Letter from Kathy Mccoy
Colorado Central – February 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine
Dear Cactus Jack,
Your January cartoon in Colorado Central is really disappointing, with its apparent reference to the Ward Churchill disaster at University of Colorado. Every profession has an occasional opportunistic impostor, and it’s a cheap shot to accuse the university c
Anyone with experience in higher education knows the following facts about university teaching:
University faculty “make good money.”
Compared to the corporate world, university salaries are much lower, yet a professor must have excelled at 10-12 years of university education to apply for even an entry level teaching position.
University faculty “get great benefits.”
Hard-pressed institutions often give fewer benefits with higher employee contributions than one could buy on the open insurance market.
University faculty “don’t have to work that hard.”
Faculty are under enormous pressure to initiate new research, publish their findings in meticulous peer-reviewed papers, and speak at conferences to remain competitive throughout their careers, and especially during the brutal 6-year tenure track process. Teaching is an incredibly draining activity; teachers find it impossible to just leave at the end of a regular workday when dedicated students are always asking for more input.
University faculty “have summers off.”
Faculty spend their summers teaching extra courses, preparing new courses and lectures, conducting original research and preparing grant proposals. Just try creating a 16-week course with 16 lesson plans, 16 original lectures, 16 perfect reading assignments and several quizzes and exams to assess student progress.
University faculty “shoot their mouths off.”
A more accurate description of faculty’s verbal skills includes effective public speaking, impromptu discussion abilities, and strong people skills to motivate students to excel.
“I’m going to be a college professor.”
Well, probably not. The rigorous academic search process is prescribed by national accrediting agencies. Position openings must be listed nationally in all pertinent academic publications and meet all government equal opportunity requirements.
A highly qualified university search committee reviews each application which must provide a wide range of supporting materials including advanced academic degrees, an academic vita, peer-reviewed publications of original research and credible references. Those finalists passing telephone interviews meet face to face with the search committee for an exhaustive and exhausting grilling.