Actually, college profs work hard for poor compensation

Mar 25 2012 Published by under Academics

Some dim bulb named David Levy has trotted out a fairly impressive amount of ignorance about college and University professors in the US. Honestly, I'm failing to see one substantive point that matches reality for the vast majority of professors (and adjunct instructors) today. This guy is sadly out of touch or cherry picking from a handful of anecdotes.....or just making it up. Maybe this is one of those works of performance art? A Kylian "not intended to e a factual statement"?

Allow Dr Zen to retort.

16 responses so far

  • Erik says:

    Levy is full on nonsense - absolutely. By his logic, each teaching hour equals 1 hour of prep/grading/office hours. This ratio is entirely skewed - it is likely closer to 3 hours for each hour of class time. He is showing the typical view of research university types that "teaching institutions" have it "easy" somehow. I work at a teaching institution, so not only is my load higher than colleagues at research university, but I am also expected to do scholarly research at a high level and spend more contact hours with students outside of class. Levy's view is 100% out-of-touch and damaging to faculty at teaching universities.

  • CS prof says:

    faculties in academic institutions were generally underpaid relative to other comparably educated members of the workforce.

    The Economist recently published figures showing that this was not the case. According to that study, in the 50s and 60s a professor's salary was comparable to a lawyer's or a doctor's, from the bottom to the top of range on both professions.

    Today, the lawyer and doctor salary range is much higher than the professor range. The Economist further observed that this seem to be anomalous as the amount of training required for all of the is comparable.

  • Another Prof says:

    I don't see how anyone who has ever taught anything can write this kind of drivel! No matter what you teach in college, 1 hour of teaching is NOT 1 hour of work! It is at least 3 hours or more of work. Has this guy ever been in a classroom? How did he get to be a chancellor? Clearly he is either nuts or utterly dumb!

  • alethea says:

    Ugh, what stupidity. As a grad student adjuncting an introductory bio class I spend 2-3 hours per classroom hour on planning and grading. And I'm guessing career teaching faculty also have committee work, student advising work, etc that inflates the amount of time they work.

  • zb says:

    So college profs seem to instantly understand that one hour of teaching is not one hour of work (and I agree with the 3:1) ratio. But, why are people so reluctant to see that this is largely the case for K-12 education as well? So, a teacher who has 25 hours/week in the classroom has a 75/week job? I think they really do, if they're teaching the way I'd like to see the teaching go. I think a lot of the teachers who do the work well really do spend that kind of time (though, as with college teaching we know that the subject, the kind of students, the number of "preps" all make a difference to the ratio).

    But no one seems to see it that way.

  • physioprof says:

    Yeah, I thought the same thing when I was reading this dude's article in the back seat of my Bentley on the way back to the medical school after a nice leisurely lunch at La Grenouille.

  • physioprof says:

    Allow Dr Zen to retort.

    Why the fucken fucke didde thatte dippeshitte change his motherfucken blogge theme to completely unreadable white-text-on-dark-red-background? Jeezus motherfucke! What the fucken fucke are people thinking when they do shitte like thatte?????

  • physioprof says:

    OK. Dr. Zen fixed his site. So he's not a "dippeshitte" anymore.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    I joined the faculty of a small regional university as an Assistant Professor in 1965, My starting salary was $950/mo. According to consumer price index, my buying power remained the same until the last few years of Full Professorship. In 1965, I bought a basic Ford Falcon for two months gross salary. I did the same, over the years, with several Ford Escorts. Then I started wanting air, radio, automatic shift, etc. and they started costing three months gross salary. Same for a Ford Focus today.

  • anon says:

    I suggest sending a letter to the editor with a full rebuttal.

  • Zen Faulkes says:

    CPP: I am still a dipshit. But I am now a dipshit with an better site for smartphones.

    Constant criticism is the only way to ensure constant improvement.

  • anon2 says:

    "Constant criticism" is an excellent "way to ensure constant improvement".

    Bravo Zen !. I am with you.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    Some years ago I read, in a fisheries magazine, a discussion of professionalism. The definition is somewhat unrealistic, but I still like it. A non-professional is paid for the work they do. A professional is paid so they can do work. I like to think of Professors as professionals. The implication of the definition is that a professional decides what work to do; and I think that is true to a large extent of professors. I am not paid for so many hours a week, but paid so I can do what I do. Clearly, a completely different view than that expressed in the article.

  • Talk about an overpaid position: university chancellor. Top administration at every place I have ever looked at makes 5-20x more than the average tenured professor annually. And for what? For playing golf with alumni, admitting politicians underqualified kids, taking kickbacks, and complaining about teaching faculty not working hard enough. They don't do research or teach, why should they be getting paid so much more by his logic?

    And since when are doctors and lawyers upper middle class? What the hell do you have to do to be lower upper class? I think for all of the years of education and year round work, we shouldn't have to defend our upper middle class status.

  • [...] including Zen, and DrugMonkey, and Crooked Timber, and Echidne, and Lawyers, Guns and Money, have gone into some of the [...]

  • Grumble says:

    Exactly, Engineeringprof. At pretty much every university I've ever been, the administration has been a bureaucratic nightmare, and the guy (usually it's a guy) in charge has been obscenely overpaid to supervise and perpetuate the nightmare.

    On the other hand, boards of trustees, regents, directors, etc, seem to see the dean's 3/4 of a million annual salary as a good investment. I guess if that salary is all paid by grant overhead, it's just play money to them anyway.

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