Friday, April 11, 2008

Sad Comment on the Profession

This story from Inside Higher Ed describes how a late-career Ph.D. post-doc was one of the escorts in the "D.C. Madame" trial. The story basically describes her career track: a successful professional that wanted to advance in the area of occupational therapy. To do so, she required the credentialization for positions that she was seeking (including being a department chair at a University). She was broke, the process between finding a job and actually being employed in that job and an ailing parent meant that she didn't have enough money to make ends meet.

This is wrong on so many levels I'm not sure my further comment would do any justice. First, the flaws of an academic system that place the risks and burdens of fluctuating employment solely on the individual. Second, the fact that, as an adjunct professor and interim department chair, she was not making enough money to make ends meet shows the utter lack of respect to the people who actually make the university run. While I see multi-million dollar contracts go to football and men's basketball coaches (the latter being especially appalling because of the dismal graduation rates among their players), the people actually responsible for teaching are left with few options for making ends meet. Then, there is the whole idea that someone who is trying to improve her career, did not follow a traditional career track and is well-respected professional is treated in such a way is appalling.

Actually, the whole thing is appalling and, while I could go on, I think that I'll leave it at that.


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