December 4, 2013

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Great Stratification. “Given that there are more than 1.4 million college faculty members in the United States, it is clear that they are not disappearing. But the all-purpose professor has faded. We have tended to see the professor as a single figure, but he is now a multiple being, of many types, tasks, and positions. And instead of the traditional idea of a community of scholars, all roughly equivalent, we now have a distended pyramid, with a huge base of people whose primary job is teaching, often entry-level courses; a layer of specialists in particular fields and researchers who may hardly even teach above them; and a thin spire of administrators commanding the peak.” Actually, the administrators outnumber faculty. But academia has become a stratified environment, with a comparatively small nobility reigning over an army of low-paid adjunct serfs. But don’t worry — the people at the top spend a lot of time decrying inequality!

I think we should convert administrators into low-paid, contract-worker “adjunct administrators.” In fact, I argue for this in my forthcoming book, among other things.