Author Topic: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community  (Read 11257 times)

Ruralguy

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2019, 02:15:03 PM »
I think you have a point there....

polly_mer

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2019, 06:50:47 AM »
If I think of anything brilliant or what's been missing, I may pitch in. Generally I see a troubled future for higher ed, and that's my general mood. i don't see it being worked on productively here, not that forumites are lacking, but largely because structural defects cultivate these problems.

I agree about the structural defects.  However, I would like to see more examples of the effects of the structural defects come up as a normal part of discussion, because you're right that it's too easy to overlook some aspects.  A useful contribution could include what is being overlooked to provide additional views of the same situation with more details that aren't widely mentioned on these fora. 

We have chairs, deans, and even higher level folks here.  What do they need to know as a recurring set of details that might help them make different choices?  For example, reminders that a shared office with individual lockers helps improve teaching/learning conditions with minimal investment might change some minds.  Pointing out how much better a course is with enough time to prep so having a longer-term contract for recurring courses is to everyone's benefit might help more people advocate for that change to HR practices.

I remember years ago a forumite whose situation appeared to be:

For many of us, a part-time academic job is one income stream among several.  A part-time union helps with stability for longer-term contracts as well as ensuring we're not at the mercy of one individual chair's decision.  This is a pretty good life, although it would be nice to get regular raises in the academic job.

Has the situation on the ground changed enough that one income stream among several is harder to maintain a middle-class lifestyle?  The research from about 10 years ago indicated many part-time faculty preferred to be part-time with additional stability like compensation for cancelled sections, 3-5 year contracts instead of quarter/term, and possibly pro-rated service/professional development requirements.

I haven't seen any formal reports, but the impression I get from my reading is more people are making the trade-offs to be part-time to stay in academia and the number of people willing to take part-time work has increased much faster than the number of part-time slots, even while the push has become to consolidate part-time positions into better paid full-time positions with benefits.  That seems like it would put a lot of pressure on people who had good, stable-enough positions and now that stability is undermined because someone sees a way to save a few more pennies in the teaching budget.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 07:00:35 AM by polly_mer »
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ex_mo

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #32 on: August 30, 2019, 07:33:41 AM »
Just wanted to add to a prior comment about the state of academic social media, particularly among Kids These DaysTM:

I am an elder Millenial. I got my first MySpace account in graduate school and started with message boards (this one and another one) around that same time. I am also a member of several academically-focused Facebook groups. What's telling, though, is that those groups are more narrow and focused on one slice of academia. For example, one group I'm in is for academic mothers, and while the fields of the some-12,000 members are very diverse, our discussion is often less about academia per se and more about the intersection of academia and parenthood. I'm also in a few groups related to my discipline.

This is the only online community I know of that tries to be about the entire academic enterprise.

Hibush

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2019, 03:48:05 AM »
Here is an update on membership and activity. It looks like the site is reasonably active and continues to recruit active new members.

We currently have 731 members of whom 380 have not posted, 90 have posted once (to activate mostly), 261 have multiple posts.
Of the last 50 people to register (about 3 weeks), 35 have not posted, 6 have posted once, 9 have multiple posts.
We continue to get two or three registrations a day.

There have been almost 10,000 posts, and we have peaked at 97 people online and average 44 unique visitors per day.

A hundreds post per day seems to feel active, where 50 during the summer felt a little quiet.

(These numbers are from the member list. The Forum History table on the stats page claims 2016 new members, but that is clearly incorrect, or reflects a whole lot of rejected signups. The daily-activity table shows 15-10 new members per day but only a few end up on the member list.)

The Fora appear to have a good future. I'm looking forward to more of the lurkers piping up.

lsmrlnds

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2019, 04:51:37 AM »
Lurker here (as on the other other forum)

I'm a regular teacher active on regular teacher forums but I'm thinking about moving to higher ed. I found the original board via a google search and read many a thread right before the transition.  I lurk because I want to learn as much as I can before deciding whether to make the switch. Plus, since I'm not in higher education I don't have much to add. (I do have a lot to learn!)

And back to lurking I go.

polly_mer

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2019, 05:09:36 AM »
(These numbers are from the member list. The Forum History table on the stats page claims 2016 new members, but that is clearly incorrect, or reflects a whole lot of rejected signups. The daily-activity table shows 15-10 new members per day but only a few end up on the member list.)

We reject a lot of spammers/spambots either at registration or at first post.
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Hibush

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #36 on: September 20, 2019, 06:13:53 AM »
(These numbers are from the member list. The Forum History table on the stats page claims 2016 new members, but that is clearly incorrect, or reflects a whole lot of rejected signups. The daily-activity table shows 15-10 new members per day but only a few end up on the member list.)

We reject a lot of spammers/spambots either at registration or at first post.

Thank you for doing that. It is clearly quite a bit of work to keep up with that flood.

ciao_yall

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2019, 06:35:56 AM »
Lurker here (as on the other other forum)

I'm a regular teacher active on regular teacher forums but I'm thinking about moving to higher ed. I found the original board via a google search and read many a thread right before the transition.  I lurk because I want to learn as much as I can before deciding whether to make the switch. Plus, since I'm not in higher education I don't have much to add. (I do have a lot to learn!)

And back to lurking I go.

Regular meaning K-12? What grade?

fast_and_bulbous

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2019, 07:33:44 AM »
I would say the forum is pretty healthy, at least as healthy as it was before we made the switch from CHE. I'd personally like to see more diversity, as it's overwhelmingly North American focused, but then again so was CHE, so that makes sense. I do tire of the same dead horses being repeatedly being beaten by the same people but overall I think it continues to be a valuable resource for some people in higher ed looking for a certain kind of advice/camaraderie. I am glad we made the transition over here, and modernized the software - one of my main beefs with the old site.

Regarding spam, I'd say I nuke on average 10-20 bot accounts a day. These are people/programs that register but are never approved. There are some rather obvious signs that someone is a bot and thus far I have seen no good-faith subscribers get nuked - were that to happen, they could post in the one forum that doesn't require a subscription to participate (Help & Questions) in which case we'd rectify the situation. These accounts that are being squashed upfront are the accounts that used to carpet bomb the old site with witch doctor aphrodisiac spam and the like. I don't miss that, although I did learn that there are people in the world who find witch doctors to be a solution to their problems, which is something I would not have known otherwise.
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Parasaurolophus

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2019, 10:24:54 AM »
I also squash about 10-15 bots and spammers a day. It's surprising how many there are.
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mamselle

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #40 on: September 20, 2019, 04:17:10 PM »
I'm imagining a mosquito whisk slapping away at 'em.

Thanks for all you do!

M.
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mahagonny

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #41 on: September 20, 2019, 04:42:32 PM »
I would say the forum is pretty healthy, at least as healthy as it was before we made the switch from CHE. I'd personally like to see more diversity, as it's overwhelmingly North American focused, but then again so was CHE, so that makes sense. I do tire of the same dead horses being repeatedly being beaten by the same people but overall I think it continues to be a valuable resource for some people in higher ed looking for a certain kind of advice/camaraderie. I am glad we made the transition over here, and modernized the software - one of my main beefs with the old site.


I would tire of the 'Colleges in Dire Financial Straits' if I didn't skip over it. Of course, it's news that should be reported. But a lot of people made their nest egg in the mean time. My heart doesn't bleed too much. But then as you know I'm not the type of academic who has ever had a so-defined long term relationship with or commitment from any particular college. A college closes; you need to find another one. I do that with supermarkets.
Of course, when the professor sees one college or another as his home,  if that home goes away, it's a big deal.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 05:13:44 PM by mahagonny »

lsmrlnds

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2019, 05:26:28 AM »

Regular meaning K-12? What grade?

High school (9-12) special education =)

mamselle

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #43 on: September 28, 2019, 12:40:39 PM »
There are starting to be Ed programs in colleges I'm aware of for which your background would be useful.

I think Lesley University started one awhile ago; last I heard, it was doing decently.

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

polly_mer

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #44 on: September 29, 2019, 08:46:08 AM »
A college closes; you need to find another one. I do that with supermarkets.

The problem that worries many of us is there won't be the possibility to easily find another one.  As someone who has had to drive 100 miles round trip to the grocery store, I am much less cavalier about trends that eliminate entire sectors so that what remains are several equally hugely expensive options and a couple very inadequate, really cheap options where you still aren't getting good value for the money.

The higher ed landscape in New England and the Midwest will look very different in 10 years with far fewer garden-variety jobs for normal people.  The institutions that stay open are likely to benefit from an even larger oversupply of qualified faculty who are willing to work for fewer benefits and lower wages just to stay as academics.  The people who will feel that pinch the most are those who are already adjuncts or otherwise working for low pay and minimal benefits.
Do whatever you want--I'm just the background dancer in your show!