Books to Read on the Profession

Off-Track Profs: Nontenured Teachers in Higher Education is in the mail to me. A review of it is at Inside Higher Ed.

Leaders of those institutions are frequently unaware of the role played by adjuncts or how they have come to make up a larger share of the teaching force. The causes for this shift — while related to money — go far beyond the savings from hiring off the tenure track, and the blame may need to be shared by senior professors and graduate student unions. At the most celebrated institutions of higher education in the United States, the teaching quality of the adjuncts is many times better than that of those on the tenure tack.

While the book is consistent with many of the recent studies of adjuncts in documenting their growing use and many cases of abuse, the tone is notably different, as are some conclusions. While the book sees the treatment of adjuncts as a real issue both for the adjuncts and their institutions, it suggests that there is much blame to share — and that this situation did not arise from the actions of administrators looking to cut costs. And while much of the research about adjuncts has come from unions or groups sympathetic to unions, this book is decidedly not.

Write to the Top! How to Become a Prolific Academic by W. Brad Johnson and Carol A. Mullen looks interesting. I don’t know if I will order it or not. Has anyone else read it?

Paul Silvia, whose book How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing I read last week, said of Johnson and Mullen’s book:

Johnson and Mullen recommend making a writing schedule and protecting writing time dogmatically; Boice and I would agree. But they also recommend writing in unexpected free time; cancelling an appointment if you are writing “in the zone”; writing during evenings, weekends, and holidays; and even taking a “writing vacation,” which is a vacation of writing, not the more typical and desirable vacation from writing.

The whole review is interesting in itself. Silvia gives a bibliography of major books in the field.

Boice, R. (1990). Professors as writers: A self-help guide to productive writing. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.
Kendall-Tackett, K. (2007). How to write for a general audience: A guide for academics who want to share their knowledge with the world and have fun doing it. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Kitchin, R., & Fuller, D. (2005). The academic’s guide to publishing. London: Sage.
Silvia, P. J. (2007). How to write a lot: A practical guide to productive academic writing. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

I would add Germano’s book Getting It Published which I also read last week. It wasn’t terribly helpful for me, but I am not working on a book. It does have some interesting information though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge