9.458 fate, young scholars, & Humanist

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Sun, 14 Jan 1996 18:54:05 -0500 (EST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 458.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)

[1] From: Willard McCarty <mccarty@phoenix.princeton.edu> (25)
Subject: what can be done

[2] From: "Malcolm Hayward, English, IUP, Indiana PA 15705" (26)
Subject: Re: 9.452 the fate of young scholars

[3] From: Mark Williams <wilm@calvin.edu> (18)
Subject: Re: 9.452 the fate of young scholars

Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 20:01:29 -0500
From: Willard McCarty <mccarty@phoenix.princeton.edu>
Subject: what can be done

I think that we need to turn our energies (though not our awareness) from
what young scholars face and have had to do into a vigorous effort to assist
in whatever way we can. I recall the original motivation behind the founding
of Humanist: aggressively to better the condition of those who, for whatever
reason, were shunted aside from an academic career into computing-support
positions. Had Humanist continued along that original, and very political
path, I think it would have died an early death of exhaustion and
frustration. As it happened, the membership wanted something else -- we
wanted to talk about the ideas involved with and stirred up by computing and
to exchange information, not to inconvenience the mighty with a virtual
sit-in. It still seems to me that our strength lies in the realm of ideas
and information, though this may appear to be thin comfort to those whose
energies are squandered merely on making a living -- and who, in these days,
must count themselves lucky to have even that. As editor of Humanist, I
cannot rid myself of the strong sense that our forum can and should be doing
something about connecting the work that needs doing with those who might
welcome the chance to be involved in an intellectual world, if only in
evenings and on weekends.

So, at the increasing risk of annoying you with my repeated hammering, let
me ask again for you to think about what could be done. Perhaps some young
and (mis-)employed scholars would care to say whether they would in fact
make use of an intellectual matchmaking service?

Stubbornly yours,


Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996 11:19:14 -0500 (EST)
From: "Malcolm Hayward, English, IUP, Indiana PA 15705"
Subject: Re: 9.452 the fate of young scholars

I am glad Bob O'Hara took up the gauntlet; I'd stick by my
inititial statement (are there enough good people to fill
the jobs offered?) but I fully concur with his point: are
there "enough really good human beings among the ranks of
senior faculty"? I don't think so either. But as to his
point on cutting "senior faculty salaries 25% across the
board"? Despite the fact that this is not likely to happen,
consider this: I took my first teaching job in 1971. With
inflation factored in, I am now making just a little more
now than the salary I started at--this after two promotions,
a good union contract, nice raises in the 1970s, and so on.
24 years in the profession, driving a 12 year old car, and
about where I started (in 1971 dollars). That 25% cut would
take me _below_ my starting salary. I am not complaining
(much) and Pamela Cohen would say (rightly), I imagine,
"at least you _have_ a salary." Her point about the state
of parttimers is crucial: jobs have disappeared because of
the System's reliance on contracting part time workers,
in education just as in almost every other segment of our
economy. We're graduating in this country some 1300-1400

Phds in literature and related fields each year. There are
some 3,000 institutions of higher ed; they _should_ be able
to absorb much of our production of your teacher/scholars,
were position opened as regular, full-time teaching postions,
even without savaging the ranks of senior faculty (no matter
how much they do need and deserve to be savaged).
Malcolm Hayward

Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996 12:33:42 -0500 (EST)
From: Mark Williams <wilm@calvin.edu>
Subject: Re: 9.452 the fate of young scholars

Dr. O'Hara's comments and suggestions remind me of some in the

William Willimon and Thomas Naylor, _The Abandoned Generation_ (Eerdmans,

a pretty provocative book. I believe they have correctly identified many
of the problems that afflict higher education, though they do not
address the problems faced by younger scholars who are in the job hunt or
living the gypsy scholar life, and though (in my opinion) their solutions
are a bit on the simplistic side. Willimon is the dean of Duke chapel
and Naylor is an emeritus professor of economics at Duke, so maybe what
they say has more to do with Duke than any other institution.

Best wishes to all who are hunting for meaningful jobs.

Mark Williams Internet: WILM@calvin.edu
Classics Department Voice: (616) 957-6293
Calvin College Fax: (616) 957-8551
Grand Rapids, MI
USA 49546

"Ideo nobis non subrepat superbia, quasi pro nostris meritis
aliquid acceperimus, dum filii irae fuimus." -Alcuin