Thursday, February 2, 2012

What do faculty do?

I can't tell you the number of times an ignorant person has made a comment to the effect that teaching faculty have cushy jobs because we only work a couple of hours a day (e.g. today I taught from 8:40-10:00 and 11:40-1:00).

The first thing I ask people is if they've ever given a one-hour lecture before.  Then I ask how long it took them to prepare it.  Then I ask them to imagine doing 15 of them a week for four months.  Write a few dozen assignments and a half dozen tests while you're at it.  Grade them.  Doesn't sound so easy now, does it?

As a matter of fact, given a shit-load of work dumped on me recently, I've been at the office until 8 pm on Monday, 7 pm on Tuesday, left "early" at 5:30 pm Wednesday, and 6:00 pm today.  I have to be in before 8:30 most days since I have an 8:40 class.  I also work in the evenings at home (primarily grading and course prep).  And many weekends.  A 9-5 job would be like a fucking vacation.

Faculty at our community college also do a hell of a lot more than simply teach.  Here's a list I came up with off the top of my head.  As a professor and department chair, I do pretty much everything listed below.  I've probably forgetten a few things too.

Job Duties of All Faculty at our Institution:
Course preparation (hundreds of lectures a semester, writing quizzes, writing exams, etc.)
Course grading (quizzes, exams, papers, assignments, labs, etc.)
Upgrading courses (in science, material changes every semester with new discoveries)
Professional development (reading journals, attending conferences, short courses, lectures, webinars, etc.)
Training to use technology (online course management system, school's computer system for registration)
Periodically entering dates of attendance and grades into school computer system for over 100 students
Keeping office hours (4 hours/week minumum)
Student advisement and registration (beyond required office hours)
Meeting with students who need assistance (informal – varying numbers of hours – sometimes all day long)
Writing recommendation letters for students
Textbook evaluation and selection (and meeting with textbook reps)
Assistance with course scheduling
Course assessment (required by our accrediting agency)
Committee work (many faculty are on multiple committees)
Peer evaluation (most faculty at some point take part in faculty evaluation of a colleague)

Some Faculty Routinely Do More:
General Education course assessments (periodically required by SUNY)
Syllabi revisions (most faculty get involved in this at some point)
Faculty Senate and Faculty Association (our union) Executive Committee service
Field trips (including Saturdays with no extra pay) and astronomical night observations
Student Club advisement and activities
Science Olympiad (hosted yearly at our college and a big deal for us in the science department)
Research (some faculty do research and publish at our College)
Grant writing (we have no full-time grant writer at our institution)
Public outreach (e.g. local lectures, presentations, etc.)
Community service (many clubs on Campus and their advisors do stuff for the community)
Service to the college community (e.g. One Book/One College presentations)
Real-world experience supervision (some classes work on outside projects for the community)
Recruitment and scheduling of speakers and performers (who do you think does that?)
Advisory board meetings
New student recruitment (e.g. Open House, high school visits)
Lab setup and takedown (this is beyond normal classroom hours)
Periodic cleaning and maintenance of labs and equipment (somethings can’t be done by housekeeping)
Grading of math and English placement exams
Service on search committees (faculty & staff positions)

Some Faculty are Also Program Coordinators or Department Chairs:
Program review and assessment (required by SUNY)
Extra committees (Chairs serve on several special committees)
Program revisions
Articulation agreements
Course revisions (additions/deletions)
Adjunct recruitment and hiring
Adjunct supervision and mentoring
Adjunct evaluations
Course scheduling
Full-time faculty supervision (complaints about faculty from students & administration comes to chairs)
Supervision of department secretaries
Supervision of Instructional Assistants and Lab Techs
Supervision of student aides
Collegian program supervision (college courses in local high schools)
Developing the yearly budget and strategic plan (a LOT of work)
Hiring new full-time faculty (writing job ads, screening CVs, setting up search committees)
Running department meetings
Purchasing equipment (entering in system, getting a P.O, ordering, delivery, invoice, etc.)
Dealing with random requests from the public
Ad hoc work at Dean’s request (numerous requests every semester)

All that for significantly less money than people with comparable degrees earn in the private sector.

I'm really not complaining, I generally like my job.  Just don't fucking tell me I don't earn my pay.

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