Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Ass Gets Bitten

After the Orleans Parish School System fired/laid off all teachers last year, the new state-run Recovery School District now needs to hire about 500 in the next 6 weeks. Not a single teacher has yet been hired for any of the 15 schools opening in September. The detailed and seemingly professional screening process originally decided upon will be scrapped so the district can get bodies in classrooms as soon as possible.

At the University, my department was decimated when all non-tenured faculty were laid off. My department went from 18 to 6. 3 of those 6 have yet to return and 2 have already said they will not be back at all, anytime, under any conditions and one, so worn down by this alleged school year we had between January and July, has decided to retire. We are left with 2 literature professors. The University refuses to foot the bill for a national ad, insisting that the chair and dean search via "word of mouth" and "the grapevine." Unemployed PhDs aren't hanging around these days. After mass university layoffs, all based on "paper" rather than program strengths or needs, the college educated left. There is no local pool of qualified, quality college instructors with PhDs waiting around to be hired. All those with options and sense left months ago. The university thinks that hiring without an ad and at the last minute (since there have been no takers yet for these unadvertised positions) will not just maintain but enhance the academic quality of our department. The main person making this decision is not thinking realistically or clearly, in my opinion. But I think other universities may be in the same spot come mid- to late August, scrambling to put bodies in classrooms, especially for core courses. University professors, instructors, even adjuncts are not interchangeable, quickly replaceable cogs in a machine. It takes experience and training and I do not feel, as some of my colleagues do, that putting an underqualified person in a classroom to teach a core course is appropriate. The students are cheated yet we are unconcerned because it is not full-time, tenure-track faculty screwing them?

I do not see how "Schools could be short on teachers" will inspire folks to return.

2 Comments:

Blogger ChasingMoksha said...

WOW! Sounds like a real idiot is in charge, someone who has completely forgotten what the whole college thing is all about. When I get my PhD, I am willing to relocate, however, I would have to be invited,-- and enticed. Duh!

Thu Jul 13, 04:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Leslie Bary said...

For core courses, I think there are ABDs at UL Lafayette who would take jobs ... this is an English department, right? I'd email the job descriptions up there, dept. chair is Marcia Gaudet. Maybe also ask Reggie Young, he has connections to LSU as well.

Fri Jul 14, 11:58:00 AM  

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