Academic tenure means a professor cannot be fired without disciplinary proceedings of prodigious length.  It carries no presumption of salary increases, stable working conditions, or capital and personnel support.  The candidate for tenure must make substantial investments in relationship-specific human capital, which brings in its train opportunities for the employer to hold up the employee.  It's a messy problem with conflicting perspectives in the academic work.

At the Pueblo campus of Colorado State University, the hold-up takes the form of a work speedup for the proles.  Tight budgets require the administration to change on-load teaching from 3 + 3 to 4 + 4 with no change in compensation and no mention of reduced administrative duties or research expectations.

As a further productivity measure, the existing business faculty is apparently being assigned to a branch campus in greater Denver as their additional on-load course.
Business and nursing are the two programs from our university that are participating in the first stages of Colorado State University’s South Denver campus. I just talked to our Dean of Nursing. Their Nursing Completion Program there will be staffed by new hires in the South Denver area. The Business faculty, on the other hand, had to submit their CVs to Fort Collins so that they can decide which of them has to commute up north. Yes, you read that right. CSU-Pueblo business faculty will be forced to commute to Denver at least twice a week. On a good day, that’s two hours each way. On a bad day (which means you hit rush hour), it’s much worse. Don’t even start with me on what happens when it’s snowing.

Like the rest of us, the business professors (at least in theory) have to teach a 4-4 starting next year. This is going to be the “4″ for many of those professors. Has anybody decided who’s paying for their gas? No. Has anybody decided on who’s actually paying their salaries (since this is a Fort Collins controlled program)? No. Has anybody decided whether these people will be compensated for their travel time? No. I was just talking to a colleague over in business. Apparently, they were told this was coming a year ago and then told to “make it happen.” They’ve received no other guidance at all.
And the last passenger trains between Pueblo and Denver quit with the coming of Amtrak.

I note, though, that when administrators change the working conditions of tenure-track faculty in such a way as to be more like the working conditions of contingent faculty, the expected rewards to winning the tournament diminish and sensible advisors ask postulants and novices to consider their choices carefully.

The research-active faculty at Pueblo note that the productivity measures are likely to be counter-productive.
CSU-Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare said many departments are already teaching 12 credit hours per semester.

“We are asking those who are not to do so to help balance the budget,” Di Mare said.

Di Mare said staff workers also are taking on additional duties.

“We have met with those individuals whose workload will be impacted and discussed how duties from eliminated positions will be distributed,” Di Mare said.

[Physicist William] Brown said the quality of education at the university will decline with the new 4-4 workload.

Brown said the job goes way beyond working in the classroom.

“We don’t have teaching assistants here so we have to do every bit of our own grading, preparations for exams and having students in for help,” Brown said.

Brown said several professors also are involved in research projects that take time.

“If research and the efforts to get grants here at the university are diminished as a result of going on this 4-4 schedule, I think CSU-P is going to offer fewer educational opportunities.”
A more recent post at More or Less Bunk features an insightful comment.
1.) Faculty Handbook revision: Research shall be eliminated as a category of evaluation for retention, tenure, and promotion.

2.) Truth in advertising 1: In recognition of the importance of research to a university, CSU-Pueblo shall be renamed Pueblo State College.

3.) Truth in advertising 2: Ask the External Affairs office to issue a press release titled, “Working-Class and Hispanic Students Thrown Under the Bus.” Text of the release would explain the term “disparate impact” as it pertains to the education of already marginalized students.
Put another way: adding to the excess capacity in access-assessment-remediation-retention on the cheap does not provide human capital development for place-bound students who might be hungry and determined all the same.

1 comment:

Chris Lawrence said...

Where's Richard Vedder to cheerlead this change when we need him? After all, he and his "CCAP" apparently think anything less than a 4-4 teaching load is a complete waste of resources.