News Item: Gov. Scott Walker said the University of Wisconsin could ask its faculty to teach more classes and do more work to offset funding cuts in Walker’s state budget proposal.
Why this will not go over well with the faculty, from Professor James Hanley, who does not teach in the UW system:
My department completed our program review document last week. On Tuesday I spent most of the day just writing the one page executive summary. (Have you ever tried summarizing a 100 page document in one page, while emphasizing your own tremendous awesomeness and how any imperfections could be solved easily if somebody outside your department would do the right thing while not offending that person who could do that right thing by making it sound like it’s their fault?) On Friday I spent 5 hours reviewing and editing the final draft. And today, Sunday, I am working on a new assignment for my American Government class that will require them to work with real data, which requires long pauses in writing while I think about how to make the directions clear to non-data oriented students.
There are, of course, worse ways to make a living:
This is not to say “pity us poor college profs.” It’s not a bad gig. I worked a lot harder, at much greater personal risk, and for much less pay as a bike messenger. One of my own profs had previously worked at a nitroglycerine factory, until the old guys there who all had occupational-induced emphysema told him to get out and go to college so he didn’t end up like them. It’s just to say that the job takes time; that classroom hours are not synonymous with workload; and that Walker can only get what he wants by damaging the impressive reputation of UW-Madison and thereby diminishing the reputation of the state as a whole.
As is often the case with politicians, Governor Walker got this idea into his head, and just having that idea proved to be so invigorating that worrying about things like mere consequences got pushed to the side.