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In for Nasty Weather

By Dan Barrett

Maybe it’s because tenured professors are so disproportionately white male baby boomers that classic rock seems like a natural way to capture the sense that tenured faculty existence is vanishing.

First, summon the image of a tweed-clad, gray-haired professor exiting the halls of academe at the end of his career — only to be replaced by an underpaid adjunct, whose credentials and teaching skills may well be far better than those the newly emeritus had when he started. Then, take your pick of the soundtrack. The song spoke to the tenured professor in his youth, but now it conjures a more forlorn feeling as he leaves campus — and the kind of faculty job that he held leaves along with him: “Slip Slidin’ Away,” “The Song is Over” or maybe “Already Gone.”

In an upcoming post on his blog that is tentatively titled “Full Moon Setting,” James C. Garland, president emeritus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, reaches for the album-oriented rock catalog (his title is a riff on the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, “Bad Moon Rising”). The song’s lyrics seemed apt, he said. “I hear hurricanes a-blowing/I know the end is coming soon/I fear rivers overflowing/I hear the voice of rage and ruin.”

“The metaphor in higher education is that the bad moon is rising,” Garland told Inside Higher Ed. “You’re hearing the voices of rage and ruin. It comes from unhappy faculty who want to form unions to protect themselves, declining standards, students who aren’t willing to work, the corporatization of the university and the general sense that things are getting worse.”

Continued at: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/05/16/life_for_college_professors_is_no_longer_what_it_once_was

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