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(The Atlantic)   Tenured professors mail it in more often than the professors who actually have to teach to keep their gigs   (theatlantic.com) divider line 30
    More: Obvious, professors, private university, oversimplifications  
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1245 clicks; posted to Geek » on 10 Sep 2013 at 9:15 AM (45 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-10 09:05:53 AM
And the schools and students don't care.  The schools care about the grant and endowment, the students care about a piece of paper.  The age when people actually cared about learning has long passed, if it ever existed.
 
2013-09-10 09:18:43 AM
The study wasn't between tenured and non-tenured profs, it was between tenured/tenure-track profs and non-tenure track profs (i.e., adjuncts).  In other words, between professors who teach full-time, and professors who also do research.
 
2013-09-10 09:21:49 AM
Professors aren't there to teach, they're there to advance the boundaries of knowledge. Did you know that, as a student, you're responsible for educating yourself?  Bizarre concept eh?
 
2013-09-10 09:27:15 AM
i don't understand this piece, its as if the writer has never been to college or something.  i wonder though if the fight against teachers will soon include a fight against professors as well?  and i wonder why we the people have allowed this to happen to our educators anyway?  im sure people will chime in and write something about this that or the other thing, but in the end all we are doing is hurting ourselves, but im sure thats ok because apparently the most important thing in this day and age is to be correct
 
2013-09-10 09:28:03 AM
Dr. Sharon Ryan, University of Missouri- Columbia.
 
2013-09-10 09:36:20 AM
No shiat. So do people whose jobs are protected by the unions. It's painfully obvious who has a union job and who doesn't - the ones with excessive absenteeism and attitude issues are in the union.

I don't know why my workplace is half union and half non-union.

/Non-union
//One sick day the entire time I've been here; 15-20 minutes early every day I'm working
///No disciplinary issues.
 
2013-09-10 09:36:22 AM

EvilEgg: And the schools and students don't care.  The schools care about the grant and endowment, the students care about a piece of paper.  The age when people actually cared about learning has long passed, if it ever existed.


Sadly enough, I actually care about learning.  The problem is there's a big difference between what you learn in your field, and what is taught in a classroom setting.
 
2013-09-10 09:38:21 AM

Nurglitch: Professors aren't there to teach, they're there to advance the boundaries of knowledge. Did you know that, as a student, you're responsible for educating yourself?  Bizarre concept eh?


Says a tenured professor whilst propping his feet up on his desk.  J/K.  You're probably right, but I couldn't not write this.
 
2013-09-10 09:40:12 AM

Nurglitch: Professors aren't there to teach, they're there to advance the boundaries of knowledge. Did you know that, as a student, you're responsible for educating yourself? Bizarre concept eh?


Except every school, college, university will tell you the exact opposite of the above when they are trying to get you to enroll.
 
2013-09-10 09:43:08 AM
Tell me if I'm wrong on this - wouldn't those tenured professors, especially the big researchers, want to teach?  Not for the purpose of enlightening and educating of young minds, but for the search for a couple new unpaid interns?

You go through the usual lectures, you weed through all the brown-nosers, and you ask some difficult questions that maybe have no actual answers yet just to find those students who actually have a head on their shoulders.  Then you give them a spot in your lab, have them do all the work and you just stamp your name at the top at the end.

Okay that is a gross exaggeration but I'd love to hear from anyone who actually took one of those internships how their professor was.
 
2013-09-10 09:48:16 AM
Tenured professors shouldn't be teaching freshman lectures anyway. Leave that to the assistant professors or a postdoc or adjunct. The full professors should be teaching grad classes and upper levels.
 
2013-09-10 09:50:32 AM
My issue with this study is the comparison of tenure/tenure track vs non-tenure for freshmen only.  The entry level can be taught by someone less qualified but as you move up beyond that you need people who know  the state of the art in the field.  It is also difficult to compare completely unrelated fields.  Is this the same in english as it is in chemistry?
 
2013-09-10 10:03:06 AM
This has far more to do with research budget, expenditures on student services, and demographics of freshman class than tenure status. This paper is a nice jumping off point if you're interested in looking into this before taking this study as Word. The conclusion on page 17-18 sums it up if it's tl;dr for you. Basically, higher expenditures on research at an institution = less successful teaching. Who is conducting the research? Tenured professors. It's not like they're worse teachers, the school just has different priorities than education. That's the problem if you're concerned with undergraduate retention / persistence rates.
 
2013-09-10 10:07:57 AM
This study used data only from Northwestern, perhaps they hire excellent adjuncts?

However, assuming this trend is nationwide, there is a perfectly good explanation for this that doesn't rely on the "tenured professors don't care" simplistic explanation we always see in threads like this and in subby's flame-bait headline.

Tenure-track and tenured professors at R1 institutions, like Northwestern, often think of themselves as researchers first and teachers second.  Tenure and promotion at these schools is heavily weighted towards the quality of publications and grants, less so on measures of teaching success.  On the other hand, someone who is hired to teach at Northwestern may have applied for that job because they enjoy teaching and want to be good at it.  They also want to do a good job and get hired next year.  It's logical that students of teachers who want to teach, and have time to prepare to teach, would have better results than those whose instructors thought of themselves as researchers.

Many schools, including the one at which I am a tenured professor, hire faculty who think teaching is most important and  research comes second.  My tenure application was weighted towards explaining the development of my pedagogy and less so on my research results (though I did have to have peer-reviewed publications).  My colleagues and I are dedicated to the education of our undergraduate students in class, we include them in our research, and we mentor and advise them in service-learning activities, internships. clubs and other activities.  We get to know them well, we challenge them, and we push them towards being well-rounded, independent, productive people.  And we mostly succeed.

Not all Universities are the same.  Not all University experiences are the same.
 
2013-09-10 10:16:39 AM

satanorsanta: My issue with this study is the comparison of tenure/tenure track vs non-tenure for freshmen only.  The entry level can be taught by someone less qualified but as you move up beyond that you need people who know the state of the art in the field.


Can be, but should?  If "entry level" is supposed to stimulate interest in the field, it should expose people to where the state of the art is, and what the yet-unanswered questions are, because they always wonder "why is this field important enough for me to waste an hour on it today?"  Rehearsing only the dry basics from the 17th century, even if today's bleeding edge depends on that foundation, won't accomplish this.
 
2013-09-10 10:21:34 AM

DECMATH: satanorsanta: My issue with this study is the comparison of tenure/tenure track vs non-tenure for freshmen only.  The entry level can be taught by someone less qualified but as you move up beyond that you need people who know the state of the art in the field.

Can be, but should?  If "entry level" is supposed to stimulate interest in the field, it should expose people to where the state of the art is, and what the yet-unanswered questions are, because they always wonder "why is this field important enough for me to waste an hour on it today?"  Rehearsing only the dry basics from the 17th century, even if today's bleeding edge depends on that foundation, won't accomplish this.


In certain fields, like say "Philosophy" you simply can't explain the bleeding edge to laypeople. Ditto for "Math" and other subjects where high school leaves your education well short of the 17th century's cutting edge.
 
2013-09-10 10:30:33 AM

Nurglitch: Professors aren't there to teach, they're there to advance the boundaries of knowledge. Did you know that, as a student, you're responsible for educating yourself?  Bizarre concept eh?


Sounds bootstrappy.
 
2013-09-10 10:44:27 AM
My biggest worry is Universities using research like this, ignoring all of the caveats and shortcomings, to justify hiring more and more non tenure track faculty for teaching. It wouldn't be so bad if adjuncts weren't paid a horrible rate given the amount of training and expertise you still have to have. For anyone with a PhD you are talking about 8-10 years minimum of training (including your undergraduate degree) in a field. And typically getting paid (ad an adjunct) far less than primary and secondary teachers for similar amounts of work. You should be able to make a good upper middle-class income teaching 3-4 undergraduate courses a semester, because that is a lot of work.
 
2013-09-10 11:03:27 AM

Nurglitch: Professors aren't there to teach, they're there to advance the boundaries of knowledge. Did you know that, as a student, you're responsible for educating yourself?  Bizarre concept eh?


This is why MOOCs look so advantageous.  If the student is solely responsible for his education, there is no need to go through the costly middle man of the university.
 
2013-09-10 11:24:52 AM

LoveRBS: Tell me if I'm wrong on this - wouldn't those tenured professors, especially the big researchers, want to teach?  Not for the purpose of enlightening and educating of young minds, but for the search for a couple new unpaid interns?


Unpaid undergraduate interns aren't that useful.  It often takes more time to train and supervise them than the results warrant, particularly if they're splitting time between your lab and their classes.  They're often taken on more as charity.  This can also be true of new graduate students.  Perhaps teaching graduate classes could help in recruiting new doctoral students, but since grad students are there to ultimately do research, they scout out the faculty on their own anyway.  The real payoff for a research prof is when you have a grad student who is done with classes and can do research full-time, or better, have a postdoc with a Ph.D. who can do research full-time.
 
2013-09-10 11:59:36 AM
It seems really farking stupid to base this only on freshmen intro courses. Wouldn't we all assume that expert professors would be better at higher level classes than intro classes?
 
2013-09-10 12:09:43 PM

Bill Frist: Wouldn't we all assume that expert professors would be better at higher level classes than intro classes?


Sure, now that the intro classes involve re-teaching freshmen the shiat they should have learned in high school.
 
2013-09-10 12:11:04 PM

Gulper Eel: Bill Frist: Wouldn't we all assume that expert professors would be better at higher level classes than intro classes?

Sure, now that the intro classes involve re-teaching freshmen the shiat they should have learned in high school.


As well as just the basics of like writing an essay or doing research. It's a lot of hand-holding that you wouldn't expect experts in the field to be as good at , necessarily... and you certainly wouldn't expect them to have as much interest in it.
 
2013-09-10 12:27:49 PM
Actual results:

Controlling for certain student characteristics, freshmen were actually about 7 percent more likely to take a second course in a given field if their first class was taught by an adjunct or non-tenure professor.


Taking an intro class with a non-tenure track instructor increased a student's mark in their second class by between .06* and .12 grade points, depending on controls.

Disclaimers:

"Now time for a few disclaimers, some from the paper, some my own. As the authors note, this paper only looks at freshmen. Tenured professors might very well might do better in advanced junior and senior-level courses where they can incorporate their own research and special expertise into their curriculum and have a chance to work with students who've accumulated a bit more specialized knowledge. Also: Northwestern is a tony private university that attracts highly qualified faculty to work as adjuncts and non-tenured instructors. Who knows if these results would hold up at a typical state university. "
 
2013-09-10 12:36:27 PM
EvilEgg [TotalFark]
2013-09-10 09:05:53 AM


And the schools and students don't care.

Finger pointing. Your a teacher, aren't you.
 
2013-09-10 12:37:05 PM
you're
*sigh*
 
kth
2013-09-10 01:35:57 PM

treecologist: This study used data only from Northwestern, perhaps they hire excellent adjuncts?

However, assuming this trend is nationwide, there is a perfectly good explanation for this that doesn't rely on the "tenured professors don't care" simplistic explanation we always see in threads like this and in subby's flame-bait headline.

Tenure-track and tenured professors at R1 institutions, like Northwestern, often think of themselves as researchers first and teachers second.  Tenure and promotion at these schools is heavily weighted towards the quality of publications and grants, less so on measures of teaching success.  On the other hand, someone who is hired to teach at Northwestern may have applied for that job because they enjoy teaching and want to be good at it.  They also want to do a good job and get hired next year.  It's logical that students of teachers who want to teach, and have time to prepare to teach, would have better results than those whose instructors thought of themselves as researchers.

Many schools, including the one at which I am a tenured professor, hire faculty who think teaching is most important and  research comes second.  My tenure application was weighted towards explaining the development of my pedagogy and less so on my research results (though I did have to have peer-reviewed publications).  My colleagues and I are dedicated to the education of our undergraduate students in class, we include them in our research, and we mentor and advise them in service-learning activities, internships. clubs and other activities.  We get to know them well, we challenge them, and we push them towards being well-rounded, independent, productive people.  And we mostly succeed.

Not all Universities are the same.  Not all University experiences are the same.


True. My husband is a new professor at a small college and for P&T, teaching is first, research is second and service is third. And this is in a hard science.

Gulper Eel: Bill Frist: Wouldn't we all assume that expert professors would be better at higher level classes than intro classes?

Sure, now that the intro classes involve re-teaching freshmen the shiat they should have learned in high school.


This. Especially at smaller schools that are fed from small towns and rural school districts.

CSB time for tenure track folks: When my husband left his postdoc to teach, his non-tenure track bloviator colleague sniffed that "it is almost better to NOT be tenure track right now." And we laughed and laughed.
 
2013-09-10 07:27:43 PM
aevorea:

/Non-union
//One sick day the entire time I've been here; 15-20 minutes early every day I'm working
///No disciplinary issues.


Want a cookie?  Also, good job on giving it up for free with that 15-20 minutes.
 
2013-09-10 09:28:55 PM
Teach? HAAAAAAAAhaaaaaahaaaaaha haaaa haaaa hahahahahahahhaaaaaaaa.

In the sciences, bring in the uncle sucker money and you are good. Bring in enough and you'd never teach.

CSB
My doctorate is in a hard science, and the chair of my committee (viz., my research adviser) was a Regent's Professor, and had 800+ publications when I was there, and that was 20+ years ago.

Anyway, the thing that was his specialty was of course part of the curriculum. In the 27 years he was there, he taught the class 3 times.

It was more important to have him drafting RO1s, baby.
/csb
 
2013-09-10 10:58:15 PM
pool.theinfosphere.org
Leela: "That rat! Do something!"
Mayor: "I wish I could, but he's got tenure."
 
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