Why I want to be a prof

Linnea Ista lkista at UNM.EDU
Tue Apr 23 13:01:37 EST 1996

On 23 Apr 1996, Julia Frugoli wrote:

> I have heard that the small institutions are taking advantage of the 
> post-doc glut by hiring people for tenure track positions with no 
> intention of giving them tenure.  By setting impossible standards (high 
> teaching load, major grants and pubs), they can let the person go after 
> 7 years and hire again.  Since they don't make the big investment in 
> start up large universities do, this is feasible for them.  Anyone else 
> seen/heard this, or is this just disgruntled jr faculty blowing off 
> steam?

I worked at an institution like this once. Their ploy however was a bit 
more nefarious. Hire visiting  instructors (They don't have to pay 
retirement benefits you see). Run them ragged and  then hire new folks a 
few years later. This particular place is also notorious for the other 
behavior you mentioned. 

On the other hand I taught at a state institution, that, while the course 
load was heavy, did encourage research through small grants. Of course 
the governor of that state did a total slash and burn on the education 
budget and my friends are now really struggling even to cover all the 

Would I go back to teaching in such a situation? If I could find another 
situation like the one at the state institution, probably yes. If it was 
made clear to me that my primary priority was teaching/mentoring. As an 
alumna of a small college I think this is very important and really value 
the experience of having professors with whom I could interact closely 
(especially the two tenured women in the sciences, what an inspiration).

Good luck!

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