Get Together to Write

In supporting one another’s scholarship, these new faculty learned about more than writing and publishing.

Scholarly Service and the Scholarship of Service

Your committee work can be more rewarding for you and the institution when you apply the principles of research.

From the Guest Editor: Professing Service: Charging the Humanities

“It’s a labor of love.” We say these words sneeringly, wryly, or utterly unselfconsciously when we explain how and why we undertake service to the profession. This work usually isn’t required by our departments and institutions, garners little recognition, and rarely results in promotions or raises. And yet, time and again, we enter into tasks that advance disciplinary goals as well as the goals of “the profession” in its most capacious definition.

Shaping the Humanities through Sustainable Service

Funny thing about pebbles dropped and the ripples they create. The pebble I dropped years ago was agreeing to serve as a student liaison to the department in my graduate program at the University of Texas at Austin. That position, which normally meant little more than attendance at regularly scheduled graduate student and department meetings, quickly created ripples of labor activism that have now spanned and shaped much of my career.

No Choice but to Serve

During my thirty-seven-year career as a professor of English literature, I have learned as much from professional service outside my home institution as I have from my work as a teacher and scholar. Engagement with the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the Association of Departments of English (ADE) has both enabled my service at my home institution and awakened me to threats that neither the MLA nor the ADE can counter. Fundamentally, however, I am a teacher. I do research so that I have something to teach.

An Ethic of Service in Composition and Rhetoric

Research, teaching, and service—the traditional tripartite division of academic work. The kind of institution and the nature of institutional priorities have some bearing on the arrangement of the first two parts, but service always comes last. From our shared perspective as faculty members and administrators in writing studies, though, the nature of service is both more meaningful and more complicated than this seemingly straightforward arrangement would suggest.

We Are All Roman Porn Stars Now

AAUP members are likely to be familiar with the 1960 adaptation of Howard Fast’s Spartacus by Stanley Kubrick and Dalton Trumbo, a rousing Kirk Douglas production widely credited with breaking the Hollywood blacklist. We’re a bit less likely to be among the five or six million weekly viewers of the recent series of the same title produced by Sam Raimi, a show that will launch its fourth and final season on Starz in January 2013.

Reimagining the Meanings of Service on the Streets of Detroit

A few months ago, I found myself at a local haunt in southwest Detroit, a coffeehouse on the corner of Vernor and Scotten. I had ducked in to grab a café con leche before my regular meeting with community partners to discuss the future of a joint project: El Museo del Norte, a museum and cultural center focused on Latino life in the Midwest. As I was leaving the coffeehouse, I ran into an acquaintance from Wayne State University.

The Academy as a Public Works Project

Our varied views of service come to the fore when we evaluate one another’s work, most notably in promotion and tenure reviews. If you have worked on such reviews, you may have observed the differences among your colleagues’ service contributions. One faculty member may have served on an editorial board and evaluated grant proposals. Perhaps another did committee work and served as a program director, while a third was involved with outreach and bridge programs for minority students.

Invigorating the Classroom

In a lengthy two-part, online essay titled “Politicizing the Classroom,” Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, argues that the AAUP’s recent report Ensuring Academic Freedom in Politically Controversial Academic Personnel Decisions is an effort to politicize the university. He advocates, as if it were an alternative, that the university focus on improving the quality of student learning. I disagree with his critique, and particularly his contrived assumption that advocacy and learning are contradictory.


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