Exellence without Money, round bajillion and one: (my previous posts on this topic are here.)
This is a question for all of you faculty-types out there: when you win a grant or fellowship to fund your research, do you get a salary match? I had thought salary matches were a pretty normal thing. I even got one from my former university–and get this: the Dean even agreed to pay my rent in Fellowship City, as he understood that Fratguy and I had just bought a house, and that Fratguy needed someplace to live as he wasn’t able to take a 6-month sabbatical from his job! That university was a mid-tier sectarian private uni, too–and it proudly called itself a “comprehensive” university, not an R-1.
I was shocked to learn last year that my college at Baa Ram U.–which is officially an R-1 uni–doesn’t match our salaries when we win grants. Accordingly, my colleagues who have won fellowships to do research recently have eaten a major pay cut (even with our craptacular salaries. Most humanities grants top out at $40,000 or $50,000 a year, which is less than most mid-career faculty are earning even in my woefully underpaid department.) On top of this, many of them also have had to fund, plan, and execute complicated international travel. It has not always been like this: a colleague of mine said that when she asked for a salary match 15 years ago to take a residential fellowship, it was approved within the department–it didn’t even have to go to the dean’s office. Continue reading
I saw Steve the Stylist yesterday for a haircut. While waiting for him, I found myself drawn to one of those “plastic surgery disasters”-type cover stories on a celebrity magazine, in which different photographs of celebrities (all women) are compared, analyzed by cosmetic surgeons, and the results decried as “ruining” the celebrities’ faces, breasts, or whatever. We both commented on the rank unfairness of an entertainment industry that won’t employ women over 35 or 40 unless they’ve had repeated cosmetic interventions, but then of course these women are mocked and derided for succumbing to the procedures that keep them employable.
Steve offered a fascinating observation based on having had clients who have had botox injections. Continue reading
Think of how many times a day you might potentially use the declaration “you’re a monster.”
I’m not in fact skiing today with the rest of the famille Historiann, as I have too much work to catch up on. Here are a few ideas and miscellaneous items to keep you warm on this cold and snowy weekend:
- Today in slactivism: Reader and commenter Susan passed this along–all you have to do is click on the slide show to enable a donation to help the education of girls in Pakistan.
- Speaking of education: how about some support for the education of girls and boys in the United States? When I read stories like this b!tching about the low 4-year graduation rates at universities in my state, and at the same time the high rate of remediation our high school graduates require, why doesn’t anyone point out that hack politicians and businessmen have made war on K-16+ education for years, attacking public education at all levels in particular as wasteful and ideologically suspect, and in general doing their best to withdraw public sympathy and taxpayer support for any kind of education? At the same time, they’ve also conspired to pass laws that offer incentives to corporations for taking their money and their jobs offshore to chase the cheapest labor around the planet. Now, all of a sudden, they’ve seized on the idea that College for Everyone is the way to save the U.S. economy–because the factory and manufacturing jobs are gone and because construction is in the toilet, everyone needs to be a knowledge worker now. So whose responsibility is it to turn everyone into knowledge workers? Continue reading
Flavia at Ferule & Fescue has a terrific post now about selling one’s own department to job candidates on campus visits. She explains why she’s putting some real effort into recruiting quality job candidates rather than just letting the ridiculous buyer’s market sort everything out:
So I’m rousing myself at 7.30 a.m. and driving to campus every day we have a candidate visiting, making time for each one’s job talk and teaching demo andeither lunch or dinner. I’m donning a suit (to communicate respect for the candidate and the general professionalism of the department), I’m asking encouraging questions, and I’m doing my damnedest, through my interactions with my colleagues, to show as well as tell our candidates that we’re a happy and collegial place where friendships extend outside of the office. I want our candidates to see how intellectually engaged we are, and how interested in other people’s work. I want for our students to perform well, and for Cha-Cha City to sound and look appealing, and for the campus, ideally, not to be covered in a sheet of ice.
And in fact I’m not sure why having the department come off well matters so very much to me. The job market is terrible, our list is deep, and though we don’t always get our our first-choice candidate we’ve never had a search fail and have always wound up with someone wonderful.
But I guess I wish to extend the sort of kindness to our candidates that the department extended to me on my visit–and, more selfishly, I wish for the people whom we don’t hire or who don’t accept our offers (and perhaps, by extension, their colleagues and friends and advisors) to have a warm impression of our department. There’s nothing bad about good press.
How very adult and courteous! Well done, Flavia.
While it’s great to be regarded well as a host department, there’s also the more immediate issue of treating your guests decently and as though they’re not wasting their time on a campus visit. There’s nothing more excruciating than being on a campus visit as a job candidate and feeling unwanted during the interview, which is something that happened to me once. Continue reading
It’s caucus night! I’m not caucusing because that’s only for Republicans, but apparently dozens of my fellow citizens are wandering dazedly through middle school hallways looking for their precinct caucus room right now as I’m typing. God love ’em. This roundup has a Republican primary theme to it. Cue the Lee Greenwood sound track, and let’s rock:
- Who is Callista Bisek Gingrich, and why does she appear to be a strangely convincing Mad Men-era historical reenactor? Ariel Levy offers some insights: “She does not seem like a forty-five-year-old, or at least not like a forty-five-year-old of this era. She has the style and smile of an astronaut’s wife, even in her downtime. Once, in Cedar Rapids, I happened to run into her in the women’s bathroom at the airport. In her suit and pearls, with her stiff coiffure, she looked as if she had just exited a beauty parlor in 1962.” (My theory: it’s all in the coiff. She may have been a wash-n-wear kind of gal back in the day, but once you’re spending that kind of time and money on an oddly unfashionable hairdo, you’re all in.)
- From the right Alana Goodman argues that the Stepford Wife persona doesn’t actually make voters forget she’s Newt’s third wife. Rather, it makes the Gingrich marriage appear even stranger and more off-putting. I think the public should leave the spouses of the candidates alone, since after all they’re not running for anything, and if their wives or husbands win they won’t not be offered a paid position in the government. But Goodman is probably right that the deadeye Pat Nixon impersonation is only going to invite unwanted speculation. And those of you on the left may well think it only fair play given the ugliness that Michelle Obama has had to deal with, which has been clearly and persistently racialized.
- Who would have thought that Mommie would turn out to be one of the more interesting and powerful First Ladies on the Republican side? Give me Nancy Reagan any day, in her off-the-shoulder Galanos gown over Nixon or Barbara or Laura Bush. Cue the Dynasty soundtrack!
- In “Who in God’s Name is Mitt Romney?” Frank Rich argues that the mystery in the riddle wrapped in the enigma that is Willard Mitt Romney is in fact his religion, which although agressively evangelical is also famous for keeping its secrets and sacred rites to members only. Continue reading