On Having an Effect

Picture 2It’s National Adjunct Walkout Day, during which university instructors who are not part of the tenure-track system (or even those who are) may not be showing up to teach or, instead, may take this opportunity to have a “teach-in” during which they depart from the regularly scheduled material, to whatever extent, so as to ensure their students understand some of the challenges facing higher ed at this particular moment in history.

It’s a snow day here at the University of Alabama — we’re expecting a few inches, perhaps, and so the state is shuttered tight and prepared for the worst, having already emptied local store shelves of both bread and milk — so a blog post will have to do today. Continue reading

It Ain’t Sexy But….

conteingentfacultyWe have Kelly Baker on campus, here to give the second annual Day Lecture. On the ride to Tuscaloosa form the Birmingham airport the other day, we got talking about the issue of contingent faculty in academia (a topic on which she has blogged) or, more specifically, about how the issue plays out in the academic study of religion. We talked about the American Academy of Religion’s current forays into the issue (e.g., a task force she is herself involved with, an academic relations sub-committee my own colleague here at Alabama, Ted Trost, is involved with, and even a workshop on “best practices” at the upcoming national conference in San Diego). As a onetime instructor (having held three consecutive one year contracts at the start of my career [1993-6]) and a longtime member of the AAR — the main professional association for US scholars of religion, but also the largest national association for scholars of religion in the world, hence it has an international reach — I’ve got a thought of two on what the leadership of this group ought to be considering before it decides what it wants to try to accomplish. Continue reading