Originally Posted by Piobaire
Yikes, Rach, just that little example makes me so happy I'm not in the academy.
Originally Posted by Eason
Rach's stories about academia feed my nightmares.
For people who come from business/private sector, I honestly think you'd be amazed that it doesn't come crashing down and I think you'd make it about two weeks before snapping. Of course, I'm not talking about my work as a teacher/researcher (which obviously I love!) but the inner workings of how Departments run.
Sorry for the length, but my basic theory of Academia goes like this:
many, if not most, have spent their lives feeling like they never got the respect they deserve, that their "genius" was never recognized, and that their wants/desires/phobias were never coddled enough.
When young, many of these pale face flat chested tiny dicked overweight nerds playing Dungeons and Dragons never got respect, never got the girls (or boys), got picked on, called names, etc. Nobody cared.
In college, they were smart, but not popular. Grad school, they blossomed and found research interest. After grad school, they went right into academia, both with these same phobias/background of "abuse" and also having NEVER had an actual job.
SO, they start a job teaching in which they are ripe to turn that abuse outward, and have NO idea how to function in a real world setting, with not training how to handle problems, work with a group, be responsible for XYZ (like they would had they worked in a private business.) They also have no idea about the problems of a real world, and so when that student misses class because he had to work (to pay his tuition), or was sick, or whatever, they are unreasonably assholes and have NO empathy whatsoever. THEY have the time to spend 12 hours a day reading Bourdieu, so why can't their students? THEY never had lives in college, so that means nobody else does/can either.
Get a bunch of these like-minded social rejects with a chip on their shoulder and a list of PhDs and publications a mile long together, and over time they create the world that they want to see, as they get promoted. Now that pimple faced overweight nerd is 50, and a sleazy cardigan wearing prof or a raging, angry feminist who hates men of all kind (and other women even more) and has the power to do what they want.
Now, though, with the ultimate PC atmosphere, their wants and feelings get coddled, and they really have no bosses or restrictions (assuming they publish and/or get grants!) so basically they can do whatever they want. They also realize that being collegial or playing nice doesn't help, and that being the biggest asshole (or, for women, the biggest bitch) often gets them what they want. Over time, sure, this may SOMEDAY come back to haunt them, but not before they've made Dean or full Prof and earn $150,000+ a year to work 8 hours a week.
Academia has its good points, of which there are many, but the way in which it is run, the things that usually are valued, and the inner workings of a department are not. I LOVE teaching because I can work with students, so keep me in the classroom and out of the Department Office Suite!
Things are slowly changing, with things like "pay for performance" and a FEW principles brought over from business, but it's still basically a very old, very broken, feudal socialistic bureaucracy with hints of Fascism thrown in for good measure. I wish administrators were, in general, NOT simply promoted faculty (who again have NEVER had a real job), but instead were people who have a background/training in... mirabile dictu... administration! They usually are not.