Talking To Students About Working Conditions

In “Making It,” an essay in the new issue of Academe, Monica Jacobe talks about the public’s understanding of college as a route to the middle class and about public ire over the high cost of tuition. She says:

What does not enter this conversation or, apparently, the minds of most of the stakeholders talking about college costs is the fact that the majority of faculty members will also struggle to pay their children’s college tuition. Beneath this fact lie two important questions. How is such financial difficulty possible for the intellectual elite in their seemingly luxurious ivory towers? And why don’t most parents and students know the answer to that first question?

And in an essay in the May-June issue, Cary Nelson proposed that faculty should “devote one hour each semester in every course to discussing the status and character of campus labor.”

Readers, do you find that your students are aware of the facts of faculty employment and working conditions–including poverty wages and lack of academic freedom protections for many faculty? Do you talk to your students about your working conditions?

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