Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Should You Quit Your Academic Job?

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Vitae
September 30th, 2014




We’re a few weeks into the new semester. Plenty of time to get settled into a routine and shake off the preliminary excitement of a new school year.
For many Vitae readers, the job search season is already in full swing. A quick glance at the academic jobs wiki will confirm that. The competition for those coveted positions is strong and many qualified and intelligent people will come up empty-handed.
Those who fall short may consider other options, or may even decide to leave academia entirely. We’ve all read the #quitlit of the post-academics who have chosen to leave. Maybe you have considered joining their ranks. Maybe you’ve decided to make this job search season your last. Or maybe you’ve been working in academia for a while now and you fantasize about the day you walk away and try something new.
Quitting is certainly not always a good idea, but for some, it’s the best option. Whether you are an adjunct or a provost, it never hurts to occasionally re-evaluate your mindset with regard to your work. Of course, anyone considering such a big move should carefully weigh the pros and cons.

We’re a few weeks into the new semester. Plenty of time to get settled into a routine and shake off the preliminary excitement of a new school year.
For many Vitae readers, the job search season is already in full swing. A quick glance at the academic jobs wiki will confirm that. The competition for those coveted positions is strong and many qualified and intelligent people will come up empty-handed.
Those who fall short may consider other options, or may even decide to leave academia entirely. We’ve all read the #quitlit of the post-academics who have chosen to leave. Maybe you have considered joining their ranks. Maybe you’ve decided to make this job search season your last. Or maybe you’ve been working in academia for a while now and you fantasize about the day you walk away and try something new.
Quitting is certainly not always a good idea, but for some, it’s the best option. Whether you are an adjunct or a provost, it never hurts to occasionally re-evaluate your mindset with regard to your work. Of course, anyone considering such a big move should carefully weigh the pros and cons.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/727-should-you-quit-your-academic-job#sthash.Xq7A86JM.dpuf
We’re a few weeks into the new semester. Plenty of time to get settled into a routine and shake off the preliminary excitement of a new school year.
For many Vitae readers, the job search season is already in full swing. A quick glance at the academic jobs wiki will confirm that. The competition for those coveted positions is strong and many qualified and intelligent people will come up empty-handed.
Those who fall short may consider other options, or may even decide to leave academia entirely. We’ve all read the #quitlit of the post-academics who have chosen to leave. Maybe you have considered joining their ranks. Maybe you’ve decided to make this job search season your last. Or maybe you’ve been working in academia for a while now and you fantasize about the day you walk away and try something new.
Quitting is certainly not always a good idea, but for some, it’s the best option. Whether you are an adjunct or a provost, it never hurts to occasionally re-evaluate your mindset with regard to your work. Of course, anyone considering such a big move should carefully weigh the pros and cons.

Steven Salaita: U. of I. destroyed my career

Chicago Tribune
September 29th, 2014

Being recruited for a tenured faculty position at a major university is no small feat, nor should it be; tenure represents the pinnacle of an academic career. In my case, it involved numerous interviews with faculty in the American Indian studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an intensive review of my scholarship, pedagogy and professional service.
I survived this rigorous review and, having accepted an employment offer from the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, resigned my tenured position at another university and prepared my family to move. A few weeks before classes were to start, and without any warning, I received a letter from the chancellor, Phyllis Wise, informing me of my termination.
How did this happen?

The Future of Higher Education

Inside Higher Ed
September 30th, 2014


With a number of leading for-profits beset by legal and financial woes, enrollment in online education leveling off, and MOOCs off the front pages, one might reasonably conclude that the threats to higher ed posed by what was hailed as “disruptive innovation” have abated.
No so.
At this point, institutions are disrupting themselves from the inside out, not waiting for the sky to fall. True disruption occurs when existing institutions begin to embrace the forces of transformation.
The innovations taking place may not seem to be as dramatic as those that loomed in 2012, but the consequences are likely be even more far-reaching, challenging established business and staffing models.
Let’s begin by looking at ten innovations that are slowly but surely being incorporated into higher ed, and then to five new educational models that are gradually emerging.

Cornell U. Names First Female President

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 30th, 2014

Cornell University has named the provost of the University of Southern California as its 13th president, according to a news release on its website. Elizabeth Garrett will be Cornell’s first female president when she takes office, on July 1, 2015.
Ms. Garrett has been Southern California’s provost since 2010. She is also a professor of law, political science, finance and business economics, and public policy.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Organizing to Defend a Professor's Freedom of Speech

New York Times
September 28th, 2014


On a Friday night in early August, Prof. Corey Robin put out a call on his blog. There had been plenty of grumbling over the University of Illinois’s decision to revoke a job offer to Prof. Steven G. Salaita, who gained notoriety for incendiary tweets about Israel. But it had not been enough to persuade the university to reinstate Professor Salaita. So Professor Robin, a political theorist at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, ratcheted up the pressure.
He suggested that scholars in every field begin organizing public statements refusing to accept any invitations to speak on any campus of the University of Illinois, a serious disruption of academic business.
“Nobody’s gonna do this,” Mr. Robin remembers telling his wife. But, to his surprise, they did. Philosophers, citing CoreyRobin.com, took up the challenge. The boycotts snowballed. English professors. Political scientists. Anthropologists. All signed on, and Mr. Robin blogged each fresh step. By his last count, more than 5,000 scholars had joined boycotts.

Read more here

How One Professor, One Student and One Class Showed that One Dollar Can Change the World

Huffington Post - Education
September 29th, 2014

Speech Professor Tammy Voigt is a favorite among students at Indiana University Southeast. With a rare 5.0 score on RateMyProfessors.com, it's no wonder undergrads flock to her classes, but even this veteran instructor can still be surprised by her students now and then.
Junior level speech class, SP 324 -- Persuasion, has always opened with a warm-up speech. The goal for this assignment is for students to use the persuasive techniques that come naturally to them prior to diving into a curriculum of theory and techniques to identify where they could improve their rhetorical skills. In the past, these speeches were hypothetical in nature ("What would you do with a million dollars?"), which never seemed to be fully effective -- students were not personally invested in the process (beyond a letter grade), nor did it feel "real" to them.
So this year, Professor Voigt asked each student to bring in one dollar, which was put into an envelope, then she added a few bucks to round up to $25. This time, it was real money -- their money -- on the table. The assignment was for each student to present a persuasive discourse about why he or she deserved the cash, with the class voting and the winning speaker getting it all (and no, no one was allowed to vote for themselves).

Adjuncts, Retirements and Sexual Harassment: A Survey of Campus HR Leaders

Inside Higher Ed
September 29th, 2014


Chief human resources officers overwhelmingly believe their institutions are doing enough to prevent sexual harassment by employees – but are far less confident that higher education in general is doing enough to combat such behavior.
HR directors – especially those at public colleges and universities -- are growing increasingly concerned about faculty members working well past traditional retirement age, leaving little flexibility for their institutions to hire a new generation of professors.
And while half of HR officers say their institutions fairly compensate adjunct faculty members, fewer strongly agree that that’s the case than was true last year, and the proportion of public university HR directors who say their institutions offer appropriate job security and due process protections for part-time instructors had tumbled from a year ago.

U. of Arizona Reprimands Professor in Wake of Plagiarism Inquiry

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 29th, 2014


The University of Arizona has reprimanded a professor after an investigation into allegations that she plagiarized the work of a former student, the Arizona Daily Star reported.
The student accused Susannah Dickinson, an assistant professor in Arizona’s School of Architecture, of lifting material from his master’s thesis and presenting it as her own work. Ms. Dickinson was the faculty adviser for the student’s thesis.
A university committee reviewed three allegations of plagiarism. Andrew C. Comrie, the university’s provost, described the committee’s findings in a letter to Arizona’s president, Ann Weaver Hart. He wrote that the university had found that the professor’s conduct had risen to the level of misconduct in the form of plagiarism in one of the cases. He determined that Ms. Dickinson should be issued a “formal admonishment” acknowledging the misconduct.

Why Academics Stink at Writing

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 26th, 2014


Together with wearing earth tones, driving Priuses, and having a foreign policy, the most conspicuous trait of the American professoriate may be the prose style called academese. An editorial cartoon by Tom Toles shows a bearded academic at his desk offering the following explanation of why SAT verbal scores are at an all-time low: "Incomplete implementation of strategized programmatics designated to maximize acquisition of awareness and utilization of communications skills pursuant to standardized review and assessment of languaginal development." In a similar vein, Bill Watterson has the 6-year-old Calvin titling his homework assignment "The Dynamics of Inter­being and Monological Imperatives in Dick and Jane: A Study in Psychic Transrelational Gender Modes," and exclaiming to Hobbes, his tiger companion, "Academia, here I come!"
No honest professor can deny that there’s something to the stereotype. When the late Denis Dutton (founder of the Chronicle-owned Arts & Letters Daily) ran an annual Bad Writing Contest to celebrate "the most stylistically lamentable passages found in scholarly books and articles," he had no shortage of nominations, and he awarded the prizes to some of academe’s leading lights.

It's No Joke: Humor Rarely Welcome in Research Write-Ups

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 29th, 2014

Stephen Heard once wrote a paper about how pollen spreads among the flowers of a certain endangered plant. In it he speculated that the wind might play a role by shaking loose the pollen. To support his point, he cited "Hall et al., 1957"—a reference to the songwriters of the Jerry Lee Lewis hit "Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On." But a reviewer nixed Heard’s little joke. "Although I appreciated the levity of the reference," he wrote, "I think it is not appropriate for a scientific publication."
So is levity ever appropriate in a scientific publication? Mr. Heard, a professor of biology at the University of New Brunswick, thinks so, and in an essay titled "On whimsy, jokes, and beauty: can scientific writing be enjoyed?"—published in the always hilarious Ideas in Ecology and Evolution—he bemoans the buttoned-up super-seriousness of most published research, noting that amusing moments in the literature are "unusual enough that finding one is like sighting a glow-throated hummingbird or a Salt Creek tiger beetle: beautiful, but rare, tiny, and glimpsed in passing."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Chicago to Close Confucius Institute

Inside Higher Ed
September 26th, 2014

The University of Chicago has suspended negotiations to renew its agreement to host a Confucius Institute after objecting to an unflattering article that appeared in the Chinese press. The decision follows a petition, signed by more than 100 faculty members this spring, calling for the closure of the institute. The petition raised concerns that in hosting the Chinese government-funded center for research and language teaching, Chicago was ceding control over faculty hiring, course content, and programming to Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing, which is also known as Hanban.
The decision means that the Confucius Institute at Chicago will cease to exist when the current five-year agreement expires this Monday, Sept. 29, although its director, Dali Yang, said that the institute continues to support existing projects.

Salaita Will Give Lecture at Centenary College of Louisiana

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 26th,2014


Steven G. Salaita, the scholar at the center of an academic-freedom controversy that has rocked the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will give a public lecture on Monday at Centenary College of Louisiana, the college announced on Thursday.
Illinois had offered Mr. Salaita a tenured professorship in American Indian studies, but later withdrew it after the scholar attracted scrutiny for a stream of profanity-laced tweets that criticized Israel. Many academics have denounced the university’s treatment of Mr. Salaita, questioning the university’s justification for its actions and saying that it had violated his academic freedom. He has said that he is prepared to take legal action if the university does not reinstate him.

The Job Market Recovery that Never Came

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Vitae
September 26th, 2014



Six years ago this month, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, inaugurating a global recession that decimated nearly every sector of the economy, including higher education.
The “recovery” that began in 2009 has been illusory and often used to deny people benefits and pay under the pretext of “hard times.” Full-time teaching jobs became part-time, income inequality soared to heights unseen since the Gilded Age, and the cost of living rose while wages fell. Those now entrenched in elite positions reap the benefits, while those attempting to simply survive pay ever higher costs – or abandon their fields if they cannot pay to stay.
For academics, in certain respects, this is nothing new. Adjunct positions – contingent, poorly paid, lacking benefits or job security – have risen steadily in number since 1975, while the proportion of positions that are tenure-track has declined.
The academic job market in many fields has always been bad. The rise of contingent labor and loss of job security has been decades in the making. But the post-recession economic landscape is something else.


Six years ago this month, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, inaugurating a global recession that decimated nearly every sector of the economy, including higher education.
The “recovery” that began in 2009 has been illusory and often used to deny people benefits and pay under the pretext of “hard times.” Full-time teaching jobs became part-time, income inequality soared to heights unseen since the Gilded Age, and the cost of living rose while wages fell. Those now entrenched in elite positions reap the benefits, while those attempting to simply survive pay ever higher costs – or abandon their fields if they cannot pay to stay.
For academics, in certain respects, this is nothing new. Adjunct positions – contingent, poorly paid, lacking benefits or job security – have risen steadily in number since 1975, while the proportion of positions that are tenure-track has declined.
The academic job market in many fields has always been bad. The rise of contingent labor and loss of job security has been decades in the making. But the post-recession economic landscape is something else.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/724-the-job-market-recovery-that-never-came#sthash.ESf5PbJo.dpuf

The Man Who Ranks Philosophy Departments Now Rankles Them, Too

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 26th, 2014


Brian Leiter may be a law professor, a philosopher, and the editor of an influential report that ranks universities’ philosophy departments. But when it comes to dealing with people he regards as being out of line, a different feature comes to the fore: "I’m a New Yorker."
Over the past year, for example, the Manhattan native has told one fellow philosopher that she is "a disgrace" who works for "a shit department," has threatened to sue another he dismissed on Twitter as a "sanctimonious arse," and has suggested on one of his three blogs that still another professor should leave the profession "and perhaps find a field where nonsense is permitted."
"I don’t pull punches. I never have," said Mr. Leiter, director of the University of Chicago’s Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values, in an interview on Thursday.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

In the Role of College President, Many Politicians Shed Their Partisanship

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 25th, 2014

The controversy it has caused may be intense, but State Sen. John E. Thrasher’s appointment as president of Florida State University has a very familiar ring to it. Florida State’s Board of Trustees voted on Tuesday to name the Republican lawmaker as president despite the concerns of many faculty members and students, who said he was unqualified to lead the institution and who argued that his appointment smacked of partisan favoritism.
A similar scene played out earlier this year, when Glenn F. McConnell, South Carolina’s lieutenant governor, was named president of the College of Charleston, sparking concerns that his interest in Confederate memorabilia was antithetical to the college’s mission.
Another controversy arose last year, when Janet Napolitano was chosen to lead the University of California system, and some students protested the immigration policies she had enforced as secretary of homeland security. And at Purdue University, faculty members opposed the appointment of Gov. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. as president, saying the research university needed a leader who understood academe.

Campus Police Acquire Military Weapons

New York Times
September 21st, 2014

Should the campus police at the University of Central Florida ever need a modified grenade launcher, one sits waiting in the department’s armory. Retooled to fire tear-gas canisters, the weapon was used several years ago for training purposes, according to Richard Beary, the university’s chief of police. It hasn’t left storage since.
At Central Florida, which has an enrollment of nearly 60,000 and a Division I football team, the device was acquired, a police spokeswoman said, for “security and crowd control.” But the university’s police force isn’t the only one to have come upon a grenade launcher. Hinds Community College — located in western Mississippi, with a student population of 11,000 — had one, too. Campus police officers at Hinds declined to comment. A woman who worked for the department but declined to identify herself said that the launcher had been repurposed to shoot flares but that the college no longer possessed it.
Both institutions received their launchers from the same source: the Department of Defense. At least 124 colleges have acquired equipment from the department through a federal program, known as the 1033 program, that transfers military surplus to law-enforcement agencies across the country, according to records obtained by filing Freedom of Information requests with state governments.

Read more here

Stanford Promises Not to Use Google Money for Privacy Research

Journalism of Public Interest
September 24th, 2014

On Tuesday, one of the academics quoted by ProPublica, James Grimmelmann, backed off of his criticism of Stanford, saying in a blog post that after he read the legal filing and Stanford's response to ProPublica, he believes the grant money from Google sounds like it is "not accompanied by a promise that the work will not touch on a particular subject." He said be believes the legal filing was "unartfully drafted."
Here is the original story:
Stanford University recently declared that it will not use money from Google to fund privacy research at its Center for Internet and Society, according to a legal filing made by the school.
"Since 2013, Google funding is specifically designated not [to] be used for CIS's privacy work," the university said in the court filing, found by ProPublica in documents filed in an unrelated lawsuit.
Stanford's Center for Internet and Society has long been generously funded by Google, but the center's privacy research has proved damaging to the search giant in the past two years. Two years ago a researcher at the center helped uncover Google privacy violations that led to the company paying a record $22.5 million fine.

Why Faculty Searches Take So Long

Inside Higher Ed
September 25th, 2014

Rebecca Schuman did a characteristically smart and funny piece this week on the sheer agony that higher education faculty candidates go through in the job search. (She focused in particular on candidates in the humanities, where the issues seem to be the most pronounced.)  That said, though, it struck me that some of the reasons that faculty searches take so long that are obvious from an administrative perspective may not be obvious from the outside.  So in the spirit of an attempted good-faith answer to a serious question -- and hoping not to be guilty of “mansplaining” -- here goes.  Why do faculty searches take so long?
I’ll clarify here that I’m working from the perspective of a teaching-focused, public institution. Searches at research-intensive places may be very different; I simply don’t know. Any wise and worldly readers who can shed light on that are welcome.

Cooking Up Adjunct Activism

Inside Higher Ed
September 25th, 2014

Adjuncts at Front Range Community College in Colorado are cooking up some activism – recipes and all – with their new project, “The Adjunct Cookbook.” The book contains “food bank-friendly concoctions” intended to shine a light on adjuncts’ working conditions and pay at the college’s four campuses and elsewhere. There’s a section on “'Nobucks’ Coffee Drinks,” for example, and other meal recipes calling for very low-cost ingredients, such as beef scraps and bruised tomatoes. Interspersed are facts about adjunct labor, how colleges spend their money, and names of places and programs where adjuncts can find food and other assistance locally.
“We hope that the book helps [adjuncts] realize they have not failed, but that the system has failed them,” said Caprice Lawless, president of the college’s American Association of University Professors chapter and an adjunct instructor of English who contributed to the book project, in news release. Authors are asking a $7.50 donation for the book, available here. They haven’t copyrighted, they say, because they want their counterparts on other campuses to be able to borrow the model. Andrew Dorsey, president of Front Range, said he hadn't seen the cookbook and therefore couldn't comment. But he said Front Range adjuncts earn from $735 to $1,119 per credit hour, based on experience and other factors, and deliver about 60 percent of instruction.
 
 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why Your Cousin With a Ph.D. Is a Basket Case

Slate
September 24th, 2014

It’s your sister’s wedding, and you and your quiet but nice cousin—he’s doing his Ph.D. in something, maybe history?—are doing your best to get drunk off the watered-down open-bar bourbon. You’re just making polite conversation, so you ask him: “Want to come visit us next Christmas?” Why on earth did his sallow face just cloud over at your kind and generous offer? Because he has no idea where he’ll be living two Christmases from now—he just applied to 30 jobs in 30 far-flung towns, so from a logistical standpoint “next Christmas” might as well be Pluto.
Such is the madness of the academic hiring process. If you have a relative or friend who is an early career academic, chances are you have recently set that poor, damaged soul of hers into an existential death spiral, simply by asking what would ordinarily be a friendly question. For example, with your cousin, pounding booze and scoping bridesmaids, you might follow up: “Well, where do you want to live?” He looks even more miserable, like he just swallowed a scorpion. “Well,” you soldier on, “have you ever thought of moving to [major metropolitan area] and working at [world-renowned institution]? They’re such a big school; they’re sure to have something for someone smart like you.” Now your cousin is beginning to shake. “Why don’t you just send them your résumé?”

Overcoming the Challenges of Contingent Faculty Organizing

Acadame
September 2014

Now is the time for contingent faculty organizing. The drumbeat of publicity in popular and higher education publications means that contingent faculty on your campus know not only that being a college professor is no longer an almost certain path to the middle class, but also that they are not alone. While contingent faculty are culturally middle class or elitist, they are blue collar financially. I get paid roughly what a Boston Public Schools bus driver with modest seniority makes. Contingent faculty are what I call “dirty white collar.” Outrageous loan debt, lack of promotions, and job instability have created class-consciousness and solidarity among these faculty.
Many are shocked by the idea that college faculty are no longer middle class, that there are homeless professors. Parents want to know where the money goes if not to faculty, as direct instructional expenses are usually just 30 percent of the typical institution’s budget. And schools cannot blame contingent faculty for tuition hikes (not that they can plausibly do so with tenure-line faculty either). Now is the time to organize.

No Country for Old Adjuncts

Inside Higher Ed
September 24th, 2014

Many adjuncts wonder why colleges that employ them year after year, giving them good reviews course after course, seem to have no interest in them when tenure-track jobs open up. Several legal court cases suggest that bias against adjuncts may be linked to age discrimination.
"Whether this is a definite trend or not, I don’t know, but there’s been an increase of these cases, and that’s a good thing,” said Maria Maisto, president of the New Faculty Majority, a national adjunct advocacy group. “We know anecdotally that is a problem and we hear about it all the time.”
Last week, the Washington State Supreme Court said that a longtime adjunct instructor of English at Clark College who accused the institution of age discrimination in not selecting her for a tenure-track position had enough of a case for it to proceed to trial. That court’s decision overturned several lower courts’ rulings in favor of Clark, which claimed that Kathryn Scrivener was the lowest-performing of four faculty-backed candidates interviewed for two open positions. Both eventually went to candidates under 40, who were selected by the president and vice president. But Scrivener, who began at the college in 1994 as a part-time adjunct and had been a “temporary” full-time instructor since 1999, said ageism was at play. She was 55 at the time.

Adjuncts at College in Louisiana Get Paychecks After Extra Delay

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 24th, 2014

Adjunct instructors at Delgado Community College, in Louisiana, will no longer have to wait seven weeks to receive their first paychecks of the semester, The Times-Picayune reported.
Adjuncts at Delgado had complainted to the newspaper about the college’s decision to extend their wait for their first paychecks from five weeks to seven, two weeks later than the date listed in their contracts. College officials had blamed the delay on new compliance requirements associated with the Affordable Care Act, though many adjuncts at Delgado questioned that justification.
Delgado later announced that the instructors’ checks would be issued ahead of schedule, with pay deposited into their accounts on Tuesday.

Florida State U. Board Picks Politician as President Despite Widespread Protest

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 24th, 2014

Florida State University’s Board of Trustees voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to name John E. Thrasher, a powerful longtime state lawmaker, as their institution’s next president, defying faculty members and students who had favored other candidates with more-traditional academic backgrounds and who denounced the selection process as tainted by political favoritism.
Some board members, in voicing support at their meeting for Mr. Thrasher, a Republican state senator who was the board’s chairman 10 years ago, expressed hope that he would be able to use his political skills to mend the campus’s divisions over his selection. One such trustee, Joseph Gruters, predicted that Mr. Thrasher would win over faculty members by securing additional state funds to raise their salaries. That way, he said, "everyone will be happy."

New Analysis Shows Problematic Boom In Higher Ed Administrators

Huffington Post - College
February 6th, 2014


The number of non-academic administrative and professional employees at U.S. colleges and universities has more than doubled in the last 25 years, vastly outpacing the growth in the number of students or faculty, according to an analysis of federal figures.
The disproportionate increase in the number of university staffers who neither teach nor conduct research has continued unabated in more recent years, and slowed only slightly since the start of the economic downturn, during which time colleges and universities have contended that a dearth of resources forced them to sharply raise tuition.
In all, from 1987 until 2011-12—the most recent academic year for which comparable figures are available—universities and colleges collectively added 517,636 administrators and professional employees, or an average of 87 every working day, according to the analysis of federal figures, by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting in collaboration with the nonprofit, nonpartisan social-science research group the American Institutes for Research.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

“Alt-Ac” to the Rescue?

Slate Magazine
September 22nd, 2014


When I first heard the term “alt-ac,” I thought of supplementary insurance and spokesducks. It actually stands for “alternative academic” careers, but the comparison wasn’t too far off, really: For new Ph.D.s and those just now limping to the ends of their dissertations, many disciplines just released their first (and “largest”) crop of job ads for open professorships beginning in fall 2015. In a lot of fields, almost all open tenure-track positions for next fall will be advertised in the next few weeks. And this year’s minuscule list shows that if any profession needs supplementary insurance, it’s academia: Future prospects for the profession of professordom have gone from bleak to cadaverous.