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Wes Modes
I’ve been asked to repost this as a thread. So here goes... Chronicles of a higher Ed adjunct in the COVID-19 era
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
So, every fucking morning I get up early to stare at a screen full of little black boxes with white names to teach my classes.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
All of the things I love about being a university educator no longer apply. No human connection, no emotional feedback, and none of the performative aspects of my job that I like.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
Instead I stare at a screen 10 hours some days looking at a grid of names. Students generally don’t turn the camera on because they are in bed or eating dinner or completely absent from the room.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
About half the time when I call on students they don’t respond because they’re only half paying attention or in some cases have long left the room and kept there zoom running
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
As a university adjunct I get paid about $500 for each class which is so little as to almost be insulting.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
As the Covid crisis drags on and students are exhausted, the number of students who are attending my lecture live slowly drops, despite consistently hearing from students that I am a dynamic and entertaining teacher. They are just tired.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
And even though everything in the Zoom University takes nearly twice as long, recording lectures, editing, transcoding, posting, long faculty meetings, and responding to a constant barrage of anxious student emails, chats, and zoom meetings, there is no increase in compensation
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
So already exploited and underpaid adjunct faculty are being asked to do even more, with nothing but sweetly worded administrative emails in return.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
We were given a week to rejigger our classes so they worked in an online modality, and many faculty were given even less time. No additional pay for the additional work, natch.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
Now they are telling us to prepare for fall to be completely online as well. I support social distancing and SAP protocols, but it is hard not to suspect that the university sees this as an opportunity.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
How much can the University save if they no longer have to pay for buildings, classrooms, maintenance, and utilities? Like the gig economy, all of the burden and risk is placed on teaching faculty.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
And now suddenly scheduling classrooms is no longer the limiting reagent for offering classes at the University. COVID-19 is a win for the education industrial complex.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
What was already a nasty neoliberal trend in university education, increasing adjunct faculty, decreasing tenure, Focus on research and reputation versus undergrad education, and gigification, intensifies in the pandemic era.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
I have been associated with UC Santa Cruz for 32 years, as an undergrad, as staff, as a graduate student, and now as faculty.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
I would discourage my children from going there. It is not possible to get the awesome undergraduate education I received when I went there decades ago.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
Overcrowded classrooms, underpaid adjunct instructors, graduate teaching assistants retaliated against for striking for a living wage, a radical curriculum that has devolved to an assembly line rush to graduate, soaring costs and scarce housing and declining services,...
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Wes Modes May 7
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...the loss of landmark fields of study, and a prioritization of science research, growth, and impressive buildings has convinced me that UCSC has sold its soul and its much touted mission as “the original authority on questioning authority” to Silicon Valley and big business.
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
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Wes Modes May 7
Replying to @WModes
And this is just one university in a huge system in a ginormous industry cranking out assembly line degrees and making young people take on crippling student debt, part of a larger capitalist system that socializes the risk and privatizes the profit.
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