reference to the Wall Street Journal

Tue, 14 Jun 1994 22:33:29 EST

I've been following the thread you started on ANTHRO-L. FYI, in case you
never saw this article, here are a couple of excerpts from a piece that
appeared in _The Wall Street Journal_ on Feb. 15, 1994. The title of the
article: "Class Struggle: Young Professors Find Life in Academia Isn't
What It Used to Be; Job Competition is Fierce, Tenure an Elusive Goal as
Teaching Loads Rise; One Opening, 700 Applicants." Author is Tony Horwitz.

"...while never well paid, academics could once look forward to
exceptional job security, generous benefits and long holidays.
Today, they still earn far less than most other professionals, yet
confront the same grinding pressures afflicting the world outside the
ivory tower: "downsizing," dwindling benefits, part-time work, and ever-
ratcheting pressure on productivity.
`The senior faculty at 90% of institutions are far more advantaged than
younger faculty are ever going to be,' says Robert Zemsky, director of the
University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Research on Higher Education...
This generational chasm carries an added sting; the young are paying, in
part, for the unintended sins of their fathers -- and, less often, mothers.
Tenured faculty, like Supreme Court justices, enjoy lifetime jobs, with
comfortable benefits accrued during decades of educational expansion.
Now, in hard times, schools must look elsewhere for cuts, usually
punishing newcomers. They also are raising teaching loads, largely in
response to public pressure. This creates contradictory pressures for
young professors, whose advancement depends on published research rather
than classroom skill...
...(the) anticipated `retirement bulge' has been pre-empted by severe
retrenchment at most schools, because of falling enrollment and state grants,
soaring financial-aid costs, and other factors. Also, the end of mandatory
retirement rules allows professors to keep teaching into their 70s.
The result, says Daniel Little, a Colgate administrator: For every three
retirements, only one typically leads to a tenure-track hire. The second
position is eliminated. And the third is plugged with a professor on a
`term' (short for `terminal') appointment for a year or two, or by a
part-timer hired for a specific course...
The migrant workers of academia, part-timers are paid as little as $1,000
per course, given few if any benefits, and let go as soon as their usefulness
expires. Their ranks grew rapidly in the 1980s and they now account for 38%
of the nation's 800,000 faculty. Many must commute between several part-time
jobs to survive; in California, these perpatetic scholars are called `freeway
Administrators complain that senior faculty also continue to clog the job
pipeline with new Ph.D.s, both as a mark of their prestige and as a source of
cheap research labor. `The reproductive role of a professor should be to
produce one new professor for the next generation, not 15,' says David
Goodstein, vice provost of California Institute of Technology.
This logjam has turned junior faculty... into living job applications..."

Good luck with your research on this.

Ken Bilby <>