A look at my to-do list

Scott Walker has succeeded among all those who hate universities and professors with his shots at the UW system, which is unfortunate. If he really succeeds, he’ll damage one of the few reasons anybody with an education might move to Wisconsin. Milwaukee isn’t exactly setting any records, and if you would like your state to become a haven for impoverished whites who do not have the economic productivity to move elsewhere, well, in about 50 years or so wages for low-skill manufacturing work will even out at the global scale and the state will probably once again be competitive in the global market.

The villains in all this are, of course, the tenure track faculty. They don’t work enough. They should teach more classes. They are also living a life of gravy and pie while adjuncts do all the teaching, according to the media which likes to set up the “poor, sad adjunct” against the “high-living, do nothing tenured” prof. Only professors’ salaries haven’t moved up either; if faculty were the all-powerful people we are portrayed to be, we’d be able to affect our salaries. We’re not. We can’t affect our own salaries. Why not? Because there is an army of cheap teachers out there known as adjuncts, and the premium faculty become premium faculty branding themselves based on ideas, not teaching.

My teaching evals, even for classes that everybody hates, are really, really high. My administrators do not care. I teach a full load. They do not care. They care about what I am publishing. I am truly sorry about this, but again…this is the incentive system I am in.

So here is my list of things to do today. While adjuncts have more of the class-related stuff to do, they don’t have some of the other crap that I do that also supports the institution. The institution is very selective about what it rewards me for:

1. Grading PPD 628. No I do not have a graduate student slave to do it for me. (nice, but not a high priority for my administrators; won’t make or break promotion or merit increase)
2. Get class ready for 628 (nice, but not a high priority for my administrators; won’t make or break promotion or merit increase)
3. Edit manuscript for special issue of journal coming up–other authors (can’t get promoted without broader visibility)
4. Code interview transcripts for manuscript (Can’t get promoted without more papers)
5. Take notes for chapter 5 of the book manuscript (can’t get promoted without this book)
6. Teleconference with NYU about new research project (Can’t get promoted without more papers)
7. Presentation for MRED students on Thursday (do it because I care about the real estate students; extra work for me, not one thin dime in my wallet or any progress towards promotion.)
8. Letter of recommendation for student (do it because I care; the institution seems to not care one bit)
9. Help graduate student revise a fellowship application so that she can support herself in her last year of research (do it because I care; the institution seems to not care one bit.)
10. And yeah, write blog posts and engage in public relations to remain salient. (the institution loves this.)

This is just the top 10. Which do I cut? Which do I do first, Governor Walker? Which one is unnecessary? Because if it’s the research, then you should probably get that memo to the people who decide my raises and promotions. Because if I don’t do that part, I suffer–a lot.