The University of Scranton’s administration is attempting to circumvent both the faculty union and the idea of the academic department with its scheme to make department chairs appointed by administration – and non-union.

This is going to be problematic for several reasons. Not only does it weaken a union (we can discuss the relative merits of academic unions at some point), it places governance even further from faculty, in whose hands it should be. It creates yet another class of administrators who may or may not have the necessary experience as a faculty member to truly understand the work of an institution. And finally, it will likely lead to a decrease in tenure-track faculty lines and an increase in contingent faculty, thus threatening academic freedom and the possibility for anyone who isn’t already independently wealthy to make a living as a professor.

It’s all a part of the increasing corporatization of the university. Maximize profits, treat students like consumers instead of students, and create a permanent administrative class with no actual connection to the “product” at hand.


Via a friend comes a thought-provoking piece on the state of American public higher education.

One thing I do notice: The “elite” institutions aren’t subject to this increasing corporatization and destruction. That’s because the “elite” institutions are where the oligarchs send their offspring.

I have “elite” in quotes because in my experience, they primarily exist to perpetuate themselves rather than to actually provide an education. They do provide one, of course, and they are able to do so because they work for the oligarchs, but I would put a *good* public education – like the one I had at Morehead State University – up against any undergraduate education. The primary difference between what I got at MSU and what you get at an elite institution is the circles in which you get to network.

Back to the larger point – the destruction of American public higher education is not a bug, it’s a feature. There’s a segment of the 1% that won’t rest until anyone who isn’t 1% can only take their job training (not education) at a for-profit degree mill while their own children get the best of the best. After all, if you wanted a real education, you should have had the good sense to be to the manner born.


This much I can tell you.

We are still at the in-laws’.

I am currently working on my classes for the fall (that’s mostly done, which is good, because all the books are now in Morris), a score for a short film, waiting to hear back from a journal about one article and doing preliminary work on another.

I begin walking in earnest again tomorrow. Hopefully soon I’ll be back to my 1.5 mile per day walk/jog/run-for-very-small-values-of-run.

Also, we should soon join the ranks of homeowners. More on that later. (Technically, I already own some land, but it’s just a plot in Pinhook Cemetery. I am thinking of opening it up to timeshares.)

Y’know, it ain’t a bad life, really. Got a good job (better than the last one, anyway, though I think it’s going to be good in its own right), got something resembling my health, got a wife I love like crazy, four great pets, and soon will be living The American Dream and owning my own home. It’s fitting that this is up during the Olympics, as I’m grateful to live in a country where we recognize that, the fevered dreams of Objectivists, fundamentalists and Capitalism-Über-Alles types notwithstanding, we are all in this together. I stand – we all stand – on the shoulders of the giants that had the foresight to build the political, social and general infrastructure that allows me to do all this.

U-S-A, U-S-A!


OK, it’s a flippant title for a disturbing post.

Via a friend, I see that Capitalism Über Alles is infecting dentistry now.

This is why we need universal single-payer health care. I want doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to make a good living, one that recognizes their talents, training/education and hard work. What I do not want is parasitic health insurance companies and private equity firms (like Mitt R-money’s Bain Capital) cannibalizing health care.

Since Towel Day is approaching (one week!), a Douglas Adams quote seems appropriate.

“You know they’ve reintroduced the death penalty for insurance company directors?”
“Really?” said Arthur. “No I didn’t. For what offence?”
Trillian frowned.
“What do you mean, offence?”
“I see.”


This is an older article, but it was recently brought to my attention.

As L.S.S.I. Takes Over Libraries, Patrons Can’t Keep Quiet

Where does it end? Must every aspect of the commons be sliced up, sold off, and turned into a profit-making enterprise? (I suppose if Bain Capital SuperCuts Mitt Romney becomes President – *shudder* – that just might happen.)

Yes, I’m angry. My beloved Jawa Girl is getting her MLIS degree, and I shudder to think that her chosen field is being turned into Just Another Corporate Wasteland by the forces of privatization at L.S.S.I. and elsewhere. We’ve been fighting (and arguably losing) this battle in academia, and I don’t want libraries to fall victim to the scourge of Capitalism Über Alles as well.