13.7.18

THE QUANTIFICATION FETISH.

Manhattan College philosopher Mitchell Aboulafia stands astride the conventional wisdom, yelling "Stop!"
Nevertheless, people could work to curtail the reign of the productivity principle. They could try to undermine the use of quantity as the most compelling marker of achievement by, for example, modifying their department’s criteria for tenure and promotion, and following up with good arguments to administrators for why the new approach is warranted. Scholars can work in places that are less obsessed with productivity and let others know that this was a choice, not a fallback after a failure to win a position in a doctoral department. Colleges can decide to provide release time for improving pedagogy and designing new courses instead of making release time contingent on research, which is then judged in terms of quantifiable output.
It's likely a false hope to complain about commodification, as universities are subject to market tests, non-profit status or ambiguous products notwithstanding.  But attempts to apply simple metrics of "productivity" are likely to produce unintended consequences.

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