Administration

Posted by: yoyo52

Administration - 09/29/02 08:15 PM

I just have to vent a little, so please excuse me.<br><br>#!@ $#$ % %%#&^$# %#$ *^(#<br><br>There, now I feel better.<br><br>But really, is there anything more hateful than administration? I spent more or less all day working through a set of papers, and then reading stuff to prepare for classes tomorrow. And then, instead of taking the evening off to let my brain cool off a little, I had to spend three hours doing administrative crap. Of, I recognize it's important to do it (in this case very important since it involves getting organized to hire someone new for a key position in my department) But still, so much of it is just inane busywork that I sometimes wonder how people can do it day in and day out, year after year, without just cracking up.<br><br>Aha--I think I've just discovered why things are always so screwed up! Administrators really have cracked up; they just don't recognize it <br><br>Great wits are sure to madness near allied.--John Dryden, "Absalom and Achitophel"
Posted by: sean

Re: Administration - 09/29/02 08:58 PM

well, you know...macgizmo is sure you do absolutely nothing, so why not live up to those expectations and toss the administrative stuff aside? <br><br>anyway, here's the text of MG's rant at MC:<br>[color:"blue"] I agree completely. This is one reason why the education system is so f#cked up in this country. Professors in my opinion are the dumbest people in any given university building. They may be book smart, but they can't communicate with anyone, they haven't lived in the real world in a while, they have no "working" experience, and as you said, they can't be bothered to actually DO THEIR STINKIN JOB!</font><br><br>it's pretty common knowledge that students are not in the real world while they are learning (so the saying goes), but now MG has decided that the people employed to teach them are also not in the real world and don't even live in the real world. hmph.<br><br>[color:blue] -sean</font color=blue>
Posted by: yoyo52

Re: Administration - 09/29/02 09:17 PM

Well, MG wouldn't be the first to think that academics don't do anything. All I can say is that I wish that were true in my case <br><br>I have a story that might be of interest in this regard, Sean. Once upon a time, my wife's cousin was secretary of a NY City department--you know, the head administrator of her department. This was under Koch, so it was a while ago. Anyway, she decided that she ought to be able to teach a course in public administration because, by gum she was a public administrator. So she got an adjunct position at a school in the City. I won't mention names, but it's located up in Morningside Heights .<br><br>By the end of the semester, she swore she'd never again teach another class. Why? First, because she discovered that she had to figure out what she did practically in order to be able to convey it to her students--and doing that, she discovered, was one of the hardest things she'd ever done. Second, because she had never worked harder in her whole life simply at the daily grind of doing the classes.<br><br>I'm not complaining about the teaching, though. I actually like it. I guess I wouldn't do it if I didn't. On the other hand, I can't imagine teaching in a school setting. The mere thought of facing a class-full of 13 year olds drives me to drink.<br><br>Great wits are sure to madness near allied.--John Dryden, "Absalom and Achitophel"
Posted by: sean

Re: Administration - 09/29/02 09:45 PM

heh...we have great difficulty getting adjuncts to stay on after their first experience. <br><br>i agree on the teaching...those middle school kids can be downright ruthless. then again, they can start much younger. when i finished college, i moved to colorado and worked for a while. got homesick and very, very poor so i moved home. i couldn't find openings in my line of work (recreation management) so i got an emergency teaching certificate and substitute taught...this is what catapulted me into teaching. anyway, one day i was called in to take over a second grade classroom about an hour into the school day. when i arrived, they told me the earlier subsitute teacher went home crying. the students were acting like they were allergic to the woman, wouldn't mind her, and just gave her fits. i didn't run into similar problems (must have been my cologne), but the story has always given me a chuckle to think harmless little 7 year old kids could do that to an adult.<br><br>[color:blue] -sean</font color=blue>
Posted by: MacGizmo

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 06:18 AM

What's the matter Sean, you actually TRYING to start sh!t with me now? You prove my point then, you live in a glass bubble I guess and can't take criticism.<br><br>First off, you quoted my post out of context. Second, I stand by it. Universities put way too much money into Professors. It's not that I don't have respect for what they have done/accomplished, I have a problem with the way they spend their time on my dime. They are payed to teach, and yet they (they being many profs who can be found in most all universities) spend a great amount of their time writing books, papers and generally doing anything BUT teaching and answering questions. I also feel, and many people agree, that they live in a world that passed them by the minute they started teaching. I have personally witnessed several speeches/lectures where I questioned where the professor got his information, because I dealt with the subject every day, and the professor was flat-out wrong unless he was referring to "past" methods and terminology. He simply wasn't up with the times. He had absolutely no clue what was happening in the real-world.<br><br><br>[color:red]semicolon dash parenthesis</font color=red>
Posted by: sean

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 07:47 AM

no no no...not trying to start anything, i even left the first sentence of your post so that people reading would know there is more to the context. just a little humor to help yoyo do his "stinking job." <br><br>as for your problem with how they (professors) spend your dime...perhaps you should be more upset with your decision to attend the university you chose. professors wouldn't keep their jobs if they only taught. those papers, books, etc. are required at many universities. so is serving on various committees (e.g., what yoyo is complaining about)...i am sure yoyo and i would be more than happy if all we had to do was teach. we are both at universities that don't value the scholarship (publishing, presenting at conferences) as much as teaching. we are expected to teach more at our universities than we would if we were at major research institutions (e.g., unlv, ucla, notre dame) and our teaching evaluations are probably figured into our tenure vote much more than other factors. perhaps you should have selected a different university where teaching was more valued???<br><br> a general rule of thumb...if a program is highly ranked (e.g., a journalism school), then it is often because that program is bringing in a lot of money. to bring in a lot of money, a person (read: a professor) has to spend a lot of time doing scholarship (e.g., writing papers, writing grant proposals). so, the profs are forced to maintain the high level ranking and this is usually at the expense of the students' access to a particular professor. on the other hand, this money can then be used to purchase extra equipment and supplies that can give their students a better shot at finding employment later on. it's a give and take. you want to use nice, new macintosh computers for design? it comes at a cost. <br><br>sorry to hear that you had a professor(s) who was out-of-date...if he had kept up with the current literature in the field and incorporated this into his teaching, he'd come across much better. i never liked those professors who used the 5-10 years old lecture either...i paid for my own college and wanted to feel like i was spending my money wisely. i hope you let the professor know on your evaluation of him.<br><br>bygones?<br><br>[color:blue] -sean</font color=blue>
Posted by: MacGizmo

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 08:00 AM

Perhaps it was a bit harsh to lump ALL professors into one comment, but I just came across the same situation a little too often. I actually ended up leaving the uni and going to a trade school where I promptly realized how out of touch the big U was in regards to the subject.<br><br>Perhaps the universities need to offload the grant writing to someone else rather than the folks who are supposed to be teaching the people who are paying to learn. Unfortunately, it sounds like schools of higher learning have turned into businesses rather than schools - our Government at work, no doubt. God forbid a school doesn't have a good football team to bring in tons of money... then they're reall up sh!t creek.<br><br><br>[color:red]semicolon dash parenthesis</font color=red>
Posted by: sean

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 08:51 AM

higher education is a very big business -- and, since you mention athletics...many athletic departments are forming their own corporations to do stuff outside of normal bogged down university procedures (a whole different complaint of mine). presidents and chancellors are now considered to be CEOs and make strickly business decisions, which can be good and bad. i don't like this trend, but money drives business whether that business is design, widgets, or education. if all students in your line of business were to start attending the technical/trade schools, then the money would speak loudly and things would likely change. as long as the students are going to the U, the U will not change for the better (imho).<br><br>[color:blue] -sean</font color=blue>
Posted by: MacGizmo

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 09:02 AM

Don't even get me started on athletics... <br><br>That BS starts in High School. The HS I went to had 5... THAT'S FIVE, football fields, 6 baseball fields, and a soccer field. That is total BS! My graphic arts class in HS (I was lucky to have one in HS, IMO) could barely get the funds for one Macintosh back when they first came out. I played football, so I'm not totally against it, but cmon... Every year we got new uniforms... they need to start cutting the athletics down to size and pumping that money into "real-world" learning. Better books, pay the teachers better, and offer more in the way of classes like Accounting, Computers, Autos, and other "Trades".<br><br><br>[color:red]semicolon dash parenthesis</font color=red>
Posted by: Trog

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 09:12 AM

This is all so true.<br><br>I've been associated with 'mostly' big universities only. For the last four years I've been at the University of Arizona and I've recently participated on a committee to hire new faculty for our department (Mol. Biology). The sad truth is teaching is honestly an AFTERTHOUGHT when evaluating new faculty at big universities. At least science faculty, that is. By far, the individuals record in research (papers published, grants accepted, etc.) is simply what gets that person a job in academic science these days. <br><br>In fact, we had two people that were offered a position based on these criteria that then later turned it down because he or she found out that they would have to teach too!! How do you like that?<br><br>And this is only half the story. When it comes to getting tenure at a large school like this, research again is weighed as the much more important contribution made by a young professor. Only if they are terrible at teaching, and receive many bad evaluations, will that become a factor. On the other hand if that person has missed a round of grant funding when it is time for tenure... see ya!<br><br>
Posted by: greenme1

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 09:33 AM

Tell me about it..... They just put an indoor football field up a year after an all new field! At the same time they just cut a huge part of the funding for the new stage and i no longer get the new lights they promised me 2 years ago! Keep in mind the School districts budget is $92 million dollors a year, and the city of Pittsburgh has a budget of $200 million a year!<br><br>Oh by the way I am the Lighting Designer for the High School if you were wondering. <br><br>
Posted by: yoyo52

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 10:34 AM

I went to a big state school as an undergraduate, and then to one of the top two or three universities in the country as a graduate student. In both places I encountered professors who were professors in the full sense of the word--that is, they taught, they did research and published it, and they performed a variety of administrative functions. Of course there were some individuals who were less successful as teachers than others, but my impression then, and my impression now, is that a professor who does not do some research and publishing is not doing what is necessary to be a good teacher. I'd bet that in Sean's school, as in mine, even though the two are "teaching" rather than research institutions, there is an expectation that professors will do research and publish it.<br><br>It's true that at research universities those poor folks who are still untenured must absolutely devote themselves to getting their first book published, and as a result their teaching sometimes suffers. And no doubt sometimes the habit of shortchanging teaching for the sake of research will continue after the person is tenured. But, again in my experience, that happens much less frequently than one might suspect. In fact, I'd say that the university and college system in this country is quite possibly the most effective, best system in the world, and the professoriate here is quite possibly the best as well. Some of that has to do with the American approach to education, which is much more practical in its application than the approaches elsewhere in the world. But a lot of it has to do with the fact that all institutions here require the full spectrum of work fromtheir professors--teaching, research, and administration. The same is often not true elsewhere in the world.<br><br>Great wits are sure to madness near allied.--John Dryden, "Absalom and Achitophel"
Posted by: sean

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 10:42 AM

as much as i enjoy watching college basketball, i also think that the athletic programs are a huge problem for universities. you mention football being a money maker...football costs a lot of of money. when i was at the university of kansas in 1992, our team finished in the top 10 in football (a freak accident to be sure). we went to a bowl game and beat UCLA. great year, except that the football team ended up spending more money than they brought in. they lost money even during a highly successful year. 95% of the athletic programs are losing money (greater percentage if you include division II and III, too). division I athletics have become a training ground for athletes where the academics often fall into the background. i am very much opposed to this model. i would much rather see caps on the percentage of money that can be spent on athletics. then again, some universities spend mucho more money on athletic tutoring centers with specialized staff to help keep athletes eligible. why not open this up to every students? i could have used some free tutoring in human physiology or kinesiology. also, there is far too much practice time allowed for athletes...cut it way back at every university and allow those athlete/students to become students first -- nobody gains an advantage if everyone cuts back on practice time. cut the salaries of the coaches so they are more in line with professors (this is already the case at many smaller universities). don't let coaches get the money from shoe deals -- why should they get this money? let the university use those extra funds for more scholarships for students or more technology, etc. for all current students. no university is going to change unless they all do. nobody wants to lose the competitive edge. time to build a new, state-of-the-art weight training center to keep up with nebraska. class schmash! win, win, win, win = money, money, money, money.<br><br>[color:blue] -sean</font color=blue>
Posted by: MacGizmo

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 10:48 AM

Yeah, unless you're talking about Nebraska, Miami or the big boy on the block (Notre Dame), football isn't going to "give" you as much money as it will "take."<br><br><br>[color:red]semicolon dash parenthesis</font color=red>
Posted by: sean

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 10:55 AM

you got it. we have 4 criteria to meet in our journy towards tenure: teaching (most important), scholarship (second most important), unit and university service (committee work in our department and the university), and community service (in my experience, this is a "who cares" category, but it's good to have at least something to say here). student evaluations weigh heavily here, as do your peer evaluations each semester. i am required to have a tenured faculty member watch me teach once a semster. this person then provides me with feedback and writes the feedback for all to see. my wife and i were trained at a top program like you were and we learned to value the scholarship side of things very much. we learned how valuable the research can be in improving the content of what is taught to students everywhere. one good article and the impact can be enormous. we are trying to get published and present at conferences as much here as we would if we were working at a research institution just in case we want to make the transition at some point. but, first and foremost, we teach and try and teach well. that's what counts here, but will largely be ignored if we ever decide to move to a research institution. like trog said, get published enough and obtain enough external funding and you're golden. <br><br>[color:blue] -sean</font color=blue>
Posted by: yoyo52

Re: Administration - 09/30/02 02:25 PM

Hey, it sounds like you guys copied our system--or maybe we copied yours! As chair of my dept. this year, I also have to visit every single one of the people who teach in my dept. at least once per semester. That's 19 souls I have to visit--and then write up a response, and discuss it with the person. Oh what bliss that is, let me tell you!<br><br>I've discovered that as I get older, the community service stuff becomes more and more important. I've gotten involved in the town as a member of the trustees of the public library, as consultant with the school board, as interpreter for fokls whose English is not as good as their Spanish. It keeps me busy, but makes me feel I'm actually doing something useful for people.<br><br>Great wits are sure to madness near allied.--John Dryden, "Absalom and Achitophel"