Thursday, December 2, 2010

Republicans Against the Sabbaticals

It is no news that Republicans hate academics. We teach young people to think for themselves, which might make them a little more difficult to brainwash by the conservative propaganda. We read and even publish books and articles, something that Republicans see as subversive activities par excellence. For a while, the conservative movement in this country has done everything in its power to destroy the system of education. One by one, they are dismantling every structure that has been keeping this system in place. Now, they have begun an assault on sabbaticals:
Iowa Republicans, who are about to control the state House of Representatives, are calling for public universities to stop awarding sabbaticals, saying that the state can no longer afford them, the Associated Press reported. "It seems to be tough budgetary times. Why should the taxpayers of Iowa be paying to basically give these folks a year off from teaching?" said Kraig Paulsen, who is about to become speaker of the House. Edwin Dove, president of the Faculty Senate at the University of Iowa, said that while on sabbaticals in 2009, professors wrote 26 books; published 147 research articles; created and updated nearly 100 classes; and submitted 50 grant applications.
Obviously, one can't expect a person capable of uttering monstrosities like "to basically give"  and "it seems to be tough budgetary times" to understand what it is that scholars do during their sabbaticals or that teaching is only a part of our job responsibilities.

Some people are still naive enough to think that anything Republicans do is even remotely related to fiscal responsibility and their purported concern for the deficit. According to Chicago Tribune, just last year sabbaticals helped generate $5.2 million in research funding for Iowa's public universities. Even the most mathematically challenged person in the world can see that it is a lot more than the $255,800 needed to hire instructors to substitute the faculty members who go on sabbaticals. This is obviously not about money. It is about Republicans hoping to prevent us from doing research.


Pagan Topologist said...

If I remember correctly, The University of Texas does not have sabbaticals. It is not good.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think they just want to keep anyone from enjoying their lives. Someone, somewhere, might be doing something they they feel a need to stop it. The thinking seems to be: It must be wrong, if it's enjoyable! Work should be an endless slog of mindless drudgery!


Anonymous said...

If that includes University of North Texas, I feel sorry for my aunt and uncle.

Clarissa said...

Jodie: I think you are absolutely right. They must be pretty miserable themselves to begrudge enjoyment to others in such a desperate way.

eric said...

"They must be pretty miserable themselves to begrudge enjoyment to others in such a desperate way."

They are the true modern-day heirs to the Puritans.

NancyP said...

I will tell you one thing, lack of research time is the best way to turn a creative person into a time-clock person perfectly suited to bore the students.

I have been burned out for the past several years.

Clarissa said...

I know what you mean, NancyP. Even the most energetic, brilliant teacher is likely to be worn out by the daily grind. Sabbaticals are crucial.

Pagan Topologist said...

"Female Science Professor" has an interesting analysis of sabbaticals posted today.

Clarissa said...

Here is the link for those who haven't seen it:

It's a good analysis of why sabbaticals are not detromental to colleges in economical terms. But since I think the opposition to sabbaticals has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with money, I believe we shouldn't get duped into taking part in this financial calculations.

The republicans came to power in the last elections claiming they are interested in fiscal responsibility and responsible budgeting. that is an obvious lie. Nothing on their agenda is about that, and neither are sabbaticals.