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17 November 2004

More electoral map madness

A couple of days ago, I posted a map with a linear red-blue scale of the election results.  Now a group at the University of Michigan has created a population-weighted version of that map.  Take a look at this map and more at their site.

Posted in Politicks on 17 November 2004 at 11:52 am by Nate

State of academic work

is a great article from the Guardian in the UK, detailing the work
environment many of us find ourselves living with in academia

The situation looks broadly similar in the US, except that one can
actually get tenure here (although not at Harvard), which may reduce a
few of the pressures.  But not until one gets tenure.

This outlines some of the problems rather well:

“Every job comes with its own internal psychological
contract,” Kinman says. “The deal that most academics make with
themselves when they enter the profession is that they will be trading
a lower salary for greater autonomy and flexibility.

“When they discover that not only are the pressures as intense – if not
more so – than in other professions, but that much of their workload
has been reduced to bureaucracy, they feel cheated that the contract
has been violated. They are in effect mourning the loss of the job they
thought they had.”

Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at
Lancaster University and a leading researcher into work-related stress,
says: “People have this view that academics are people who have long
holidays, teach a bit and then play with some research,” he says.

“People don’t have sympathy for us. They will have sympathy for doctors
and nurses. Who trains the doctors? We do. Who trains the nurses, the
social workers, the teachers? We do. Who trains all the people they
worry about? Us. These attitudes add to the problem. We don’t perceive
ourselves to be valued.”

Life as an academic is as hard as any other
profession.  I may only spend 5 hours a week “teaching”, but I
have at least that amount of prep time, grading (more if a big paper
comes in), and a couple more hours a week in student contact. 
Then there’s my own research to do.  And I live with another

One of the major reasons I chose the profession was to have the
latitude to do what I want to do, even if there’s a lot of work in
it.  If we lose that, we’ll lose many academics.  If I got
bogged down in campus bureaucracy, I’d certainly think about finding a
new way to use my doctorate.  And I don’t think I am the only one
of my colleagues who feels this way.

Posted in IvoryTower on 17 November 2004 at 9:55 am by Nate