready for peer review or publication)
post #54 of 104
Professor Dawson, I admittedly don't know squat about economics, and math was never my long suit, but I see a great disparity between your 9 hours in the classroom, and the 40 hours you claim as a total relative to it. You talk about your "office hours." I can recall that my office hour was commonly spent waiting around for the students that never came to see me, and such was the experience of most of my colleagues. How many "hours" are we talking about here? So where are the 31 hours spent? Do you need a great deal of time preparing the lectures you already slaved on all summer long? If you assign so much homework that it takes you the better of part of 30 hours a week to grade it, you must be the most hated prof in the history of American higher education. And "eight hours a week advising (including 5-7 senior theses)," these seemingly not included in our mysterious 31 unaccounted for hours. Good heavens, I don't remember spending any time to speak of in individual consultation with my senior thesis professor--certainly nothing like an hour a week. Hell, I didn't spend more than a few hours a semester with my dissertation prof at least discussing serious business. We would BS around a lot, but I didn't consider that "work" on my part or his. As for your little dig, "maybe you just aren't teacher material," well maybe not. I did double the enrollments in my classes while I was there and was seemingly popular with the students. However, considering my disdain for academicians in general--whom with some honorable exceptions I consider to be drones and parasites on society--perhaps it's well that I wasn't "teacher material."
post #55 of 104
JLibourel, I spend an actual 9 hours in the classroom. The majority of time is spend grading. And, no, I'm not the most hated. On the one hand, we all believe that college is hard work and that you had better be ready to do it. On the other hand, think about it, if you have 40 students writing papers for you, how many hours does it take you to concientously (sp?) grade each of those and give them comments? Now what if they're turning in 3 or 4 such papers (one 2-pages, two 4-pages, and one 7-pages)? And what if you have to grade a rough draft of each also? That's my writing intensive classes. The others (such as basic intro micro) have weekly homeworks and weekly quizzes. These have to at least be modified some from the previous semester if not completely rewritten from what I gave out the last semester. Then they have to be graded. The office hours? A good deal can be spend waiting with some classes, but I always have students asking for extra help. Especially with upper-level classes. And I hold about 10 hours of office hours each week. No, not every minute is filled with students, and when they aren't around, I grade. So fold some of that grading time into office hours and you still have a huge number of hours. As for the senior theses, again, it's the time it takes to read the things. Actual meeting time with some of them is minimal, with others it is every week for an hour. Sometimes twice a week. These theses are not MA/MS material but they are usually a good 40 pages long. I virtually never met with my dissertation committee but that's because they had the attitude that at that level I damn-well better do it on my own. At the undergrad level it's different I think. As for my comment about you not being teacher material, you're right, that was rude. I apologize. But if you are not willing to put that extra time into it, and you are willing to just use the same materal over and over, you probably aren't the best person to be in the classroom. Nothing wrong with that--it sounds like your strong suit is research. It certainly isn't mine. bob
post #56 of 104
Quote:
As for your little dig, "maybe you just aren't teacher material," well maybe not. I did double the enrollments in my classes while I was there and was seemingly popular with the students. However, considering my disdain for academicians in general--whom with some honorable exceptions I consider to be drones and parasites on society--perhaps it's well that I wasn't "teacher material."
Having worked in several departments AND being popular with my students (as is evidenced by my consisently high evaluation scores), I have serious doubts that you doubled the enrollment all by yourself. Most class enrollments increase dramatically because of shifting requirements and interests. Besides which, just because one is a popular and well-liked teacher does not automatically that he/she is a GOOD. In his recent book What the Best College Teachers Do, the eminent higher-education researcher Ken Bain (and his colleagues) found during their decade-long study of teaching effectiveness that popularity had absolutely no correlation to success. This is supported by a load of earlier research. In fact, they found that many professors support bulging enrollment simply because they are known to be easy. As to your harsh disdain of academics (and your equally nasty description of us), that alone makes you a poor reference on the subject. Being that you're someone who works directly with communication for a living (as do I...it's my main area of research), I'd think you'd know better if you wanted to be taken seriously.
post #57 of 104
It does seem a bit thick to come out in public and denounce a whole profession as "drones and parasites on society," even if you feel that way. No doubt a lot of us feel ill-disposed toward all sorts of different professions, but it's just not, er. nice to go around insulting all members of a given profession at a stroke, even with that little dodge of "all honorable exceptions excepted." It's kind of ill-mannered, in fact, regardless of what ax you have to grind.
post #58 of 104
Professor Dawson, Thank you for maintaining a gentlemanly standard of civility. Some of my language no doubt was too intemperate, and I apologize (to you, too, as well, Teacher). Evidently, you must be extraordinarily conscientious and hard-working. Thinking back on my whole experience in higher education revives some very bitter memories, even if it was all a long time ago. I will say in my defense that I was certainly at least as conscientious and hard-working as any of my colleagues, most of whom spent much of their time reading the sports pages of the paper and organizing weenie roasts and softball games. Perhaps things are different elsewhere.
post #59 of 104
Hmmm... I hate lawyers. But who doesn't? Also bankers, particularly of the I variety. Also doctors, but only plastic surgeons. Also, telemarketers. Especially those who put you on hold. Also, pushy salespeople. Basically anyone who works at Bernini's. Also, anyone who takes Ayn Rand seriously. Also, anyone who takes science too seriously. Or not seriously enough. Also, slow people at the checkout counter. I'd add to the list as people I hate occur to me.
post #60 of 104
Quote:
Professor Dawson, Thank you for maintaining a gentlemanly standard of civility. Some of my language no doubt was too intemperate, and I apologize (to you, too, as well, Teacher). Evidently, you must be extraordinarily conscientious and hard-working. Thinking back on my whole experience in higher education revives some very bitter memories, even if it was all a long time ago. I will say in my defense that I was certainly at least as conscientious and hard-working as any of my colleagues, most of whom spent much of their time reading the sports pages of the paper and organizing weenie roasts and softball games. Perhaps things are different elsewhere.
I suppose that you are not an adherent to the "ernest" ethos then?
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