Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The core mission of the University of California

I talked with my department's teaching chair about opportunities for teaching here in the future. Unsurprisingly, I received little reassurance. University-wide, there is a lot of pressure to slash lecturer positions. The only positions that have any security are those that "require specific expertise," such as Micro lab courses. The thinking, such as it is, is that introductory courses can be taught by any biologist. So, ditch the lecturers, and research faculty should extract themselves from their grant-writing and get out there and teach, by gum. (It apparently does not occur to the powers that be of the university that teaching an introductory class to 500 students requires some specific expertise. Nor does it occur to the university that more than a few research-driven faculty are unenthusiastic and inexperienced teachers.) So, fewer classes will be offered, and the teachers will be grumpy researchers who would much rather be somewhere else.

It was observed that the Core Mission of the University of California is to pay lip service to education.

Meanwhile, over at the Cal State University, things are little better. Back in May, I was supposed to know something about employment for the coming year. The deadline passed, and even then they only knew about the fall. I recently asked about the spring semester, and thanks to California's annual budget gyrations, they won't be able to tell me anything until November.

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