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Aimée Morrison @digiwonk
, 14 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
To my tenured colleagues: A thread on how we can be part of the solution, not just a precious relic of the way things used to be, and the manifestation of disproportionate privilege and inequity in the academy. Let's talk; please share and add. #cdnpse
A lot of us with tenure are watching PhDs leave without finishing, go into debt, suffer lousy adjunct jobs, destroy their mental health. We are watching our undergrad programs turned into scaled-up piecework. Our administrative structure turn managerial. What can we do?
Because *we*, the tenured, are the ones to do it. Who else? Marginalized scholars? Contingent workers? Trustees and boards? No. If anyone has the footing, power, and safety to push back, it's tenured people. What are you going to do?
Yes, yes, I know: you are just one mid-level associate trying to finish your book / get that grant / grade all the things. You're a nobody. Except you're a nobody with very strong job protection, a stable salary, benefits, and institutional access. That is not nothing. Now what?
You could do some positive things: push for better, stable contracts for adjuncts or lecturers. Push for the continuation of tenure lines. Push to protect people below you from the depredations of academic exploitation. Push for the things you claim to value in your research.
You could: sit on hiring committees and push back against always hiring from the same high-prestige programs. You could push forward the idea that diverse hires are necessarily GOING TO PRESENT DIFFERENTLY than the usual hires, including in interview style, exp., interpersonally.
You could: actually perform service in your department and your faculty as if it was meaningful. You have the power to care, and the power to be a pain in the ass to do things the right way. This would be better than complaining about The Powers That Be. You *are* TPTB. Use it.
You could; sit on undergraduate and graduate curriculum committees and make sure the workloads and degree demands do not assume an able-bodied 18 year old middle class kid with no other obligations than to study. Be inclusive. Push for that.
You could: really ask yourself why the degrees you teach in have to be exactly the same as the degree you took 20 years ago. (My BA: 1992-1997 and PhD: 1998-2004--HISTORY!). Our students and our world and the market is not the same. Be the change that will make things equitable.
You could (this is harder): consider why you only want to teach upper level courses to major, and consider that you are leaving the grad students, the adjunct, the junior people the most challenging courses. That's not, actually, fair: you're trying to skim the cream off the top.
You could (this is hard, too): look at your own syllabi and do an audit: are you mostly teaching white dude texts and ideas? Because you always have? Because that's what you know? Look at your students: that's not them. Branch out. Learn more. Diversify your syllabus.
You could (not easy): think about your pedagogy: how much is construed to perform gatekeeping, rather than teaching. Are you acting as a judge or arbiter, or as a guide and mentor? What kinds of labour are you not doing with your students? Who is doing that labour for you?
You could: model integrity, balance, and equity for your grad students. They learn the profession's and field's values from you. Respond promptly, support the whole student, really listen, act as a coach and not just a grader. Be a decent human. It matters.
And now I turn it to you: what can YOU do, my tenured friends, to make the university a better place? I feel like marginalized scholars are doing way more to advance this conversation, and it should be work that falls mainly to us. Go!
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