Carbondale Shame

I don’t even know what to say other than that I have an intense desire to vomit. And if people who are getting this email are not pushing back and telling this fellow where he can shove it, they deserve everything their poor excuse for a school is about to get.

-~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Dear Chairs, I know you are swamped right now with various requests and annual duties. I apologize for adding to that, but I am here to advocate for something that merits your attention. The Alumni Association has initiated a pilot program involving the College of Science, College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, seeking qualified alumni to join the SIU Graduate Faculty in a zero-time (adjunct) status. ——-> Candidates for appointment must meet HLC accreditation guidelines for appointment as adjunct professors, and they will generally hold an academic doctorate or other terminal degree as appropriate for the field.

These blanket zero-time adjunct graduate faculty appointments are for 3-year periods, and can be renewed. While specific duties of alumni adjuncts will likely vary across academic units, examples include service on graduate student thesis committees, teaching specific graduate or undergraduate lectures in one’s area of expertise, service on departmental or university committees, and collaborations on grant proposals and research projects. Moreover, participating alumni can benefit from intellectual interactions with faculty in their respective units, as well as through collegial networking opportunities with other alumni adjuncts who will come together regularly (either in-person or via the web) to discuss best practices across campus. <——-

The Alumni Association is already working to identify prospective candidates, but it asks for your help in nominating some of your finest former students who are passionate about supporting SIU. Please reach out to your faculty to see if they might nominate a former student who would meet HLC accreditation guidelines for adjunct faculty appointment, which is someone holding a Ph.D., MFA, or other terminal degree. One of the short-comings with our current approach to the doctoral alumni is that the database only includes those with a Ph.D. earned at SIU, but often doesn’t capture SIU graduates with earned doctorates from other institutions. Here are the recommended steps to follow:

· Chairs in collaboration with faculty should consider specific needs/desires of their particular department, and ask how they could best utilize adjunct faculty. For example, many departments are always looking for additional highly qualified members to serve on thesis committees, and to provide individual lectures, seminars, and mentorship activities for both graduate and undergraduate students.

· Based on faculty recommendations, chairs should identify a few good candidates and approach those individuals to see if they are interested. The interested candidate should provide his/her CV (along with a brief letter of interest outlining areas in which they are willing to participate) to the department chair, who can then approach the Graduate Dean for final vetting and approval.

The University hasn’t yet attempted its first alumni adjunct appointment, but this is the general mechanism already in place. Meera would like CoLA to establish a critical mass of nominees before the end of the summer. A goal of at least one (1) nominee per department would get us going.

Thanks,

Michael


MICHAEL R. MOLINO
Associate Dean for Budget, Personnel, and Research

COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS
MAIL CODE 4522
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY
1000 FANER DRIVE
CARBONDALE, ILLINOIS 62901

mmolino@siu.edu
P: 618/453-2466
F: 618/453-3253

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30 thoughts on “Carbondale Shame”

    1. Then they will whine about how the university is dying and the enrollments are dropping off a cliff. But students aren’t dumb! They don’t want to be at a place like this.

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        1. The time stamp of the facebook post I linked to is from 10 hours ago. This email was sent only to chairs, not to the wider faculty, so at least one of the chairs leaked it (that’s a good sign!). It’s going to take some time for this info to spread, but it won’t be very long. I’m guessing every faculty member in the system will have knowledge of this within 48 hours, if not sooner.

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  1. I didn’t realize adjuncts needed to be recruited from the alumni pool since there’s supposed to be a permanent job shortage in academia. Why in the world would anyone respond to a job recruitment from the alumni association for 3 year contracts as an adjunct, the same one which begs for donations upon graduation? I can’t imagine being a faculty member recruiting anyone I liked to this kind of job.

    Or am I misunderstanding the email?

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      1. My aunt taught university classes for free. She also had a Ph.D. But in exchange she was able to earn another Ph.D in another field free of charge. She’s now an associate professor at a third institution. I don’t think she supervised anyone’s dissertation during this period, pulled in grants, or did service, though I would have to ask her.

        I don’t understand what these putative zero hour appointees get out of this arrangement.

        I can’t imagine hiring anyone I valued so little to do something this complicated. People have a way of working down to the level you expect of them.

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        1. “My aunt taught university classes for free. She also had a Ph.D. But in exchange she was able to earn another Ph.D in another field free of charge”

          From what you’re writing it wasn’t free of charge – she was getting tuition etc in exchange for some teaching (in what was probably a highly individualized situation).

          The link is about de-professionalizing and de-skilling university level instruction by making it a hobby for the rich and well-connected (like journalism) rather than a profession that receives compensation…

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          1. “The link is about de-professionalizing and de-skilling university level instruction by making it a hobby for the rich and well-connected (like journalism) rather than a profession that receives compensation…”

            • And, you know, it’s fucking Carbondale. Nobody is rich and well-connected. If you are rich and well-connected – or even marginally well-situated – why the ef would you do a PhD in Carbondale?

            I’m very upset by this. I’m even more upset by the lack of interest my colleagues are exhibiting towards this development. Of course, it’s the end of the academic year, everybody is busy, but that’s precisely what these evildoers are counting on, for everybody to be too busy to notice.

            As I always say, we only have ourselves to blame.

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    1. I suppose they would be legally considered volunteers. Missed that “zero-time” means zero money till Clarissa pointed out.

      Wait, if they sign a 3 years contract, what happens if they decide to quit after a month or half a year? Are they legally and financially liable to get sued by the university? Usually volunteers may quit anytime, but this proposal may truly combine “the best” of two worlds – no pay and one-sided legal obligation.

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    2. Nope, no more than the intern positions that assume one has the wherewithal to live in NYC without a salary.

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      1. Unpaid internships are an atrocity in any region. It’s up to us not to reproduce this kind of injustice. I have colleagues who use unpaid labor and somehow justify it to themselves. But it’s immoral no matter how they try to rationalize it.

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  2. If you don’t have enough faculty in an area to form a graduate thesis committee, you shouldn’t have a graduate program in that area. There are too many graduate programs in most fields and a graduate degree from a program that is that low on faculty isn’t going to be worth much.

    And if there are enough faculty and they just aren’t willing to serve on committees, someone needs to examine the incentive/disincentive structure surrounding thesis committee service.

    This really ought to cost that dean his job, but that’s probably expecting too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “If you don’t have enough faculty in an area to form a graduate thesis committee, you shouldn’t have a graduate program in that area. There are too many graduate programs in most fields and a graduate degree from a program that is that low on faculty isn’t going to be worth much.”

      • That’s what we’ve been saying for years. But they have a 40% smaller teaching load than we do only because they have these PhD programs. It all comes down to their need to retain better working conditions and better salaries than we have while constantly borrowing money from us to pay their bills.

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  3. Completely outrageous from every perspective. It exploits the alumni, lowers the quality (or perceived quality, doesn’t really matter) of the degree, undermines the faculty, and opens up possibilities for all sorts of abuse of people and gaming the system.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Like its public-university peers in the state, Southern Illinois is not exactly flush with cash. A protracted political showdown left the state without a budget for about two years”

      Oh, cry me a river. We lived through the same budget crisis and we handled it with dignity and without exploiting unpaid labor.

      Like

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