I know somebody – a tenured professor – who routinely teaches 5 and once even 6 courses instead of 3. For no extra pay. The reason why she does this is that every semester she’s told “If you don’t do it, there’s nobody else to cover these courses. The majors won’t be able to graduate and the program will die.”

This is not an isolated case. Many tenured academics teach above their contractual load at no extra pay because they are told that otherwise their program will be closed down and they will be fired.

Literally, the only thing that can prevent this is unionization of tenure-track and tenured professors. An administrator will not make these threats in front of a union rep who, of course, will make sure the conversation is recorded.

7 thoughts on “Manipulation”

  1. I’ve heard of some things along those lines going on at my university, though not quite as extreme. I know that a few people have been told that they “owed” the university an extra course because they had several low-enrollment courses over a span of 2-3 years and no large enrollment courses to balance those out. No one told them they were building up a “debt” until they were assigned an extra course.

    Non tenure track instructors sometimes have their pay prorated when the courses are low enrollment and while I could understand that it might make sense to do this if the alternative is to cancel courses, the formula assumes that each student in the course equals exactly the same amount of work for the instructor. But that’s really only true for the grading, the preparation and the time in the classroom are exactly the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you about unions but tenured faculty have to grow a damn backbone. I would never ever agree to this. It it means a program implodes, let it implode.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I don’t believe in it but I do often teach 4 for this reason. Once I taught 5 but only because thee 5th one was the one that would save mental health. Initially I was the one who said what? let the program implode, then!


  4. Maybe I dodged a bullet not getting tenure.

    Then again, I’m currently signed up for five courses in the fall. So perhaps I’m wrong. I have no idea what’s going to happen in my life right now. 🙄


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