Tugging at the Ivy: Acknowledging the Emergence of a Permanent Instructor Class at the American Four-Year Research University

By Ronald J. Tulley.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

There currently exists a situation in the American academy that challenges the integrity of the university and affects all the participants in the collegiate environment—the over-reliance on temporary instructors at the four-year, research university. This labor practice directly concerns students, as it affects the quality of the instruction they receive; professors, as it compromises the veracity of their work (it would not be possible to devote time to research without taking advantage of the instructors); teaching assistants, as it forces them to take on heavy teaching loads because of the lack of full-time personnel available; administrators, as it allows them to ignore a personnel contingent that is crucial to the survival of the university in its current state; parents, as it misleads them into thinking they are “paying for professors” to teach their children; and instructors, as it allows them to be employed for considerably less money (when compared with full-time, tenure-track faculty), little in the way of benefits, no voice at the institution, and no financial or career security. This essay argues that instructors should be fully acknowledged in the academic world through a series of actions aimed at compensatory fairness. If instructors are granted the chance to receive instructor “tenure,” i.e., an annually revolving contract that allows them to have explicit teaching responsibilities and, perhaps, some limited service duties, they would be formally acknowledged by the university as a important contingent of the academic community that while separate and distinct from the tenure-track or tenured professor are nonetheless essential to the fiscal health of the university, the growth and academic development of graduate teaching assistants, and the scholarly pursuits of the traditional research professor (Murphy, 2000).

Keywords: Instructor, Four-Year Research University, Quality of Teaching

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.29-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 523.887KB).

Dr. Ronald J. Tulley

Assistant Professor of English, College of Liberal Arts,, English Department, The University of Findlay, Findlay, Ohio, USA

An Assistant Professor of English at The University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, Ron Tulley teaches The Rhetoric of Urban Spaces, Writing about Cities, Technical Communication, Visual Rhetoric, E-Rhetoric, E-Poetics, Introduction to Style, Project Management and Advanced Topics in Technical Communication, and Advanced Web-Design: Online Help and Usability Testing as well as traditional composition and literature classes. In addition to teaching at The University of Findlay, he has taught at eight other universities and colleges, including Bowling Green State University and Case Western Reserve University (where he is currently finishing his dissertation). His dissertation research focuses on the autobiography in cyberspace. He is particularly interested in how the autobiography is affected by its rhetorical situation, or in the Greek, Kairos. Additionally, his research examines how weblogged autobiographies have evolved from what was once a limited “conversation” between the author and her audience, a.k.a., what the Greeks referred to as Dialektos or dialectic, and have expanded to include exchanges that may eventually become a part of the “original” autobiography through hyperlinking, downloading, etc. Professor Tulley has earned degrees in English, History, Business, Technical Communication and Education from The University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University, and Bowling Green State University.

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