Well, it seems that our erstwhile Conservative Crusader of North Louisiana, LSUS associate professor of political science Jeff Sadow, has weighed in on the Bob Mann/Rolfe McCollister story, albeit in an offhanded way. Since most of my readers the last couple of days have been coming to me courtesy of Mann’s Twitter and Facebook feeds, you don’t need to know the full recap, other than that Mr. McCollister, an LSU Board member who once upon a time said that a Democrat governor should be arrested for proposing higher education budget cuts but now thinks that the Republican who has engineered the almost complete defunding of higher education should be let off the hook, issued a veiled threat to Mann for calling out McCollister’s apparent hypocrisy.
Now since Conservative Crusaders can’t just weigh in in one part of a debate but have to justify the entire conservative agenda in the process (the only difference between folks like these and the narrator in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is that they quite like the stench of the dead albatrosses they wear), Sadow uses this opportunity not just to critique Mann for being a high paid, politically connected, do nothing professor, but also to launch into a cost benefit analysis comparing high profile professors like Mann (who might, hmm, recruit a few students to the institution based on their presence, but that’s not factored in) and low paid nobodies (like Sadow would be if it weren’t for the Hayride) who crank out grades for more students.
(BTW, that’s one of the reasons I do what I do… I’m what’s called an “alt ac” because I can make more money as a mid-career administrative professional than I would as a low paid, entry-level nobody–or worse, adjunct–in my academic discipline.)
While I don’t believe that Sadow is necessarily a mouthpiece for Jindal, he does reflect the beliefs of the part of the political spectrum that Jindal has hitched his wagon to. So in his blog advocating the entire reorganization of higher education so that Mann would no longer have any educational or economic value, Sadow confirms that:
–the solution to a weak, defunded higher education system is to defund us some more, which will somehow make us more nimble (terms like “sink or swim” makes higher ed sound more like an experiment in social Darwinism than something that has any intrinsic social value);
–that “supplicants must petition to access” higher education, which is exactly one of the main themes of my blog and which the conservative agenda brought about courtesy of GRAD Act and the admission criteria which keeps more students out of college than in college;
–that these supplicants should fund most of the cost of their education like they do in Oregon–so it must be OK then that most students won’t be able to afford college anymore as well;
–that higher education should adopt the model that online for-profits do, even though that model has crashed and burned in the last few years since they could no longer arbitrarily gouge huge numbers of students who had a difficult time making it through the first weeks of a semester, much less through a degree program, and burn through all their federal financial aid eligibility in the process;
–oh, higher ed shouldn’t just be mostly paid for by students but be completely privatized (that’s about half way through);
–and finally, tenure should be abolished.
So, if that is the case, and a faculty member’s worth is based on how many students they teach, plus they are being paid 100% by those students, shouldn’t that faculty member’s contribution to those students’ education (which in a good capitalistic society they should expect good value for that good money they are paying) be worth what they are actually paying? So, what do students think of a low paid political science professor (assistant, actually) at a regional university? He might be worth it to the university because he teaches loads of sections and sometimes has the chance to get something published, hopefully in a peer reviewed journal and not always as a Hayride hack. But if students are paying for it, well, it better be good because it’s sink or swim and all. You have to compete.
Fortunately, there is a way that we can assess how students value their instructors, in an open, free market fashion of course.
Lets see how Sadow fares in the free and open market, where his future at the institution would be based upon how he performs and he could be terminated for cause at any time, shall we?
First, LSUS’s overall RMP rating is reasonably good… not great, but a 3.6 on a 5-point scale is not horrible, either. The top rated LSUS professors get 5.0 ratings or close to it, so at least from a student perspective those are great professors and should be kept, since of course students are paying 100% of their salaries in this new universe.
In fact, most of LSUS’s professors are rated pretty well… most are in the high 3s through mid-4s.
But…what’s this? What’s with the red frowning kitty by Prof. Sadow’s name?
With an overall quality rating of a 2.3 (much lower than most of his peers at LSUS), and reviews like these:
This teacher was the worst teacher I have had. Sarcasm. I work hard for good grades & this is my first C. Essays were not from book but from his own political views. I will NOT take a class by him again. No photo of him listed in online course. That’s because he does not want to be identified. Other reviews are similar to mine.
He is the worst teacher by far I have ever taken. He doesn’t deserve to teach. He’s a sarcastic person. Who believes he is the best teacher in the world. His political views are ridiculous. I suggest no one takes his class if you don’t want your gpa to drop . I took his class online, exams are not relative to the book but on how he wants us
Clearly the worst professor at LSU-S. He is a boring dolt. All he cares about is his stupid blog. He indoctrinates students. He does not teach. Has a victim complex. In love with Gov. Jindal. Dud has a man crush. He destroyed the Poli Sci major at LSU-S and now they’re ending it.
Wait… isn’t this bias, or a conflict of interest, or something? Isn’t this what Bob Mann was accused of, sort of?
Well, Prof. Sadow, you better be glad that you have tenure. In your own universe, you might be terminated with cause, since the students who would be paying your salary would be able to demand your ouster.
And that is why you have tenure. You have the academic freedom to be a boring dolt and not be fired for it.
By the way, I don’t have that same freedom. I can be fired with cause. Which is why I am anonymous.
To be fair, although I am not tenured faculty, I do teach on occasion, and I too am in Rate My Professors.