By Linda Winsh-Bolard
The citizens, of all US of A states, are conned every year into a belief that supporting education by paying more for it every year, will provide their kids with opportunities in life.
In reality, it provides small number of "fiends" with excellent salaries, benefits and pensions paid for by taxpayers who have no say in how their money is spend. University administration, fully supported by government, will never change this as both groups have number of family, friends and supporters in need of excellent jobs with high pay and little work.
Perhaps it is time to change all this.
Because something smell like a con. I had this funny feeling when I was filling out the online application form for one of the department of University ofConnecticut. Funny as the system kept conking on me.
When I was done, the system bested me for ever: it informed me that my application went to the Finance Department. No, I cried, wrong department. I tried the computer, the web master, the finance and the appropriate department secretaries to fix this.
Months later I received a short notice from the Finance Department that my application was denied. On January 14, 2011, Chinmoy Ghosh, Professor and Head Department of Finance sent me this e-mail:
Thank you for your interest in a position with the Department of Finance. We had a very large number of exceptionally qualified applicants. Despite your excellent record, we have filled our recent vacancy with someone else. We will not be considering any further applicants at this time. I wish you much success in your future endeavors.
I did not doubt they had many applicants. I just was not one of them. I have an excellent record in a very different discipline. How come Ms. Ghosh did not notice this? Or her secretary did not pass the application on? Call me suspicious, but this was odd. I send a question to this effect.
And received the following: Dear Applicant (looking up my name in the e-mail was unworthy the secretary's time):Your email was forwarded to me for responding. Thank you for letting us know that your application was submitted in error for the Finance position.
Please know that our faculty search committee works diligently at reading each and every application that is submitted on line for all searches to determine eligibility of potential candidates for our positions. While we have received over 100 applications for this search, we have no way of knowing if an application is received by error or not, and feel it is our duty to notify all applicants of the status of the search (translates: we send nameless templates because we really do not give the proverbial as you are not one of the superior us) . We can only assume when one is sent in error, but do not feel it is necessary to single these out and find it appropriate to respond to all ineligible applicants in the same manner.
University of Connecticut
Department of Finance
2100 Hillside Road
Storrs, CT 06269
Wow. What Ms. workman actually said was: we have a lousy computer system that just cost you a job but as you do not have corporate or political backing we don't care. Just don't bother us.
Any of us. We hope you get this. Bye, bye birdie.
Ms. Ghosh no longer considered me worthy of her attention, naturally, I offered no grant money to her.
The first line on that application is the name of the department one applies for. A job number follows. Neither was Ms. Ghosh's department. Had anybody opened my application, they would have known.
Had either Ms. Ghosh or Ms. Workman done even a tiny part of their job, like reading the applications sent to them, they would have known mine got to them by a computer mistake. Had they had a shred of human decency or ethics, something one should expect in academia, they would have passed the application on.
They did not.
They did not because they never saw it. Just as they never saw or read majority of the applications. As a source within the academia, and my own experience confirms ( I sat on committees, I was the one that read all the application. No one else bothered), the secretary puts up front two types of applications: those of people known to the tenured faculty and those with recommendations/contacts from prominent politicians and corporations. The others are put aside. The faculty fight out for their favorites.
The applicants' merit is irrelevant to the process.
This is not only Connecticut problem. I have a friend who chairs hiring committee in California. More than once, she warned that her department might get into trouble for interviewing only those applicants known to them personally, sometimes plus one. She refused to vote for people who did not fulfill the basic application requirements only to see them hired. She sat there while applicants were refused because they were "too ambitious"- worked in their field with success. We both sat through times when one faculty member upended the whole process by refusing the candidate who was voted in and complained to the Dean to have the process reversed. Successfully.
In Washington State candidates disliked by minority of the departments members, who were accepted by majority of vote, get fired the first year in. They get evaluated after their first quarter(the first year is hardest everywhere but in WA the students know they get anybody fired and love the power). And then in the second. And third, as long as somebody in power dislikes them. Until they can be fired. The evaluators, the ones who initiate the process and dislike the candidate, actively encourage criticism by students (some students always hate the professor) and discourage praise as not necessary. Then they present their "findings" as negative. UW prefers to settle out of court with those who cannot be beaten into submission.In 2004-6 Central Washingotn University settled three cases in one department.
The process is absolutely shielded from public eye. The records are, frankly, non-existent, the votes are secret and nobody oversees the hiring procedure. For the small number of self protecting chums this is a golden egg.
For the taxpayers, this is funds down the proverbial hole eaten up by corrupt group of comrades in arms.
A very large bit of money. Over 30%of state budget in each state.
I contacted the Governor's Office, the Higher Education Commission, the Secretary of State and the University of Connecticut, same for Washington State and California. I added a Congressman for New York. I have received no answer. No explanation. Certainly no apology.
I am not a tenured faculty, politician or corporate friend. Hence I am not worthy of bother.
You might consider what exactly are your kids learning from people whose only interest is self interest. You might also ask why you should pay for their well lined nests twice; once through tuition, second through taxes.
Could the politicians and administrators not park their misfits into the corporate world?
When I thought about teaching, I did so because I wanted to live in honest, ethical, intellectually challenging environment. I was willing to have less money (faculty is underpaid but administrators, such as Ms. Ghosh, and tenured members on last leg are overpaid; they eat up about 75% of university budget) to have that and to pass the continuation of intellectual pursuit on. None of this is happening in current academia.
The only pursuit is that of money, which passes into administrative "cost", and power of individuals unable to teach their supposed discipline because they do not participate in that discipline for years. For students, practical skills are hard to get because most of the tenured faculty is hopelessly out of date and the skilled part timers, who get no benefits and are paid less than a plumber, leave or are fired to save money. Intellectual challenge is none-existent as students are pushed to graduate to "get the numbers up" and get more state funding, while controversy is simply forbidden. Academia became one of the useless, self perpetuating monsters of greed, backstabbing and cover up on par with BP. That is not what we want, is it?