Tuesday, February 8, 2011


-- Second Suitor

ps I'm a driver, I'm a winner... things are gonna change I can feel it.


BunnyHugger said...

Who needs a job? Cheez Whiz is cheap!

Anonymous said...

Cheez Whiz? Don't get too crazy with that stuff.

Anonymous said...

What is an academic "fellowship"? Heretofore, I'd thought a fellowship meant the awarding of a substantial amount of money to enable one to carry-out research, focus on course-work, etc. At my university, at least, the competitive teaching fellowships are explicitly awarded, in part, to support doctoral candidates writing dissertations (in addition to their teaching one course).

And so I was a little bemused to read this: "The Department of Religion and Philosophy at Lebanon Valley College invites applications for a nine month, full-time teaching fellowship starting August 2011. The successful candidate will teach three courses in the fall semester and four courses in the spring."

I'm not saying this is a bad job. But if you're asking someone to teach one course shy of a 4/4 load for $35,000, don't try to dress it up through a misleading use of a fancy title.

zombie said...

Some schools use the term "teaching fellow" to describe something akin to being an adjunct, but with supervision. A TF (unlike a TA) would be responsible for all course content, etc., but is working under the supervision of another professor (unlike an adjunct, who works independently).

So, the difference is the supervision, and that the TF is supposed to be learning to be a teacher. It's a position that would be open to an ABD.

wv: harmsim: virtual harm

Anonymous said...


I think the modifier "Teaching" is a good tip-off that the money one would be receiving isn't intended to "enable one to carry-out research, focus on course-work, etc."

Anonymous said...

Somewhat off-topic:
I've been asking fellow grad students in my department whether they would teach philosophy for free. My setup usually goes: Imagine someone from NYU, Oxford, (insert your favorite top program) offered you an adjunct position, teaching 1-4/+ (you pick) intro level courses a semester, receiving no pay and no benefits and no TA or grader. Would you take the offer? So far everyone I've asked has said no. I am on the other side here--if a poopy SLAC or state college, even, offered me a slot volunteer teaching intro courses, I would likely take it, especially if it could continue indefinitely, I could pick how many to teach each semester, and the school was in a nice area. I am curious whether anyone else would volunteer teach, or whether they would under some circumstances. I am also wondering if it would actually be possible (legal?) to get such a gig as I'd sign up for it now if I could. What do you o-smokers think?

Anonymous said...

I've been trolling the smoker for free for a while now. I'd be happy to troll poopier blogs too, but my friends think I'm mad as a hatter.

Anonymous said...

So, the difference is the supervision, and that the TF is supposed to be learning to be a teacher.

But that's not what this department wants/offers. There's no mention of "mentoring" or helping an ABD learn to teach. In fact, prior college-level teaching experience is a necessary condition for even getting the job. ("Applicants must have attained ABD status or a recent Ph.D. and have experience in college-level teaching.") It looks like they're just using 'teaching fellowship' as a fancy name for a low-paid, non-tt VAP with a heavy teaching load; and that because you're a 'teaching fellow' instead of a VAP you'll be paid less.

zombie said...

Anon 5:49 -- what would be the benefit, for me or for the school, of my volunteering to teach philosophy?

For me, it would mean an extra job, in addition to the jobs I already have.

For schools, who would presumably be charging tuition for the classes I teach, it might be marginally more profitable than paying a stipend to a grad student to teach. But since teaching classes is a valuable part of a grad education, it would diminish the grad student experience to have an outsider teaching instead.

At a school where I used to adjunct, there was an older gentleman there who was an adjunct. When the school faced budget cuts and had to cut back on their adjuncts, he volunteered to have classes cut because, as he told me, he "didn't need the money." Presumably, he just really liked teaching. I like teaching too, but I can't afford to work for nothing. I couldn't afford to work for nothing in grad school either, and typically had three or four jobs simultaneously when I was in grad school (adjunct, TA, day job, weekend job). I needed every one of those jobs.

WV: suploit: what schools do when they substitute unpaid teachers for paid teachers

Mr. Zero said...

Hi anon 5:49,

My basic question is, I think, the same as Zombie's: how am I paying the bills in this scenario? If my monetary needs were satisfied, and I mean fully satisfied, then I would consider an arrangement where I would teach a couple of classes a semester at a good college in a nice area for no money. But I stress that I would consider this arrangement only if I literally did not need to have a full-time job or any extra money for anything. (But if I were in that situation, there are many more valuable volunteer projects out there.)

And I guess I think there are good reasons not to pursue this model for the employment of college-level philosophy teachers. Obviously, you need a lot of post-secondary education to be qualified to do this job. And not many people who are so qualified are independently wealthy, so you'd have people with full-time jobs teaching philosophy in their spare time. This arrangement makes sense for the coaches of little league teams, where the qualifications aren't very intense and presumably you do stuff like that in order to spend more time with your kids. But I don't see why you'd be willing to spend the ten or twelve years after high school pursuing an advanced degree, then take a full-time job in an unrelated field, and then spend your spare time teaching other people's kids about philosophy.

From the perspective of how colleges and universities are operated, this is a highly exploitative employment arrangement. One you really wouldn't want catching on.

And I say that as a person who loves teaching. I got into this business so that I could have a full-time job doing something I love. In recognition of the actual importance of having a full-time job, I cannot see doing this job, which I love very much, for nothing.

Mr. Zero said...

Also, I would not move specifically for the opportunity to teach philosophy for no money.

Anonymous said...

I would never let a volunteer teach a course because there is no accountability created without a financial transaction as well. In other words, your employee needs to stand to lose something if they quit. (and of course you could say that someone would lose standing in the profession if they quit a volunteer job, but that is another question.... Especially since many would assume that if you teach for free you literally see no value in what you do).

zombie said...

A willingness to teach for no pay, indefinitely, suggests a belief that teaching is not work that is worth paying for. I'm not Socrates, or Zombie Socrates, so I DO think teachers perform a service for which they ought to be compensated.

Granted, we don't directly get paid money for publishing in academic journals. We get compensated for that in prestige and CV building, which are prerequisite to getting a TT job. I might consider continuing to write and publish if I didn't have a job and thought I had no prospect of ever getting a job in philosophy, but I imagine that after a while, the necessity of paying the bills would tend to dampen my spirit for such volunteer work.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not saying this is a bad job. But if you're asking someone to teach one course shy of a 4/4 load for $35,000, don't try to dress it up through a misleading use of a fancy title."

F that. I was paid less to do that for years. I would have killed for a fancy title.

Nick said...

If I had Adorno's trust fund, and a wife as sweet and smart as my own but who was willing to transcribe my brilliant conversations with some Horkheimer figure in my life, I would maybe consider taking that job. But not a 4/4. Maybe a 1/0.