Should English Profs Publish?

Last year in Revising Research, on Inside HigherEd, by Kevin Kiley, reviewed Literary Research by Mark Bauerlein, offering a short synopsis of the study and responses from MLA. (Yes, sometimes it takes me that long to get around to stuff.)

Bauerlein argued that the way universities structure the workload of faculty members who teach and do research about literature is inefficient. Because faculty members spend so much time writing papers and books, and because so few of those pieces are cited by other literature scholars, Bauerlein argues that universities would be better suited by employing literary researchers in different pursuits.

Bauerlein reached his conclusion by examining the English departments at four public universities: the University of Georgia, State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of Vermont, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He compared the amount each department spent on research — which he estimated to be one-third of each faculty member’s salary — and compared that with the number of papers and books the department produced, and how commonly those works were cited.

I think it is interesting that he chose 1/3 of their pay as being towards research.

I’m at an SLAC and I don’t think any of our salary (or release) is for writing. We need to write and they want us to publish, but they don’t encourage that with money, nor do they pay a lot for conferences.

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