From the AHA Online column in the February 2013 issue of Perspectives on History
Trending on AHA Social Media
Vanessa Varin, February 2013
During the 127th annual meeting in New Orleans, the Council asked the incoming president, Kenneth Pomeranz, to appoint an ad hoc committee to develop recommendations on ways the AHA can and should address the educational implications of the growing use of adjunct and part-time faculty. In response to the Council's request, the AHA Today blog was the place for readers to react. Donald Rogers, chair of the OAH Committee on Part-Time, Adjunct and Contingent Employment, commented, "I am intrigued that the AHA directed the incoming president to appoint a committee on the educational implications of adjunct and part-time historians. Of course, there used to be a joint AHA-OAH committee on this subject, until AHA dropped out about four years ago, leaving OAH and its hardworking faculty committee to address this problem on its own. We on that OAH committee sought to rekindle cooperation with AHA on this important subject and have appreciated the AHA's support of some of our efforts, such as revised standards for employment of adjunct faculty. As a member both of AHA and OAH, I personally offer whatever assistance and cooperation that AHA would like to have from me and the OAH committee as it reestablishes a faculty committee to address this vital issue."
Jan Giraldo offered a different perspective, writing, "I'm wondering what the implications of the committee's recommendations may be for us students. A number of my instructors have been adjunct or part-time. Personally, I see this as good. (1) These instructors are concentrating on teaching, not on securing tenure or publishing. (2) Professors emeriti can extend their professional lives by teaching distance courses. (3) The rise in tuition rates can be slowed. What I perceive from the AHA is concern about a decline in the quality of education. Please consider my point #1; we all know some tenured professors simply do not have the time to be good classroom instructors." While Melissa Bruninga-Matteau wrote, "I hereby volunteer for this committee." This is only a sampling of reactions captured on our social media spaces; we hope the conversations will continue and grow.
#Hashtags You Should be Following
In response to a recent Forbes article that labeled "university professor" the least stressful job of 2013, academics across disciplines united on Twitter to form the hashtag #RealForbesProfessors. The hashtag has now become a place for faculty to commiserate about their workload with great humor and unflinching truth. Some of my favorite tweets include:
@bam294 8 p.m. and I'm finally done with the day's work...after 13h. Such a cushy job. Two whole hours left to kill my headache. #RealForbesProfessor.
@petergeez That one time I had to return pop cans to the grocery store to afford my final exam xeroxing#adjunct#realforbesprofessors.
@sisterprofessor @surnameBLACK seems to me like the easiest job is writing for Forbes...you don't have to check your sources...lol#RealForbesProfessors.
Another hashtag guaranteed to make you laugh is #Overlyhonesthistorians, filled with such true confessions as:
@HallieRubenhold #overlyhonesthistorians I don't really understand Foucault but if I don't quote him no one will take this article seriously
@rmathematicus #OverlyHonestHistorians I found a text in the archives that disproved my thesis, put it back in the wrong place where nobody could find it
@sirthopas #OverlyHonestHistorians I write historically inaccurate romance novels under a pseudonym for the money
Vanessa Varin is the AHA's assistant editor, web and social media.