Being more than an “administrative convenience”

This is a brief post to keep the conversation about adjuncts, anthropology, and academia going.  Check out this piece over at Anthropology News* about the “Challenges to Organizing Academic Labor.”  Here is one choice selection to think about:

Eli Thorkelson (U Chicago) and Ryan Cook (Saint Xavier U) observed that accepting the culture of academia makes contingent faculty complicit in the system. Graduate students and recent PhDs hold on to the promise that professionalism, hard work and talent will eventually be rewarded with membership in the guild. The graduate teaching assistant, adjunct or visiting assistant professor believes, at least initially, that the position is a stepping-stone when, in reality, it may be no more than an administrative convenience.

I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but I sure didn’t go to grad school to become an administrative convenience.  You?

In related news, since student debt is one of the big problems that keeps coming up in these conversations, check out the Project on Student Debt.

Lastly, check out the New Faculty Majority site, which focuses on doing something about the issues that face adjuncts and contingent faculty.

Let’s keep the conversation going, folks.


Update I: For one example of an alternative model, check out The Saxifrage School.

Update II: Definitely check out the video from the Saxifrage folks.  I like how they are thinking about education, especially within the context of local communities.  Here’s a direct link to their video on YouTube.


*Thanks to Savage Minds reader Keahnan Washington for sending me this link.



Ryan Anderson is a cultural and environmental anthropologist. His current research focuses on coastal conservation, sustainability, and development in the Californias. He also writes about politics, economics, and media. You can reach him at ryan AT savageminds dot org or @anthropologia on twitter.