Sunday, June 05, 2016

The Donald Trump Chair and Professor of Law

Many law professors hold this esteemed position. It is for those who sell nothing to unsuspecting buyers. Here is what I mean. There was a fellow at a law school at which I once taught. He was up for tenure and that meant class visitation. The visits took place over a 2 week period. Near the end of that time,  a student asked me why Professor Trump was giving the exact same lecture every day.  Yes, he had one particular presentation he had down pat and he went to that one whenever a visitor appeared.

And then the was the Trump professor who did his summer teaching by way of a prerecorded course. This way he could be paid for both teaching and research in the summer, a custom made side deal. One year, though, the same guy needed an extra course in the regular school year to qualify for a sabbatical. All of sudden the prerecorded course, that was offered at the same time it was always offered, was listed as occurring during the spring semester and our boy gets his sabbatical with no additional effort. He may be recruited by Trump U -- the experts in something for nothing.

A friend of mine who is a high school principal tells me that whenever he has to contract the parents of a student whose parents work at the university he call them at home. He asked me, "what is this working at home thing." Some people do work at home but some people are able to actually teach at home. One particular Trump professor, likely hired because he was the grandson of a political celebrity and former Harvard professor, managed to teach his students from home after creating a course that involved supervising students who were teaching high school students about law. Yes, no need to come in to do research or to teach. Nice (non) work if you can get it.

All of us have minor Trump appointments in the form of confercating -- going to conferences that are actually vacations. I am happy to say that the new dean at my school has a rule that you actually must do something at a conference before the School will fund it. God forbid! Great idea but there is still the moral hazard of a 5 minute minute panel appearance or recycling the very same work you reported on 23 other times.

I've blogged way too much about advocacy posing as scholarship and there is no better example of a dead weight loss. It's like throwing away money.

There are many Trump Professors who double dip. They purport to be full time academics but are actually part time while they are consulting or "of counsel." Here is the difference. Most true academics think pretty much all the time about their jobs. "'Could I have done that better in class?" "How would one counter the position I took in my last paper?" "What is a better way to measure the impact of that case?" It's not a matter of being noble. They cannot help it. Always thinking. Yes, I think I am talking about you.

The Trump professors have a time for school work and then a time for making money and self-promoting. Instead of ideas they spend a hunk of time working for others and thinking about what angles to play with book and article placement. In fact, the academic job is not full time for them. Instead they decide how much time they can afford to devote to it.  Maybe they are just bored. Maybe they are in the wrong business.  Here is the catch, when they interviewed for the job they talked about their love of teaching and research.  There is never a mention of how much time off they need for their other job. What's Trumpian? -- the old bait and switch.  Evidently the psychic income of having what can be the best job in the world is not enough.

I'll bet Trump never waits in line. His turn is always first even if more deserving people get there first. There are Trump professors in law teaching in the form of the so-called trailing spouse. Not all of them but there are instances in which positions are created, not advertised, and all of a sudden a line cutter shows up with a job that could have gone to someone who worked harder, would teach more students, but is sleeping with the wrong person.

No comments: