Quantifying the (Academic) Self
By Anastasia Salter
Looking at my calendar alone, it’s hard to get much of a sense of what I do each week. In between blocks of meetings, “office hours”, and scheduled classes, there are oddly placed gaps that are inevitably packed and yet unstructured. Perhaps that’s part of what makes faculty workload a popular target: David Levy’s editorial in the Washington Post, “Do college professors work hard enough?”, has added fuel to the endless debates about faculty workload. It includes accusatory gems like: “Though faculty salaries now mirror those of most upper-middle-class Americans working 40 hours for 50 weeks, they continue to pay for teaching time of nine to 15 hours per week for 30 weeks, making possible a month-long winter break, a week off in the spring and a summer vacation from mid-May until September.” Follow-ups to the editorial even take this a step further, suggesting that academics are inefficient.
Many have joined in the conversation to counter Levy’s arguments, and accounts like Philip Nel’s tracking of an academic week and the many accounts of Day of Digital Humanities offer very different pictures of what a workload in academia looks like. Debates like this are possible in part because time in the classroom might appear to be the only “scheduled” part of the day. As anyone facing spring annual reports, another season on the job market, or another milestone is well aware, quantifying productivity is necessary for accountability. However, that accountability is about more than punching a time clock, and the hours of investment in prepping a new course, advising students, grading and administrative or alt-ac labors might well go unrecognized by those outside evaluations.
- Ex-Chancellor Thinks Faculty Need To Work Harder And Be More Productive (keptup.typepad.com)