I met with some folks at UAA yesterday to talk about setting up an informal group of new faculty for the fall semester. As someone who has taught for many years here, it seemed like something I could do. I used to go to the new faculty reception and look for the most interesting new scholars and get a small group together at lunch. It gave them a chance to meet people in other fields and me a chance to connect with interesting new scholars. I went to the library after the meeting and pulled out some books just to see what others are saying on this topic.
The black book on the bottom was a nasty piece of work. Anonymous - he said he had to be anonymous so he wouldn't lose his job - trashes everything about universities. The faculty don't do any work, the students don't either, and the administrators are former faculty who couldn't teach or do research. If it really was a faculty member, he would have been the kind he was complaining about. But if it really was a faculty member, then the reason he had to be anonymous was because the book was so bad, no documentation, and totally unbalanced. The tone starts off with a dedication to Hubert Humphrey:
"who, AFTER LOSING IN 1968, BECAME A PROFESSOR - AND THEREBY PROVED THE CORRECTNESS OF MY VOTE FOR RICHARD NIXON"That's probably the most objective part of the book. It was published in 1972. The publisher, according to Wikipedia,
Arlington House, Inc., (dba as Arlington House Publishers), now-defunct, was an American book publisher of jazz discographies, as well as conservative and anti-communist titles.This book seems to be part of the early anti-public university movement.
I could tell you lots of things wrong with universities - but for the most part, faculty work incredibly hard. Yes there are those who abuse the system, but the others more than make up for them. So, I've got to write up a little more on this project. If we can make it work, maybe next year we can bring in some other retired faculty to work with more faculty. The other books have more useful content.
When I first came here, all the faculty were pretty much in one building and people in different disciplines had offices near by and we all went to the faculty senate meetings. But nowadays, it's harder for new faculty to find the people they ought to know in other fields.