If you haven’t heard yet about David C. Levy’s op-ed piece in the Washington Post, then it is worth a look. Not because I agree with his claim that professors do not work hard enough to earn their hourly wage, but because it is worth knowing what people outside academia think about the job of being a professor. You should know what is being said about you. There have been numerous responses to this article (from the Chronicle’s On Hiring - “Academy as Slacker Heaven,” Brainstorm – “Slacking for a Living” and ProfHacker - “Quantifying the (Academic) Self“, Lawyers, Gun$ and Money - ”Stupid or Lying: Wildly Overpaid Faculty Edition” to name a few). The most interesting response, though, has been the #DayofHigherEd. That would be today.
All over the world (and the web), academics are sharing what they do during their day today as part of the #DayofHigherEd. While you might argue that you have more important things to do (it is, after all, approaching final exam time and we at CTL understand what that means), I would like to argue that raising awareness of just what people employed within higher education actually do is important. The recent provincial budget is just one example of a need for awareness about the value of higher education. Part of that value comes from knowing just what that money is actually paying for. That includes the salary of higher education employees, especially instructors.
There has long been the stereotype of the professor sleeping behind a closed door when not actively teaching. Teaching, after all, happens in the classroom. Right? The rest of the time, a professor can leisurely sit back and relax, even taking week-long breaks and four-month summer vacations. In reality, most of those instructors spend their time trying to keep up with all their roles and responsibilities, time in front of a class being only a portion of that. Even if the only role and responsibility were teaching (and we all know that is rarely true), time spent in front of a class is just part of what goes into teaching a class.
Sessional lecturers, I urge you to share your day as well. #DayofHigherEd is not just for full-time, tenured or tenure-track professors.
So please, if you are blogging, tweeting, making a video, cataloguing on Facebook, let us know. Share what you do with your day.