The Untapped Doctoral Majority of Potential Public Musicologists (paper)

Read my latest conference paper.

Advertisements

The Past, Present and Future of Public Musicology

At the Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey, I just presented “The Untapped Doctoral Majority of Potential Public Musicologists” at a conference about the Past, Present, and Future of #PublicMusicology. The paper went fine, and a number of people thanked me for being honest about my experiences and thoughts re musicology and my attempts at doing public music history & culture independently.

From other presentations and discussions, I also have some new ideas about things I can try in order to proceed, such as arranging for visiting scholar (though unpaid) status at a university, looking into more-mainstream presses as venues for my future books, and submitting things to a just-launched web-based forum for short articles (The Avid Listener; there is some money for them) meant for students and others.

I saw people I knew in earlier periods (up to fifteen years ago, in one case), met a number of people I knew of but hadn’t met before, and got to know some others for the first time.

new book project: “Experiencing Peter Gabriel: A Listener’s Companion”

My proposal for “Experiencing Peter Gabriel: A Listener’s Companion” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) follows hot on the heels of “Experiencing Rush: A Listener’s Companion” (2014). I’ve also proposed several related papers (on Gabriel’s less mainstream music, including early Genesis) for some popular music conferences in 2015. In addition, I have a paper accepted about the untapped doctoral majority of potential public musicologists for a conference in Princeton, NJ on January 31, 2015.

Discussion of “Class Struggle” (about part-time university instructors)

Re the CBC’s Most university undergrads now taught by poorly paid part-timers (includes an embedded player of the radio documentary):

Having a large part-time workforce of adjunct instructors is not an unfortunate consequence of under-funding universities.  It is a planned consequence of higher education trying to sustain too many programs, taking in too many students, and having way more non-faculty employees (administrators, etc.) than it has tenure-track and tenured faculty members.  Pat Rogers (of Wilfrid Laurier University) and Ken Coates (of the University of Saskatchewan, formerly of the University of Waterloo) have basically given up on higher education actually being for education.  “Saving money” for student residence climbing walls and whirlpools is now the priority, even though money is not actually saved, because of hiring a new administrator for every little thing.

The “statistic” about an adjunct (a.k.a., contingent, sessional, etc.) instructor making $28,000 to $45,000 a year for teaching the same number of courses (four) as a faculty member making $80,000-$150,000 is misleading.  Most adjunct faculty do not teach full-time:  I typically made around $16,500 for three courses per year.  Even as a Visiting Assistant Professor, I only made $22,000 for four courses.  Maybe things are different in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math), but adjunct instructors and faculty members in most disciplines simply do not make the kind of money indicated.  Also, numerous Ph.D.s eventually leave academia and become things like school bus drivers, real estate agents, yoga instructors, and welfare recipients.  Some of us also publish books and articles, present papers at academic conferences, and so on, but none of that provides a living wage.  Writing usually works out to less than minimum wage (not to mention that it’s only a part-time venture), and, in fact, presenting at conferences costs money.  Usually, it’s just faculty members who can get conference travel funds.

Most adjunct instructors continue to hold out hope for landing permanent academic positions, and they thus resist saying much about their circumstances of low pay, limited or no office use, no benefits, no pensions, and so on.  Conversely, most tenured and tenure-track professors won’t go on record on this issue, either, because they would almost invariably appear to be unsympathetic.  So, documentaries such as this one end up having to interview administrators, even though the over-hiring and over-prioritizing of them is one of the main problems in higher education today.  If you don’t believe that this is an issue, see also the Huffington Post’s New Analysis Shows Problematic Boom In Higher Ed Administrators.