Thursday, December 03, 2015

Letter From Home

Dear Jack:

I just thought I would write and let you know what is going on in my life. I am still teaching law and living in a small Southern town. We have Fresh Market but not Whole Foods. We make up for that by having more Walmarts per capita than any other city in the world.

Things used to be fine at the law school but now we have fallen under the rule of a new dean who makes ridiculous demands. Just listen to this. He expects us to do research when we have research grants and actually have something to show for our efforts.  Well, so much for academic freedom! I really may file a grievance because our old dean never really asked for anything. I guess his view was that part of our job might entail doing nothing because, evidently, that was his job definition.

And then there are the forms we have to fill out. Oh my God. Some take as long as ten minutes to fill out which means that is time I could be devoted to my very, very important research. In fact, this semester alone I had to fill out a form to explain what I do for the money the school pays me and to indicate what classes I will teach. OK, I know it is probably OK to ask what I want to teach but, GET THIS -- I am asked to only list courses that students sign up for. Really, that is so over the top. People like me who teach in highly specialized courses may only have 5 or 6 students. I fear for what will become of those students who will now be deprived of my expertise.

Some of our best work comes out of various centers, foreign programs, and advanced degree programs. We have had all of these for years. Eleven years ago they were all studied very closely and it was determined that they were all first rate. That was good enough for me. Yes,  in some cases we have several faculty devoting all their time to a hand full of students while the remaining faculty teach several hundred students in massive impersonal sections,  that is just they way to goes when you want to have quality.

The changes are really upsetting. Teaching more students and writing. When exactly did that become part of our jobs. It is so discouraging and I am feeling so very sad that we cannot go back to the day of being true intellectuals.


No comments: