I don't mean to detract from Andrew's much more interesting post on Lady Gaga (see below), but I wanted to stir things up a bit.
A brief bit of background: The MLA is currently circulating a resolution to all of its members for commentary. This resolution essentially argues that tenure should be available to all university professors--full and part time. As I'm sure you're all aware, there is a very large mass of part time/"adjunct" professors here at GWU (and elsewhere). In fact, yours truly is one of them.
As I was reading through these comments, I was taken aback by the one that I've quoted, in part, below. The comment is in support of the resolution, but I was struck by some of the reasons why. Here are the reasons that struck me:
"Part-time employees, although not necessarily expected to produce scholarship, are nonetheless an integral part of a department's labor force. They often have more time to devote to students and are fundamental to the development of introductory courses that prepare students for upper-level courses taught by tenured faculty. Furthermore, they are routinely subjected to harsher criticism (and lower scores on evaluative materials) because they teach required courses to non-majors who resent them (for example, non-English majors in a composition course)."
I'm curious--sincerely curious--about your reactions to these statements, particularly the closing ones about non-majors taking courses taught by adjunct professors. I guess what I'm asking is this: What is it like taking a course like ours--an intro level lit course--that is required for English majors but is also available for Gen Ed credit? In cases like these, do you find that being a "non-major" in a particular department is a disadvantage?
Again, I'm not asking you to weigh in on me, our course, or other specific professors (and specific courses). You certainly have plenty of time to reflect on our class--here and elsewhere. I think I'm just interested in hearing about your experiences are as students in the contemporary university. Feel free to weigh in below. And no, none of this will impact your final grades ;-)