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The Adjunct Underclass
How America’s Colleges Betrayed Their Faculty, Their Students, and Their Mission
Herb Childress
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Class ends. Students pack up and head back to their dorms. The professor, meanwhile, goes to her car . . . to catch a little sleep, and then eat a cheeseburger in her lap before driving across the city to a different university to teach another, wholly different class. All for a paycheck that, once prep and grading are factored in, barely reaches minimum wage.
Welcome to the life of the mind in the gig economy. Over the past few decades, the job of college professor has been utterly transformed—for the worse. America’s colleges and universities were designed to serve students and create knowledge through the teaching, research, and stability that come with the longevity of tenured faculty, but higher education today is dominated by adjuncts. In 1975, only thirty percent of faculty held temporary or part-time positions. By 2011, as universities faced both a decrease in public support and ballooning administrative costs, that number topped fifty percent. Now, some surveys suggest that as many as seventy percent of American professors are working course-to-course, with few benefits, little to no security, and extremely low pay.
In The Adjunct Underclass, Herb Childress draws on his own firsthand experience and that of other adjuncts to tell the story of how higher education reached this sorry state. Pinpointing numerous forces within and beyond higher ed that have driven this shift, he shows us the damage wrought by contingency, not only on the adjunct faculty themselves, but also on students, the permanent faculty and administration, and the nation. How can we say that we value higher education when we treat educators like desperate day laborers?
Measured but passionate, rooted in facts but sure to shock, The Adjunct Underclass reveals the conflicting values, strangled resources, and competing goals that have fundamentally changed our idea of what college should be. This book is a call to arms for anyone who believes that strong colleges are vital to society.

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Agile Faculty
Practical Strategies for Managing Research, Service, and Teaching
Rebecca Pope-Ruark
University of Chicago Press, 2017
Digital tools have long been a transformative part of academia, enhancing the classroom and changing the way we teach. Yet there is a way that academia may be able to benefit more from the digital revolution: by adopting the project management techniques used by software developers.

Agile work strategies are a staple of the software development world, developed out of the need to be flexible and responsive to fast-paced change at times when “business as usual” could not work. These techniques call for breaking projects into phases and short-term goals, managing assignments collectively, and tracking progress openly.

Agile Faculty is a comprehensive roadmap for scholars who want to incorporate Agile practices into all aspects of their academic careers, be it research, service, or teaching. Rebecca Pope-Ruark covers the basic principles of Scrum, one of the most widely used models, and then through individual chapters shows how to apply that framework to everything from individual research to running faculty committees to overseeing student class work. Practical and forward-thinking, Agile Faculty will help readers not only manage their time and projects but also foster productivity, balance, and personal and professional growth.

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Behind the Academic Curtain
How to Find Success and Happiness with a PhD
Frank F. Furstenberg
University of Chicago Press, 2013
More people than ever are going to graduate school to seek a PhD these days. When they get there, they discover a bewildering environment: a rapid immersion in their discipline, a keen competition for resources, and uncertain options for their future, whether inside or outside of academia. Life with a PhD can begin to resemble an unsolvable maze. In Behind the Academic Curtain, Frank F. Furstenberg offers a clear and user-friendly map to this maze. Drawing on decades of experience in academia, he provides a comprehensive, empirically grounded, and, most important of all, practical guide to academic life.

While the greatest anxieties for PhD candidates and postgrads are often centered on getting that tenure-track dream job, each stage of an academic career poses a series of distinctive problems. Furstenberg divides these stages into five chapters that cover the entire trajectory of an academic life, including how to make use of a PhD outside of academia. From finding the right job to earning tenure, from managing teaching loads to conducting research, from working on committees to easing into retirement, he illuminates all the challenges and opportunities an academic can expect to encounter. Each chapter is designed for easy consultation, with copious signposts, helpful suggestions, and a bevy of questions that all academics should ask themselves throughout their career, whether at a major university, junior college, or a nonacademic organization. An honest and up-to-date portrayal of how this life really works, Behind the Academic Curtain is an essential companion for any scholar, at any stage of his or her career.

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Behind the Big House
Reconciling Slavery, Race, and Heritage in the U.S. South
Jodi Skipper
University of Iowa Press, 2022
2022 Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group Nelson Graburn Prize, winner

When residents and tourists visit sites of slavery, whose stories are told? All too often the lives of slaveowners are centered, obscuring the lives of enslaved people. Behind the Big House gives readers a candid, behind-the-scenes look at what it really takes to interpret the difficult history of slavery in the U.S. South. The book explores Jodi Skipper’s eight-year collaboration with the Behind the Big House program, a community-based model used at local historic sites to address slavery in the collective narrative of U.S. history and culture.

In laying out her experiences through an autoethnographic approach, Skipper seeks to help other activist scholars of color negotiate the nuances of place, the academic public sphere, and its ambiguous systems of reward, recognition, and evaluation.

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The British Academics
A. H. Halsey and M. A. Trow
Harvard University Press, 1971
How have academic men in Britain adapted themselves and their institutions to the changes in British society over the past century, and how are they meeting the rapid expansion of the university system that began in the 1960s? What have been the changes in the power and status of British academics and of the English “idea of the university” over these years, and what are the effects on British universities and university teachers of Britain's current move toward mass higher education? Two of today's finest sociologists of education answer these and other questions in a lively and insightful portrait of the changing function of the university in industrial society. Both authors are also students of the American educational system, and a comparative perspective is evident throughout.

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Changing the Culture of Academic Medicine
Perspectives of Women Faculty
Linda H. Pololi
Dartmouth College Press, 2010
Over the past twenty-five years, steadily increasing numbers of women have graduated as physicians, in sufficient numbers to be well represented in senior and leadership positions in the nation’s academic medical centers. Yet women’s expected advancement has stalled. Women rarely hold decision-making positions, and female department chairs or deans continue to be exceedingly rare. Why is this the case? Pololi’s study, based on extensive interviews, illuminates medical school culture and shows a sharp disconnect between the values of individual faculty members and the values of academic institutions of medicine. Pololi looks closely at women medical faculty’s experiences as outsiders in medicine, opening a window into medical culture. She argues that placing more women and people of color in leadership positions would provide transformative and more effective leadership to improve health care and would help address current inequities in the health care provided to different racial and cultural groups.

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Charles Follen's Search for Nationality and Freedom
Germany and America, 1796-1840
Edmund Spevack
Harvard University Press, 1997

This unique account of the life of German nationalist and revolutionary Charles Follen opens a window on several worlds during the first half of the nineteenth century. Seldom does one biography embrace so many important historical issues and events.

Trained as a lawyer in his native Germany, Follen was involved in student nationalism, eventually turning to revolutionary Jacobinism. He fled to Switzerland in 1819 after conspiring in the first political murder of modern German history--the assassination of the playwright August von Kotzebue. In Switzerland, Follen secretly continued activities for revolutionizing Germany. When his plans were discovered in 1824, he fled to America. For ten years, Follen taught at Harvard; he was the first professor of German literature at an American institution of higher learning. He played a central role in the early importation of German ideas to New England, contributing to the fields of literature, philosophy, and theology. His marriage to Eliza Lee Cabot allowed him to move in elite Boston social circles. After his ordination as a Unitarian minister in 1836, Follen combined his interest in social reform (including an ardent devotion to the antislavery movement) with clerical service. Unitarian leader William Ellery Channingand abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison became Follen's close friends.

During the last two years of his life, Follen began to doubt his own power to bring about political change and suffered a crisis in self-confidence before his accidental death at the age of forty-three.


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Code Name Puritan
Norman Holmes Pearson at the Nexus of Poetry, Espionage, and American Power
Greg Barnhisel
University of Chicago Press, 2024
An insightful biography of an unassuming literary scholar—and spy—who transformed postwar American culture.

Although his impact on twentieth-century American cultural life was profound, few people know the story of Norman Holmes Pearson. Pearson’s life embodied the Cold War alliances among US artists, scholars, and the national-security state that coalesced after World War II. As a Yale professor and editor, he helped legitimize the study of American culture and shaped the public’s understanding of literary modernism—significantly, the work of women poets such as Hilda Doolittle and Gertrude Stein. At the same time, as a spy, recruiter, and cultural diplomat, he connected the academy, the State Department, and even the CIA.

In Code Name Puritan, Greg Barnhisel maps Pearson’s life, from his childhood injury that led to a visible, permanent disability to his wartime counterespionage work neutralizing the Nazis’ spy network to his powerful role in the cultural and political heyday sometimes called the American Century. Written with clarity and informed by meticulous research, Barnhisel’s revelatory portrait of Pearson details how his unique experiences shaped his beliefs about the American character, from the Puritans onward.


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Conditionally Accepted
Navigating Higher Education from the Margins
Edited by Eric Joy Denise and Bertin M. Louis, Jr.
University of Texas Press, 2024

A collection of essays that provides advice and strategies for BIPOC scholars on how to survive, thrive, and resist in academic institutions.

Conditionally Accepted builds upon an eponymous blog on, which is now a decade-old national platform for BIPOC academics in the United States. Bringing together perspectives from academics of color on navigating intersecting forms of injustice in the academy, each chapter offers situated knowledge about experiencing—and resisting—marginalization in academia. Contextualized within existing scholarship, these personal narratives speak to institutional betrayals while highlighting agency and sharing stories of surviving on treacherous terrain. Covering topics from professional development to the emptiness of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and redefining what it means to be an academic in our contemporary moment, this edited collection directly confronts issues of systemic exclusion, discrimination, harassment, microaggressions, tokenism, and surveillance. Letting marginalized scholars know they are not alone, Conditionally Accepted offers concrete wisdom for readers seeking to navigate and transform oppressive academic institutions.


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Contingency, Exploitation, and Solidarity
Labor and Action in English Composition
Seth Kahn
University Press of Colorado, 2017

Composition has been a microcosm of the corporatization of higher education for thirty years, with adjuncts often handling the hard work of writing instruction. We've learned enough to know that change is needed. Influenced by the efforts of organizations such as New Faculty Majority, Faculty Forward, PrecariCorps, and national faculty unions, this collection highlights action, describing efforts that have improved adjunct working conditions in English departments. The editors categorize these efforts into five threads: strategies for self-advocacy; organizing within and across ranks; professionalizing in complex contexts; working for local changes to workload, pay, and material conditions; and protecting gains.

Contributors to this collection include contingent and tenure-line faculty from private, public, and community colleges, as well as writing program administrators and writing center faculty. Their voices address contingency, exploitation, and solidarity in activist terms deriving from institutional realities and cases. Collectively, they offer creative and constructive responses that can enact labor justice and champion the disciplinary energies of all members of our collegial community.

Contributors: Janelle Adsit​, ​Jacob Babb​, ​Chris Blankenship​, ​Rebekah Shultz Colby​, ​Richard Colby​, ​Anicca Cox​, ​Sue Doe​, ​Tracy Donhardt​, ​Dawn Fels​, ​Barbara Heiffero​n, ​Desirée M. Holter​, ​Justin Jory​, ​Jeffrey Klausman​, ​Michelle LaFrance​, ​Sarah Layden​, ​Carol Lind​, ​Maria Maist​o, ​Amanda Martin​, ​Mark McBeth​, ​Tim McCormack​, ​Joan Mulli​n, ​Dani Nier-Weber​, ​Glenn Moomau​, ​Michael Murphy​, ​Anna K. Nardo​, ​Rolf Norgaard​, ​Courtney Adams Wooten​, ​Lacey Wootton​, ​Allison Laubach Wright


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Creating Community
Life and Learning at Alabama State University
Edited by Karl E. Westhauser, Elaine M. Smith, and Jennifer A. Fremlin
University of Alabama Press, 2008
Creating Community explores how faculty members at Alabama State University, a historically black university in Montgomery, have been inspired by the legacy of African American culture and the civil rights movement and how they seek to interpret and extend that legacy through teaching, scholarship, and service. Authors describe a wide range of experiences from the era of segregation to the present day. These include accounts of growing up and going to college in Alabama, arriving in the South for the first time to teach at ASU, and the development of programs such as the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture. Together, the essays present viewpoints that reflect the diverse ethnic, cultural, and academic backgrounds of the contributors and of the university.

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D. Michael Quinn
Mormon Historian
Gary Topping
Signature Books, 2022
D. Michael Quinn (1944–2021) was one of Mormonism’s greatest historians, though his books have profound relevance to Utah and western history as well. After completing his doctorate in history at Yale University in three years, he taught at Brigham Young University from 1976 to 1988. His treatment of difficult themes in Mormon history drew controversy, which led to resignation from his academic position and to his eventual excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His large, elaborately documented books, such as his three volumes on the Mormon hierarchy and his Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, set a new standard for Mormon historical scholarship.

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Dark Academia
How Universities Die
Peter Fleming
Pluto Press, 2021
'Fleming's books are sparklingly sardonic and hilariously angry' - Guardian

There is a strong link between the neoliberalisation of higher education over the last 20 years and the psychological hell now endured by its staff and students. While academia was once thought of as the best job in the world - one that fosters autonomy, craft, intrinsic job satisfaction and vocational zeal - you would be hard-pressed to find a lecturer who believes that now.

Peter Fleming delves into this new metrics-obsessed, overly hierarchical world to bring out the hidden underbelly of the neoliberal university. He examines commercialisation, mental illness and self-harm, the rise of managerialism, students as consumers and evaluators, and the competitive individualism which casts a dark sheen of alienation over departments.

Arguing that time has almost run out to reverse this decline, this book shows how academics and students need to act now if they are to begin to fix this broken system.

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Developing Faculty in Liberal Arts Colleges
Aligning Individual Needs and Organizational Goals
Baker, Vicki L.
Rutgers University Press, 2017
Developing Faculty Members in Liberal Arts Colleges analyzes the career stage challenges these faculty members must overcome, such as a lack of preparation for teaching, limited access to resources and mentors, and changing expectations for excellence in teaching, research, and service to become academic leaders in their discipline and at these distinctive institutions.

Drawing on research conducted at the thirteen institutions of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, Vicki L. Baker, Laura Gail Lunsford, and Meghan J. Pifer propose a compelling Alignment Framework for Faculty Development in Liberal Arts Colleges to show how these colleges succeed—or sometimes fail—in providing their faculties with the right support to be successful.  

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Doing Diversity in Higher Education
Faculty Leaders Share Challenges and Strategies
Brown-Glaude, Winnifred R
Rutgers University Press, 2008
Using case studies from universities throughout the nation, Doing Diversity in Higher Education examines the role faculty play in improving diversity on their campuses. The power of professors to enhance diversity has long been underestimated, their initiatives often hidden from view. Winnifred Brown-Glaude and her contributors uncover major themes and offer faculty and administrators a blueprint for conquering issues facing campuses across the country. Topics include how to dismantle hostile microclimates, sustain and enhance accomplishments, deal with incomplete institutionalization, and collaborate with administrators. The contributors' essays portray working on behalf of diversity as a genuine intellectual project rather than a faculty "service."

The rich variety of colleges and universities included provides a wide array of models that faculty can draw upon to inspire institutional change.


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The Dons
Mentors, Eccentrics and Geniuses
Noel Annan
University of Chicago Press, 1999
For two hundred years Oxford and Cambridge Universities were home to some of Britain's greatest teachers and intellects, each forming the minds of the passing generations of students and influencing the thinking and practice of university learning throughout the country and the world.

In this entertaining, informative book, Noel Annan is at his incisive best. Displaying his customary mastery of his subject, he describes the great dons in all their glory and eccentricities: who they were, what they were like, why they mattered, and what their legacy is. Written with love and wisdom, the great minds of the past—figures such as John Henry Newman, John Sparrrow, and Isaiah Berlin—are brought alive. In addition, Annan's often quoted article "The Intellectual Aristocracy" is included in this book.

No other work has ever explained so precisely and so intimately the significance of the dons and their important role in shaping higher education—at a time when the nature of learning is ever more the subject of dissension and uncertainty.

"With a charming mixture of analyses and anecdotes, Annan builds up a picture of the changing Oxbridge scene that keeps a reader's imagination. . . . [T]he comical-satirical narrative of which he was a master is a joy to read, and The Dons will deservedly be enjoyed as a bedside book by those who treasure English eccentricity."—Stephen Toulmin, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"[A]n affectionate elegy for a class that has largely expired."—Robert Fulford, National & Financial Post

"[A] wonderfully gifted and energetic writer. . . . Noel was one of the few figures in English public life known simply by his first name. There was no mistaking him for anyone else."—Jonathan Mirsky, New Yorker

"A sparkling collection of essays."—Michael Davie, Times Literary Supplement

"[A] highly affectionate . . . look at some of the more remarkable academic personages to distinguish-and sometimes dumbfound-Oxford and Cambridge over the last two centuries. . . . For all that it cherishes eccentricity and abounds in Oxbridge gossip, The Dons is at heart a deeply serious book, one dedicated to a conception of learning and culture that is at once increasingly rare . . . yet very far from being outmoded."—Mark Feeney, Boston Globe

"Annan writes elegantly and winningly throughout his book. . . . Leaving arguably the best for last, Annan ends The Dons with a reprinting of his celebrated essay 'The Intellectual Aristocracy,' . . . [B]oth a dazzling tour de force and a clever jeu d'esprit."—Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

"A witty, erudite, insider account-exactly what one would expect from the best of their type."—Andrew Lycett, Sunday Times

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Envisioning the Faculty for the Twenty-First Century
Moving to a Mission-Oriented and Learner-Centered Model
Kezar, Adrianna
Rutgers University Press, 2016
The institution of tenure—once a cornerstone of American colleges and universities—is rapidly eroding. Today, the majority of faculty positions are part-time or limited-term appointments, a radical change that has resulted more from circumstance than from thoughtful planning. As colleges and universities evolve to meet the changing demands of society, how might their leaders design viable alternative faculty models for the future? 
Envisioning the Faculty for the Twenty-First Century weighs the concerns of university administrators, professors, adjuncts, and students in order to critically assess emerging faculty models and offer informed policy recommendations. Cognizant of the financial pressures that have led many universities to favor short-term faculty contracts, higher education experts Adrianna Kezar and Daniel Maxey assemble a top-notch roster of contributors to  investigate whether there are ways to modify the existing system or promote new faculty models. They suggest how colleges and universities might rethink their procedures for faculty development, hiring, scheduling, and evaluation in order to maintain a campus environment that still fosters faculty service and student-centered learning. 
Even as it asks urgent questions about how to retain the best elements of American higher education, Envisioning the Faculty for the Twenty-First Century also examines the opportunities that systemic changes might create. Ultimately, it provides some starting points for how colleges and universities might best respond to the rapidly evolving needs of an increasingly global society.  

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Faculty as Global Learners
Off-Campus Study at Liberal Arts Colleges
Joan Gillespie
Lever Press, 2020
This co-authored collection offers valuable insights about the impact of leading off-campus study on faculty leaders’ teaching, research, service, and overall well-being. Recognizing that faculty leaders are themselves global learners, the book addresses ways that liberal arts colleges can more effectively achieve their strategic goals for students' global learning by intentionally anticipating and supporting the needs of faculty leaders, as they grow and change. Faculty as Global Learners offers key findings and recommendations to stimulate conversations among administrators, faculty, and staff about concrete actions they can explore and steps they can take on their campuses to both support faculty leaders of off-campus programs and advance strategic institutional goals for global learning. This collection includes transferrable pedagogical insights and the perspectives of faculty members who have led off-campus study programs in a variety of disciplines and geographic regions.

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Faculty of Color in the Health Professions
Stories of Survival and Success
Dena Hassouneh
Dartmouth College Press, 2017
This book provides the first in-depth examination of the experiences of a large sampling of faculty members of color in nursing, medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry schools across the United States. Anchoring her study in grounded theory, Dena Hassouneh draws on extraordinary interviews with one hundred diverse faculty members—together with rich contextual data—to illuminate the deeply entrenched cultural and institutional challenges to equity that they confront. She also presents practical strategies to overcome those challenges. The book documents the ways in which faculty members of color are excluded from full participation in their laboratory or department; yet Hassouneh’s research shows that faculty of color can survive and even thrive. The interviews and data clearly reveal both the social, educational, and departmental contexts that determine satisfaction and success in recruitment and advancement and the impact that faculty of color have had on their students, peers, patients, schools, and communities.

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The Harvard Sampler
Liberal Education for the Twenty-First Century
Jennifer M. Shephard
Harvard University Press, 2011

From Harvard University, one of the world’s preeminent institutions of
liberal education, comes a collection of essays sampling topics at the forefront of academia in the twenty-first century. Written by faculty members at the cutting edge of their fields, including such luminaries as Steven Pinker, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and Harry R. Lewis, these essays offer a clear and accessible overview of disciplines that are shaping the culture, and even the world.

The authors, among the most respected members of Harvard’s faculty, invite readers to explore subjects as diverse as religious literacy and Islam, liberty and security in cyberspace, medical science and epidemiology, energy resources, evolution, morality, human rights, global history, the dark side of the American Revolution, American literature and the environment, interracial literature, and the human mind. They summarize key developments in their fields in ways that will both entertain and edify those who seek an education beyond the confines of the classroom.

It is sometimes said that youth is wasted on the young. It could also be said that college, too often, is wasted on college students—that only after graduating does a former student come to appreciate learning. To those wishing to revisit the college classroom—as well as to those who never had the opportunity in the first place—this book gives a taste of the modern course at Harvard. The essays are stimulating and informative, and the annotated bibliographies accompanying each chapter provide invaluable guidance to the life-long learner who wants to pursue these fascinating topics in depth.


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In Search of the Talented Tenth
Howard University Public Intellectuals and the Dilemmas of Race, 1926-1970
Zachery R. Williams
University of Missouri Press, 2009
From the 1920s through the 1970s, Howard University was home to America’s most renowned assemblage of black scholars. This book traces some of the personal and professional activities of this community of public intellectuals, demonstrating their scholar-activist nature and the myriad ways they influenced modern African American, African, and Africana policy studies.

In Search of the Talented Tenth tells how individuals like Rayford Logan, E. Franklin Frazier, John Hope Franklin, Merze Tate, Charles Wesley, and Dorothy Porter left an indelible imprint on academia and black communities alike through their impact on civil rights, anticolonialism, and women’s rights. Zachery Williams explores W. E. B. Du Bois’s Talented Tenth by describing the role of public intellectuals from the Harlem Renaissance to the Black Power movement, in times as trying as the Jim Crow and Cold War eras.

Williams first describes how the years 1890 to 1926 laid the foundation for Howard’s emergence as the “capstone of Negro education” during the administration of university president Mordecai Johnson. He offers a wide-ranging discussion of how the African American community of Washington, D.C., contributed to the dynamism and intellectual life of the university, and he delineates the ties that linked many faculty members to one another in ways that energized their intellectual growth and productivity as scholars. He also discusses the interaction of Howard’s intellectual community with those of the West Indies, Africa, and other places, showing the international impact of Howard’s intellectuals and the ways in which black and brown elites outside the United States stimulated the thought and scholarship of the Howard intellectuals.

In Search of the Talented Tenth marks the first in-depth study of the intellectual activity of this community of scholars and further attests to the historic role of women faculty in shaping the university. It testifies to the impact of this group as a model against which the twenty-first century’s black public intellectuals can be measured.

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In the Company of Scholars
The Struggle for the Soul of Higher Education
By Julius G. Getman
University of Texas Press, 1992

"I began this book to articulate my sense of disappointment and alienation from the status I had fought so hard to achieve." A remarkable admission from an alumnus of Harvard Law School who has held tenured professorships in the law schools of Yale and Stanford and has taught in the law schools of Harvard and Chicago.

In this personal reflection on the status of higher education, Julius Getman probes the tensions between status and meaning, elitism and egalitarianism, that challenge the academy and academics today. He shows how higher education creates a shared intellectual community among people of varied races and classes—while simultaneously dividing people on the basis of education and status.

In the course of his explorations, Getman touches on many of the most current issues in higher education today, including the conflict between teaching and research, challenges to academic freedom, the struggle over multiculturalism, and the impact of minority and feminist activism. Getman presents these issues through relevant, often humorous anecdotes, using his own and others' experiences in coping with the constantly changing academic landscape.

Written from a liberal perspective, the book offers another side of the story told in such works as Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind and Roger Kimball's Tenured Radicals.


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Inside Graduate Admissions
Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping
Julie R. Posselt
Harvard University Press, 2016

How does graduate admissions work? Who does the system work for, and who falls through its cracks? More people than ever seek graduate degrees, but little has been written about who gets in and why. Drawing on firsthand observations of admission committees and interviews with faculty in 10 top-ranked doctoral programs in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, education professor Julie Posselt pulls back the curtain on a process usually conducted in secret.

“Politicians, judges, journalists, parents and prospective students subject the admissions policies of undergraduate colleges and professional schools to considerable scrutiny, with much public debate over appropriate criteria. But the question of who gets into Ph.D. programs has by comparison escaped much discussion. That may change with the publication of Inside Graduate Admissions…While the departments reviewed in the book remain secret, the general process used by elite departments would now appear to be more open as a result of Posselt’s book.”
—Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

“Revealing…Provide[s] clear, consistent insights into what admissions committees look for.”
—Beryl Lieff Benderly, Science


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The Invisible Professor
The Precarious Lives of the New Faculty Majority
Natalie M. Dorfeld
University Press of Colorado, 2023

This edited collection, the first in the Practices & Possibilities series to be published in its Voices from the Field section, offers a rich set of narratives by writing instructors who are serving or have worked in contingent positions. Intended for anyone considering a career in the humanities, The Invisible Professor seeks to reach individuals in three phases of their careers: those thinking of entering the profession, those knee-deep in it and looking for ways to improve conditions, and those who have vacated academic positions for more humane alternative tracks.

As academia comes to a crossroads, with a disheartening shift towards a more disposable business model, multiple solutions are desperately needed. Faculty members in contingent positions are the new faculty majority on college campuses, and they are most likely the first professors students will meet. They deserve respect and a livable wage.


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John Venn
A Life in Logic
Lukas M. Verburgt
University of Chicago Press, 2022
The first comprehensive history of John Venn’s life and work.

John Venn (1834–1923) is remembered today as the inventor of the famous Venn diagram. The postmortem fame of the diagram has until now eclipsed Venn’s own status as one of the most accomplished logicians of his day. Praised by John Stuart Mill as a “highly successful thinker” with much “power of original thought,” Venn had a profound influence on nineteenth-century scientists and philosophers, ranging from Mill and Francis Galton to Lewis Carroll and Charles Sanders Peirce. Venn was heir to a clerical Evangelical dynasty, but religious doubts led him to resign Holy Orders and instead focus on an academic career. He wrote influential textbooks on probability theory and logic, became a fellow of the Royal Society, and advocated alongside Henry Sidgwick for educational reform, including that of women’s higher education. Moreover, through his students, a direct line can be traced from Venn to the early analytic philosophy of G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell, and family ties connect him to the famous Bloomsbury group. 

This essential book takes readers on Venn’s journey from Evangelical son to Cambridge don to explore his life and work in context. Drawing on Venn’s key writings and correspondence, published and unpublished, Lukas M. Verburgt unearths the legacy of the logician’s wide-ranging thinking while offering perspective on broader themes in religion, science, and the university in Victorian Britain. The rich picture that emerges of Venn, the person, is of a man with many sympathies—sometimes mutually reinforcing and at other times outwardly and inwardly contradictory.

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Keeping the Faith
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives
Wayne Flynt
University of Alabama Press, 2011
This historical memoir by the widely recognized scholar, Wayne Flynt, chronicles the inner workings of his academic career at Samford and Auburn Universities, as well as his many contributions to the general history of Alabama. Flynt has traveled the state and the South lecturing and teaching both lay and academic groups, calling on his detailed knowledge of both the history and power structures in Alabama to reveal uncomfortable truths wherever he finds them, whether in academic institutions that fall short of their stated missions, in government and industry leaders who seek and hold power by playing to the fears and prejudices of the public, or in religious groups who abandon their original missions and instead seek financial and emotional comfort in lip service only.
In doing so he has not only energized those who think the State of Alabama can and must do better, but  also has earned the enmity of those who prosper, profit, and prevaricate for their own selfish ends. Nevertheless, Flynt utilizes a lifetime of learning and reflection to voice the conscience of his community. Keeping the Faith: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives tells the story of his life and his courageous battles against an indifferent or hostile hierarchy with modesty and honesty. In doing so he tells us how Alabama institutions really are manipulated and, more importantly, why we should care.


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Loyal Dissent
Memoir of a Catholic Theologian
Charles E. Curran
Georgetown University Press, 2006

Loyal Dissent is the candid and inspiring story of a Catholic priest and theologian who, despite being stripped of his right to teach as a Catholic theologian by the Vatican, remains committed to the Catholic Church. Over a nearly fifty-year career, Charles E. Curran has distinguished himself as the most well-known and the most controversial Catholic moral theologian in the United States. On occasion, he has disagreed with official church teachings on subjects such as contraception, homosexuality, divorce, abortion, moral norms, and the role played by the hierarchical teaching office in moral matters. Throughout, however, Curran has remained a committed Catholic, a priest working for the reform of a pilgrim church. His positions, he insists, are always in accord with the best understanding of Catholic theology and always dedicated to the good of the church.

In 1986, years of clashes with church authorities finally culminated in a decision by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, that Curran was neither suitable nor eligible to be a professor of Catholic theology. As a result of that Vatican condemnation, he was fired from his teaching position at Catholic University of America and, since then, no Catholic university has been willing to hire him. Yet Curran continues to defend the possibility of legitimate dissent from those teachings of the Catholic faith—not core or central to it—that are outside the realm of infallibility. In word and deed, he has worked in support of more academic freedom in Catholic higher education and for a structural change in the church that would increase the role of the Catholic community—from local churches and parishes to all the baptized people of God.

In this poignant and passionate memoir, Curran recounts his remarkable story from his early years as a compliant, pre-Vatican II Catholic through decades of teaching and writing and a transformation that has brought him today to be recognized as a leader of progressive Catholicism throughout the world.


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Manufacturing Morals
The Values of Silence in Business School Education
Michel Anteby
University of Chicago Press, 2013
Corporate accountability is never far from the front page, and as one of the world’s most elite business schools, Harvard Business School trains many of the future leaders of Fortune 500 companies.  But how does HBS formally and informally ensure faculty and students embrace proper business standards? Relying on his first-hand experience as a Harvard Business School faculty member, Michel Anteby takes readers inside HBS in order to draw vivid parallels between the socialization of faculty and of students.

 In an era when many organizations are focused on principles of responsibility, Harvard Business School has long tried to promote better business standards. Anteby’s rich account reveals the surprising role of silence and ambiguity in HBS’s process of codifying morals and business values. As Anteby describes, at HBS specifics are often left unspoken; for example, teaching notes given to faculty provide much guidance on how to teach but are largely silent on what to teach. Manufacturing Morals demonstrates how faculty and students are exposed to a system that operates on open-ended directives that require significant decision-making on the part of those involved, with little overt guidance from the hierarchy. Anteby suggests that this model—which tolerates moral complexity—is perhaps one of the few that can adapt and endure over time.

Manufacturing Morals is a perceptive must-read for anyone looking for insight into the moral decision-making of today’s business leaders and those influenced by and working for them.


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Memoirs of a Life in Medicine
William G. Anlyan, M. D.
Duke University Press, 2004
William G. Anlyan, a dedicated doctor and gifted administrator, was a leader in the transformation of Duke University Hospital from a regional medical center into one of America’s foremost biomedical research and educational institutions. Anlyan’s fifty-five-year career at Duke University spanned a period of extraordinary change in the practice of medicine. He chronicles those transformations—and his role in them—in this forthright memoir.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1925, and schooled in the British tradition, Anlyan attended Yale University as an undergraduate and medical student before coming to the relatively unknown medical school at Duke University in 1949 for an internship in general and thoracic surgery. He stayed on, first as a resident, then as a staff surgeon. By 1961, he was a full professor of surgery. In 1964, Anlyan was named dean of the medical school, the first in a series of administrative posts at the medical school and hospital. Anlyan’s role in the transformation of the Duke University Medical Center into an internationally renowned health system is manifest: he restructured the medical school and hospital and supervised the addition of almost four million square feet of new or renovated space. He hired outstanding administrators and directed a staff that instituted innovative programs and groundbreaking research centers, such as the Cancer Center and the Physician’s Assistant Program.

Anlyan describes a series of metamorphoses in his own life, in the world of medicine, in Durham, and at Duke. At the time of his prep school upbringing in Egypt, medicine was a matter of controlling infectious diseases like tuberculosis and polio. As he became an immigrant medical student and then a young surgeon, he observed vast advances in medical practice and changes in the financing of medical care. During his tenure at Duke, Durham was transformed from a sleepy mill and tobacco town into the “City of Medicine,” a place where patients routinely travel for open-heart surgery and cutting-edge treatments for cancer and other diseases.

Anyone interested in health care, medical education, and the history of Duke University will find Anlyan’s memoir of interest.


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My Iowa Journey
The Life Story of the University of Iowa's First African American Professor
Philip G. Hubbard
University of Iowa Press, 1999

Philip Hubbard's life story begins in 1921 in Macon, a county seat in the Bible Belt of north central Missouri, whose history as a former slave state permeated the culture of his childhood. When he was four his mother moved her family 140 miles north to Des Moines in search of the greater educational opportunity that Iowa offered African American students. In this recounting of the effects of that journey on the rest of his life, Phil Hubbard merges his private and public life and career into an affectionate, powerful, and important story.

Hubbard graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in electrical engineering in 1946; by 1954 he had received his Ph.D. in hydraulics. The College of Engineering extended a warm academic welcome, but nonacademic matters were totally different: Hubbard was ineligible for the housing and other amenities offered to white students. Intelligent, patient, keenly aware of discrimination yet willing to work from within the university system, he advanced from student to teacher to administrator, retiring in 1991 after decades of leadership in the classroom and the conference room.

Hubbard's major accomplishments included policies that focused on human rights; these policies transformed the makeup of students, faculty, and staff by seeking to eliminate discrimination based on race, religion, or other nonacademic factors and by substituting affirmative action for the traditional old-boy methods of selecting faculty and administrators. At the same time that he was advancing the cause of human rights and cultural diversity in education, his family was growing and thriving, and his descriptions of home life reveal one source of his strength and inspiration.

The decades that Hubbard covers were vital in the evolution of the nation and its educational institutions. His dedication to the agenda of public higher education has always been matched by his sensitivity to the negative effects of discrimination and his gentle perseverance toward his goals of inclusion, acceptance, and fairness. His vivid personal and institutional story will prove valuable at this critical juncture in America's racial history.


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Nothing Gold Can Stay
A Memoir
Walter Sullivan
University of Missouri Press, 2006
In his enduring fiction and criticism, Walter Sullivan has invited readers to share the thoughts of a penetrating, contemporary intellect. Now he turns his pen on his own life to forge a stirring memoir that fondly recounts the life of the mind.
From childhood in 1920s Nashville, where his father died three months after he was born, to the halls of Vanderbilt University, where he taught creative writing for more than fifty years, Sullivan recalls key episodes in his life—often pausing to ponder why some memories of seemingly trivial events persist while others, seemingly more important, have faded from view.
As witness to a series of social and cultural moments, Sullivan passes on his sharp observations about depression and war, southern renascence and civil rights. He also includes lively anecdotes and sharp character sketches, with personalities ranging from his grandmother “Chigger” and Sally Fudge—who had lived through the Civil War and was said to attend the funerals of people she didn’t know—to Mrs. Gertrude Vanderbilt, with whose eccentricities he sometimes had to contend.
Readers will discover a treasure trove of insights, as Sullivan’s views of academic life are complemented by remembrances of important writers: John Crowe Ransom, Robert Lowell, Eudora Welty, Robert Penn Warren, James Dickey, Flannery O’Connor, and a host of others, blending the formal and familiar in a style befitting a lingering southernness. He also recalls his shock at being branded a racist by Kingsley Amis and addresses issues of race in academia and southern culture. Throughout his career, he sees himself as a guardian of lost causes, continuing to teach an appreciation of literature in the face of encroaching post-structuralism and political correctness.
Laced with humor while maintaining a profound seriousness about what really matters in life, Nothing Gold Can Stay is a lively narrative of a life well lived that will charm any reader interested in American society during and after the Great Depression. Graced with emotional coherence achieved by an almost ironic tone that is sustained from first sentence to last, it is a book in which a distinguished writer considers his world—and his own mortality—and leaves us richer for it.

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Nowhere Near the Line
Pain and Possibility in Teaching and Writing
Elizabeth H. Boquet
Utah State University Press, 2016
“When I was starting College Presidents for Gun Safety, one of the concerns I heard was the idea that there were just too many issues on which to articulate an opinion. Where would it stop? Where would we draw the line? . . . In light of this latest tragedy, on a college campus that could have been any of ours, I would say: ‘We are nowhere near the line yet.’” (Lawrence Schall, quoted in “Tragedy at Umpqua,” by Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2015)
In this short work, Elizabeth Boquet explores the line Lawrence Schall describes above, tracing the overlaps and intersections of a lifelong education around guns and violence, as a student, a teacher, a feminist, a daughter, a wife, a citizen and across the dislocations and relocations that are part of a life lived in and around school. Weaving narratives of family, the university classroom and administration, her husband’s work as a police officer, and her work with students and the Poetry for Peace effort that her writing center sponsors in the local schools, she recounts her efforts to respond to moments of violence with a pedagogy of peace. “Can we not acknowledge that our experiences with pain anywhere should render us more, not less, capable of responding to it everywhere?” she asks. “Compassion, it seems to me, is an infinitely renewable resource.”

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Picture a Professor
Interrupting Biases about Faculty and Increasing Student Learning
Jessamyn Neuhaus
West Virginia University Press, 2022

“Does a service to all who would prefer a different path, offering realistic strategies to engage students in undermining scholarly stereotypes.”—Science

Picture a Professor is a collection of evidence-based insights and intersectional teaching strategies crafted by and for college instructors. It aims to inspire transformative student learning while challenging stereotypes about what a professor looks like.

Representing a variety of scholarly disciplines, the volume’s contributing authors offer practical advice for effectively navigating student preconceptions about embodied identity and academic expertise. Each contributor recognizes the pervasiveness of racialized, gendered, and other biases about professors and recommends specific ways to respond to and interrupt such preconceptions—helping students, teachers, and others reenvision what we think of when we picture a professor.

Educators at every stage of their career will find affirming acknowledgment of the ways systemic inequities affect college teaching conditions, as well as actionable advice about facilitating student learning with innovative course design, classroom activities, assessment techniques, and more.


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The Politics of Writing Studies
Reinventing Our Universities from Below
Robert Samuels
Utah State University Press, 2017

A friendly critique of the field, The Politics of Writing Studies examines a set of recent pivotal texts in composition to show how writing scholarship, in an effort to improve disciplinary prestige and garner institutional resources, inadvertently reproduces structures of inequality within American higher education. Not only does this enable the exploitation of contingent faculty, but it also puts writing studies—a field that inherently challenges many institutional hierarchies—in a debased institutional position and at odds with itself.

Instead of aligning with the dominant paradigm of research universities, where research is privileged over teaching, theory over practice, the sciences over the humanities, and graduate education over undergraduate, writing studies should conceive itself in terms more often associated with labor. By identifying more profoundly as workers, as a collective in solidarity with contingent faculty, writing professionals can achieve solutions to the material problems that the field, in its best moments, wants to address. Ultimately, the change compositionists want to see in the university will not come from high theory or the social science research agenda; it must come from below.

Offering new insight into a complex issue, The Politics of Writing Studies will be of great interest to writing studies professionals, university administrators, and anyone interested in the political economy of education and the reform of institutions of higher education in America.


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Q & A
Conversations with Harvard Scholars
Peter Costa
Harvard University Press, 1991

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The Questions of Tenure
Richard P. Chait
Harvard University Press, 2004

Tenure is the abortion issue of the academy, igniting arguments and inflaming near-religious passions. To some, tenure is essential to academic freedom and a magnet to recruit and retain top-flight faculty. To others, it is an impediment to professorial accountability and a constraint on institutional flexibility and finances. But beyond anecdote and opinion, what do we really know about how tenure works?

In this unique book, Richard Chait and his colleagues offer the results of their research on key empirical questions. Are there circumstances under which faculty might voluntarily relinquish tenure? When might new faculty actually prefer non-tenure track positions? Does the absence of tenure mean the absence of shared governance? Why have some colleges abandoned tenure while others have adopted it? Answers to these and other questions come from careful studies of institutions that mirror the American academy: research universities and liberal arts colleges, including both highly selective and less prestigious schools.

Lucid and straightforward, The Questions of Tenure offers vivid pictures of academic subcultures. Chait and his colleagues conclude that context counts so much that no single tenure system exists. Still, since no academic reward carries the cachet of tenure, few institutions will initiate significant changes without either powerful external pressures or persistent demands from new or disgruntled faculty.


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Rare Integrity
A Portrait of L. W. Payne, Jr.
Hansen Alexander
University of North Texas Press, 1986

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Redefining Roles
The Professional, Faculty, and Graduate Consultant’s Guide to Writing Centers
Megan Swihart Jewell
Utah State University Press, 2021
Redefining Roles is the first book to recognize and provide sustained focus on the presence of professional, faculty, and graduate student consultants in writing centers. A significant number of writing centers employ non-peer consultants, yet most major training manuals are geared toward undergraduate tutoring practices or administrators. This collection systematically addresses this gap in the literature while initiating new conversations regarding writing center staffing.
Thirty-two authors, consultants, and administrators from diverse centers—from large public four-year institutions to a private, online for-profit university—provide both theoretical frameworks and practical applications in eighteen chapters. Ten chapters focus on graduate consultants and address issues of authority, training, professional development, and mentoring, and eight focus on professional and faculty consultant training as well as specific issues of identity and authority. By sharing these voices, Redefining Roles broadens the very idea of writing centers while opening the door to more dialogue on the important role these practitioners play.
Redefining Roles is designed for writing center practitioners, scholars, and staff. It is also a necessary addition to help campus administrators in the ongoing struggle to validate the intellectually complex work that such staff performs.
Contributors: Fallon N. Allison, Vicki Behrens, Cassie J. Brownell, Matt Burchanoski, Megan Boeshart Burelle, Danielle Clapham, Steffani Dambruch, Elise Dixon, Elizabeth Festa, Will Fitzsimmons, Alex Frissell, Alex Funt, Genie Giaimo, Amanda Gomez, Lisa Lamson, Miriam E. Laufer, Kristin Messuri, Rebecca Nowacek, Kimberly Fahle Peck, Mark Pedretti, Irina Ruppo, Arundhati Sanyal, Anna Scanlon, Matthew Sharkey-Smith, Kelly A. Shea, Anne Shiell, Anna Sicari, Catherine Siemann, Meagan Thompson, Lisa Nicole Tyson, Marcus Weakley, Alex Wulff

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Remembering the University of Chicago
Teachers, Scientists, and Scholars
Edited by Edward Shils
University of Chicago Press, 1991
To celebrate the intellectual achievement of the University of Chicago on the occasion of its centennial year, Edward Shils invited a group of notable scholars and scientists to reflect upon some of their own teachers and colleagues at the University.

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Speaking Up, Speaking Out
Lived Experiences of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty in Writing Studies
Jessica Edwards
Utah State University Press, 2020
Speaking Up, Speaking Out addresses the lived experiences of those working in the non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF) trenches through storytelling and reflection. By connecting NTTF voices from various aspects of writing studies, the collection offers fresh perspectives and meaningful contributions, imagining the possibilities for contingent faculty to be valued and honored in educational systems that often do the opposite. Challenging traditional ways of seeing NTTF, the work contains multiple entry points to NTT life: those with and without “terminal degrees,” those with PhDs, and those who have held or currently hold tenured positions.
Each chapter suggests tangible ways that writing departments and supporters can be more thoughtful about their policies and practices as they work to create more equitable spaces for NTTF. Speaking Up, Speaking Out considers the rhetorical power of labeling and asserts why contingent faculty, for far too long, have been compared to and against TT faculty and often encouraged to reach the same or similar productivity with scholarship, teaching, and service that TT faculty produce. The myopic ideas about what is valued and whose position is deemed more important impacts contingent faculty in ways that, as contributors in this collection share, effect and affect faculty productivity, emotional health, and overall community involvement.
Contributors: Norah Ashe-McNalley, Sarah Austin, Rachel Azima, Megan Boeshart Burelle, Peter Brooks, Denise Comer, Jessica Cory, Liz Gumm, Brendan Hawkins, Heather Jordan, Nathalie Joseph, Julie Karaus, Christopher Lee, John McHone, Angie McKinnon Carter, Dauvan Mulally, Seth Myers, Liliana M. Naydan, Linda Shelton, Erica Stone, Elizabeth Vincelette, Lacey Wootton

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Stepping Away
Returning to the Faculty After Senior Academic Leadership
Lisa Jasinski
Rutgers University Press, 2023
In no other professional field do senior leaders habitually return to the rank-and-file workforce in the twilight of their careers. Corporate CEOs rarely conclude their working lives by resuming the duties of a mid-level account executive; on the verge of retirement, four-star generals do not return to the infantry. But in academia former senior leaders often conclude their careers by reprising the roles and responsibilities of a professor. Until now, leaders and institutions have been left to navigate these transitions on their own—often learning hard lessons that might have been avoided. Stepping Away moves beyond the well-worn clichés of “stepping down” to examine how senior leadership role changes impact individuals and the institutions they serve. Drawn from empirical research involving more than fifty college presidents, provosts, and deans, this book delivers fresh understanding of the challenges and opportunities leaders face as they assume a new place in the social architecture of their campus. Bridging the gap between theory and practice, Stepping Away translates research into practical strategies that leaders can use to make this change successfully, providing guidance about when to speak up and when to remain quiet, how to develop new relationships, where to office, whether to apply for new jobs, and how to use their knowledge and skills to add value to their campus communities, on-campus and off.

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The Three-Legged Woman and Other Excursions in Teaching
Robert Klose
University Press of New England, 2013
Since 1986, Robert Klose has taught biology at a “small, impoverished, careworn” college in central Maine. Located on a former military base, the school became first the South Campus of the University of Maine, or SCUM, and later, Penobscot Valley Community College, then Bangor Community College, and most recently University College of Bangor. Despite its improved nomenclature, University College of Bangor remains an open-admissions environment at which “one never knows what’s going to come in over the transom.” Klose’s nontraditional students have included, in addition to single parents and veterans, the homeless, the abused, ex-cons, and even a murderer (who was otherwise “a very nice person”). Chronicling his experiences teaching these diverse students, Klose describes with equal doses of care and wry wit those who are profoundly unfit for college, their often inadequate command of the lingua franca, and the alacrity with which they seize upon the paranormal (the three-legged woman) while expressing skepticism about mainstream science. He reflects on the decline of reading for enjoyment and the folly of regarding email as a praiseworthy substitute for expository writing. He details what works in the classroom, identifies what has failed, and relates stories of the absurd, the sublime, and the unanticipated, such as one student’s outburst following a discussion of evolution: “For what you have taught today you shall be damned to everlasting fires of hell!” Tempering thoughtfulness with a light touch and plenty of humor, these essays prove that teaching, an “imperfect occupation,” remains a “special profession.”

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Toxic Ivory Towers
The Consequences of Work Stress on Underrepresented Minority Faculty
Ruth Enid Zambrana
Rutgers University Press, 2018
Toxic Ivory Towers seeks to document the professional work experiences of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty in U.S. higher education, and simultaneously address the social and economic inequalities in their life course trajectory. Ruth Enid Zambrana finds that despite the changing demographics of the nation, the percentages of Black and Hispanic faculty have increased only slightly, while the percentages obtaining tenure and earning promotion to full professor have remained relatively stagnant. Toxic Ivory Towers is the first book to take a look at the institutional factors impacting the ability of URM faculty to be successful at their jobs, and to flourish in academia. The book captures not only how various dimensions of identity inequality are expressed in the academy and how these social statuses influence the health and well-being of URM faculty, but also how institutional policies and practices can be used to transform the culture of an institution to increase rates of retention and promotion so URM faculty can thrive.  

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Under New Management
Universities, Administrative Labor, and the Professional Turn
Authored by Randy Martin
Temple University Press, 2012

Faculty members who care about the institutions of higher education where they work are often at odds with university management. In his forceful book, Under New Management, Randy Martin takes a novel, evenhanded approach to this gulf between professors, who feel a loss of autonomy, and administrators.

Martin imagines a political future for academic labor based on a critical understanding of the administrative work that faculty already undertake. He considers the differences between self-rule and specialized expertise and provides a case study of a New York City public school to show how kids and families respond to the demands of managerial productivity that is part of preparing students for college. Under New Management also considers changes faced by students, faculty, and administrators in light of this reworked social compact of professionals.


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The University Against Itself
The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace
edited by Monika Krause, Mary Nolan, Michael Palm and Andrew Ross
Temple University Press, 2008
During the last two decades, many U.S. universities have restructured themselves to operate more like corporations.  Nowhere has this process been more dramatic than at New York University, which has often been touted as an exemplar of the "corporate university."  Over the same period, an academic labor movement has arisen in response to this corporatization.  Using the unprecedented 2005 strike by the graduate student union at NYU as a springboard, The University Against Itself provides a brief history of labor organizing on American campuses, analyzes the state of academic labor today, and speculates about how the university workplace may evolve for employees.

All of the contributors were either participants in the NYU strike -- graduate students, faculty, and organizers -- or are nationally recognized as writers on academic labor.  They are deeply troubled by the ramifications of corporatizing universities.  Here they spell out their concerns, offering lessons from one historic strike as well as cautions about the future of all universities.

Contributors include: Stanley Aronowitz, Barbara Bowen, Andrew Cornell, Ashley Dawson, Stephen Duncombe, Steve Fletcher, Greg Grandin, Adam Green, Kitty Krupat, Gordon Lafer, Micki McGee, Sarah Nash, Cary Nelson, Matthew Osypowski, Ed Ott, Ellen Schrecker, Susan Valentine, and the editors.

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The Unlikely Saga of a Singer from Ann Arbor
The Autobiography of Willis C. Patterson, Basso
Willis Patterson
Michigan Publishing Services, 2015
(From the Preface) Many budding musicians—even from affluent families with both parents living at home and providing a strong supportive environment, combined with constant encouragement—find it very challenging to earn a PhD and reach the pinnacle of a deanship and professorship at a competitive institution of higher learning in the United States of America. As you read this book you will find that no one informed Willis Patterson of this phenomenon because without having the aforementioned criteria, he accomplished those goals and many more.

The book’s main character begins his life, similar to a diamond in the rough, and over time evolves into a rare gem at maturity. These pages will reveal how Willis Patterson of Ann Arbor, Michigan developed from somewhat of a lost child in the 1930s into a: sophisticated academician (Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Supervision from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI); a superior vocal performer; Voice Department Chair, Fulbright Scholar; esteemed Master Voice Teacher; Choral and Glee Club director extraordinaire; University Leader in the recruitment and retention of Minority students (Voice/Performing/Composition); an established Church Choir Director; and Associate Academic Dean of the School of Music at one of America’s finest universities, the University of Michigan.

This book is about a very humble man of significant stature. Although he was motivated and driven to become the best he could be in his quest for excellence—by kicking open the door of opportunity whenever it was presented (audition ready)—he never forgot his family members or hometown acquaintances.

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The Vulnerability of Public Higher Education
Michael Bernard-Donals
The Ohio State University Press, 2023

Reduced state funding to public institutions. The removal of tenure from state statutes. Attempts to silence faculty. Michael Bernard-Donals takes on these issues and other crises in higher education in The Vulnerability of Public Higher Education, exploring how values once used to justify higher education—the democratization of knowledge, the fostering of expertise, the creation of well-informed citizens, and critical engagement with issues—have been called into question.

Bernard-Donals argues that public higher education, especially the work of faculty, has become vulnerable—socially, politically, professionally—and this book takes seriously the idea of vulnerability, suggesting that university faculty see it not as an encumbrance to their work but as an opportunity to form relations of solidarity with one another through mutual recognition and shared, albeit different forms of, precarity. Through a series of case studies on faculty rights and responsibilities, the efficacy of diversity initiatives, and tenure and academic freedom, Bernard-Donals employs a rhetorical perspective to show how vulnerability can reshape faculty work and provide ways to shift the relations of materiality and power while opening up new forms of deliberation, engagement, and knowledge production.


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Wannabe U
Inside the Corporate University
Gaye Tuchman
University of Chicago Press, 2009

Based on years of observation at a large state university, Wannabe U tracks the dispiriting consequences of trading in traditional educational values for loyalty to the market. Aping their boardroom idols, the new corporate administrators at such universities wander from job to job and reductively view the students there as future workers in need of training. Obsessed with measurable successes, they stress auditing and accountability, which leads to policies of surveillance and control dubiously cloaked in the guise of scientific administration. In this eye-opening exposé of the modern university, Tuchman paints a candid portrait of the corporatization of higher education and its impact on students and faculty. 

Like the best campus novelists, Tuchman entertains with her acidly witty observations of backstage power dynamics and faculty politics, but ultimately Wannabe U is a hard-hitting account of how higher education’s misguided pursuit of success fails us all.


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We Scholars
Changing the Culture of the University
David Damrosch
Harvard University Press, 1995

Never before have so many scholars produced so much work--and never before have they seemed to have so little to say to one another, or to the public at large. This is the dilemma of the modern university, which today sets the pattern for virtually all scholarship. In his eloquent book, David Damrosch offers a lucid, often troubling assessment of the state of scholarship in our academic institutions, a look at how these institutions acquired their present complexion, and a proposal for reforms that can promote scholarly communication and so, perhaps, broader, more relevant scholarship.

We Scholars explores an academic culture in which disciplines are vigorously isolated and then further divided into specialized fields, making for a heady mix of scholarly alienation and disciplinary territorialism, a wealth of specialized inquiry and a poverty of general discussion. This pattern, however, is not necessary and immutable; rather, it stems from decisions made a century ago, when the American university assumed its modern form. Damrosch traces the political and economic assumptions behind these decisions and reveals their persisting effects on academic structures despite dramatic changes in the larger society. We Scholars makes a compelling case for a scholarly community more reflective of and attuned to today's needs. The author's call for cooperation as the basis for intellectual endeavor, both within and outside the academy, will resonate for anyone concerned with the present complexities and future possibilities of academic work.


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Women Artists on the Leading Edge
Visual Arts at Douglass College
Joan M. Marter
Rutgers University Press, 2020

How do students develop a personal style from their instruction in a visual arts program? Women Artists on the Leading Edge explores this question as it describes the emergence of an important group of young women artists from an innovative post-war visual arts program at Douglass College.

The women who studied with avant-garde artists at Douglas were among the first students in the nation to be introduced to performance art, conceptual art, Fluxus, and Pop Art. These young artists were among the first to experience new approaches to artmaking that rejected the predominant style of the 1950s: Abstract Expressionism. The New Art espoused by faculty including Robert Watts, Allan Kaprow, Roy Lichtenstein, Geoffrey Hendricks, and others advocated that art should be based on everyday life. The phrase “anything can be art” was frequently repeated in the creation of Happenings, multi-media installations, and video art. Experimental approaches to methods of creation using a remarkable range of materials were investigated by these young women. Interdisciplinary aspects of the Douglass curriculum became the basis for performances, videos, photography, and constructions. Sculpture was created using new technologies and industrial materials. The Douglass women artists included in this book were among the first to implement the message and direction of their instructors.

Ultimately, the artistic careers of these young women have reflected the successful interaction of students with a cutting-edge faculty. From this BA and MFA program in the Visual Arts emerged women such as Alice Aycock. Rita Myers, Joan Snyder, Mimi Smith, and Jackie Winsor, who went on to become lifelong innovators. Camaraderie was important among the Douglass art students, and many continue to be instructors within a close circle of associates from their college years. Even before the inception of the women’s art movement of the 1970s, these women students were encouraged to pursue professional careers, and to remain independent in their approach to making art. The message of the New Art was to relate one’s art production to life itself and to personal experiences. From these directions emerged a “proto-feminist” art of great originality identified with women’s issues. The legacy of these artists can be found in radical changes in art instruction since the 1950s, the promotion of non-hierarchical approaches to media, and acceptance of conceptual art as a viable art form.


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Working for Peace and Justice
Memoirs of an Activist Intellectual
Lawrence S. Wittner
University of Tennessee Press, 2012

A longtime agitator against war and social injustice, Lawrence Wittner has been tear-gassed, threatened by police with drawn guns, charged by soldiers with fixed bayonets, spied upon by the U.S. government, arrested, and purged from his job for political -reasons. To say that this teacher-historian-activist has led an interesting life is a considerable understatement.
    In this absorbing memoir, Wittner traces the dramatic course of a life and career that took him from a Brooklyn boyhood in the 1940s and ’50s to an education at Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin to the front lines of peace activism, the fight for racial equality, and the struggles of the labor movement. He details his family background, which included the bloody anti-Semitic pogroms of late-nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, and chronicles his long teaching career, which comprised positions at a small black college in Virginia, an elite women’s liberal arts college north of New York City, and finally a permanent home at the Albany campus of the State University of New York. Throughout, he packs the narrative with colorful vignettes describing such activities as fighting racism in Louisiana and Mississippi during the early 1960s, collaborating with peace-oriented intellectuals in Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, and leading thousands of antinuclear demonstrators through the streets of Hiroshima. As the book also reveals, Wittner’s work as an activist was matched by scholarly achievements that made him one of the world’s foremost authorities on the history of the peace and nuclear disarmament movements—a research specialty that led to revealing encounters with such diverse figures as Norman Thomas, the Unabomber, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Caspar Weinberger, and David Horowitz.
    A tenured professor and renowned author who has nevertheless lived in tension with the broader currents of his society, Lawrence Wittner tells an engaging personal story that includes some of the most turbulent and significant events of recent history.

Lawrence S. Wittner, emeritus professor of history at the University at Albany, SUNY, is the author of numerous scholarly works, including the award-winning three-volume Struggle Against the Bomb. Among other awards and honors, he has received major grants or fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Aspen Institute, the United States Institute of Peace, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


front cover of A Working Model for Contingent Faculty
A Working Model for Contingent Faculty
Robert Samuels
University Press of Colorado, 2023
In A Working Model for Contingent Faculty, Robert Samuels offers an outline of fair and effective practices for improving the working conditions of faculty in precarious positions. Drawing on more than twenty years of union activism and university teaching, Samuels examines programs, policies, and practices that work for non-tenure-track faculty in the University of California system. His detailed analysis of facts on the ground offers a foundation upon which faculty in contingent positions can build arguments for improved working conditions. Throughout the book, Samuels focuses on the central issues of academic freedom, job security, compensation, shared governance, evaluation and promotion, benefits, and dispute resolution as well as critical but less often addressed concerns such as funding for professional development family leave policies, technology training, and summer teaching. A Working Model, as a result, offers resources that can support progress well beyond the University of California system.

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