ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Here is an essay about a professor leaving academia

I went to U of I.  There were parts of it that I enjoyed, and the culture wasn't that bad.  But I can see parallels.  For me it was more a matter of looking at the way education was going, and deciding not to get involved in public education as a teacher.  It was obviously going down the tubes, and that was decades ago; it's infinitely worse now.  So too, many colleges.  :/  I couldn't stop it.  I could sure get the hell out of the way.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-19 09:05 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
It's certainly been my experience that it differs from school to school. When I went to t'other U of I (Idaho!) I connected great with professors and students alike even as a late transfer student.

When I came to UW for my Masters, I think one professor noticed I was having a massive breakdown over the course of two years? And none of the students I shared the majority of my 10-20 person classes and an office with. Everyone was too busy with their work to look at each other.

It was... not something I'd want to repeat, even if I still love learning and would love to study a few more fields. (If I'm in too much pain to work, I might as well be learning, ehh?)

-ZB

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-19 02:30 pm (UTC)
thewayne: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thewayne
The finale to earning your PhD in astrophysics/astronomy has a pretty high casualty rate, according to my wife. She developed an ulcer from it (KFC was about the only thing she could handle at the time), but got her doctorate and manages a 3.5 meter telescope and gets to bounce lasers off the moon. Others didn't succeed and got the consolation prize: a Masters. In this field you earn your BS then go for your PhD and see what happens, or at least that was the methodology 20some years ago when she did hers.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-19 11:51 am (UTC)
nanila: me (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanila
Interesting perspective, although this pissed me off:

Human connection was virtually impossible Early in my first summer I asked a colleague in English if she’d be free for lunch one day. “I’m sorry, I’m on a strict writing schedule. I only have the nanny from 8 to 5 four days a week over the summer, so those days are out. I could schedule you in one of my off days I suppose.”


I would've left off the "I suppose", but this is exactly the sort of thing I (and many other of my colleagues) might say if asked to lunch. I have a schedule I have to keep to because of child care and also my living circumstances, and I would rather be totally up-front about that with anyone trying to do something sociable with me. I don't believe that makes me unfriendly or "unwilling to make time for human connections", as the author suggests. Scheduling social outings with my lab is a nightmare because everyone has young children and lives miles outside London, but we do it (yay Doodle). It's just not spontaneous, which sounds like what this person wanted from everyone. And that strikes me as rather unreasonable.
Edited Date: 2017-09-19 11:52 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-19 12:40 pm (UTC)
curiosity: An interesting play of ocean waves and clouds. (Picto: Blue Clouds)
From: [personal profile] curiosity
The face of academia is decaying like everything else in this country. It's one more thing you think someone smart would see as a warning sign about how America's culture is trending downwards . . . but since there's money to be made off of student debt and it's more profitable to beat the spice out of faculty and staff . . . the people who could fix it are too busy counting their fat stacks of cash and getting their 18 holes of golf in.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-09-20 12:51 pm (UTC)
curiosity: Close up of a tabby cat's face from nose to corner of the eye, including part of the muzzle and a few whiskers. (Default)
From: [personal profile] curiosity
As smart as they think they are, you think they'd be somewhat aware of their own hubris. But you know, the more I interact with people the more I notice that the better off someone is doing, the less they actually consider things like that. I guess for every tax bracket someone goes up, their perception drops by one point.
Edited (Grammar.) Date: 2017-09-20 12:52 pm (UTC)

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-09-21 04:14 am (UTC)
curiosity: An interesting play of ocean waves and clouds. (Picto: Blue Clouds)
From: [personal profile] curiosity
Boo. Wealth breeds contempt. All the way around. Including contempt for common sense. I wonder if that isn't just a built-in feature. A self-correction option for when humanity goes off the rails.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-09-21 11:50 pm (UTC)
curiosity: A foggy, moonlight forest with flickering fireflies. (Picto: Fog and Fireflies)
From: [personal profile] curiosity
Well then things are going to get crazy interesting here shortly. Time to make some lemonade and set up a lawn chair to watch the show.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-10-01 02:40 pm (UTC)
johnpalmer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnpalmer
Hubris is part of what makes them the money-movers. Banking and finance are really pretty boring when done well and with social responsibility. But if you want to be one of the people who looks around for money to squeeze out of a system, it's probably necessary to think of yourself as the one who REALLY counts.

When the goal is to both scoop money out of an area, while convincing the other people that you're doing them a favor, it takes a particular kind of person.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-19 02:36 pm (UTC)
thewayne: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thewayne
I've been attending college for about 40 years, off and on, and it's sad the changes that I've seen. Currently I'm studying library science, and about to finish a certificate. I was a little late signing up for the current semester, and I noticed the same name teaching all the classes. I emailed her over the weekend and she said that enrollment is down, so the program has been downsized. I wonder if the other instructors were let go, or if they're teaching other subjects: I think she was the only one with a PhD in the subject.

My photography instructor is retiring at the end of this semester, but she's going to continue teaching online courses. I remember an instructor once upon a time telling me that community colleges are a barometer of the economy: when the economy is good, enrollment is down. When it's bad, enrollment is up. I'm just not sure that is still holding true with the continually increasing rates: our community college recently added $4 per credit hour to increase IT funding.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-19 04:00 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: (buzz)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*sigh* when the focus become profit rather than education...

all the love goes out of it. I'm not surprised that either UI or UW (who now has as a major donor a certain extremely profit-oriented Mr. Allen) went that way. I hope Eugene and Evergreen (locally known, less derisively than it used to be, as Treehugger U) (their mascot is the geoduck. Which is about as far from being a _duck_ as you can get...)

Although, ironically, you *can* have both... I have the pleasure of knowing several former students and one current professor at the University of Chicago. Chicago is *intense*. The best classes involve the lecture spilling out of the classroom into the student centre, the local pub when that closed, and students' rooms when THAT closed... my wife knows of at least one marriage - still exant - that came out of one of the most intense of those...

But then there's MIT... whose unofficial motto-cronym is "IHTFP." I Hate This Place.

Georgia Tech, I know what they'd do come a hurricane. KEG PARTY. That's just how us Fuzzy Beez roll.

Chicago? When after the week or two of sub-zero weather it "warms up" to 20F? Snowball fights on the commons!

MIT?

They get out the monopoly boards and play for blood.

NUH-UH. Not on a bet.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-19 05:11 pm (UTC)
zesty_pinto: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zesty_pinto
I agree with this in several ways. During my time working at the Museum of Natural History, I dealt with a lot of people who were miserable and basically stuck around either because they had nothing better to do or were justifying the highly competitive but underpaid environment with job titles that had no value in the grand scheme of the institute. Likewise, Michelle's fight for validity as a postdoc has been continuous and frustrating being the only staffer in a fairly empty office around other academics that were glaringly competitive against each other thanks to a continuously shrinking budget. The administration did not seem to understand this either, as they seemed obsessed with building things that look good but lack usefulness: in fact, one of their latest labs isn't even built up to the specs that the instructors need it for in order to do their research.

I'm not surprised that she left. Michelle is actually more comfortable working here with me, even though she makes less and is seriously underpaid given the value of her education because the culture here is a lot less crazy. It never surprises me that The Upturned Microscope is so ridiculously negative and then I even just read a Nature article actually praising PhDs getting second jobs to substantiate their slave wage income. The institutions are in serious need of revision, imo.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-09-20 10:40 pm (UTC)
zesty_pinto: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zesty_pinto
The current academic environment is just that, a terrible one. It's more insulting when you think of how what few winners there are include some of the worst people in existence. The Upturned Microscope already emphasizes that some professors are pretty bad already from suffering from laziness thanks to the endless resource pool of PhDs and postdocs looking for a way to keep working.

I still feel bad for Michelle. She's earning less than me. *ME*! I may have more experience in this field, but she has a god damn PhD working on materials and yet due to some downturn she can't even get a promotion to a similar position.

Thanks for reminding me, I gotta keep looking for her sake.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-09-19 06:13 pm (UTC)
batdina: hold your own pen (write for me)
From: [personal profile] batdina
I left academia in 1998, with two chapters of a dissertation written.

I didn't want to live that way any longer. I loved my students: they were most assuredly NOT my products.

I wish I had an academic job in the early 1960s. But definitely not today.

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