Being an administrator is hard work, but it can be done with grace, style, and humor…
In the Middle
In This Issue
It is important for midcareer faculty members to be open to change—to shifts in professional interests and projects, to changes in teaching, to different affiliations…
Language and literature departments interested in creating new majors would be well advised to consider the changing landscape of higher education, in which niche programs are increasing in number.
Founded in 2015, the MLA’s Working Group on K–16 Alliances, which I was an original member of, sought to connect the K–12 and postsecondary educational communities in order to build support for teaching modern languages, writing, and literature at all levels. Bridging the gap between K–12 and postsecondary humanities education is a large and daunting task, but it can be done.
No one is entirely sure what happens to academics at midcareer, but most would agree they don’t like it. Jeffrey J. Selingo describes it as academe’s “mid-life crisis.” Anastasia Salter compares it to the “let down” that comes after training for a marathon. She calls the many recent testimonials about midcareer dissatisfaction a new genre of academic writing.
It may seem counterintuitive, but there is a connection between the administrative university and its push toward hiring contingent labor, now approximately seventy percent of college instructors (Betensky), and the status of a damaged species: associate professors. Long forgotten, these tenured professors find themselves burdened with extensive service and administrative tasks and with little guidance and few incentives to seek promotion.