Dear David,

Well, I do have a big axe to grind: Enron, Goldman Sachs, Bernie Madoff,
insider trading, bailouts, insane pay for CEOs, mortgage crisis,
outsourcing jobs, foreclosures. . . . it's endless. And these are the
people one is supposed to believe know how to run organizations.

I have over forty years experience within four universities, and I can
tell you no one--no one--gets these unbelievable perks or has access to
any even remotely comparable corruption. No one ever went into academia
for the purpose of becoming rich. And no one is unaccountable: if I
publish a book, it is peer reviewed by at least three experts (usually
more) before a contract and more before publication and can be reviewed
in international public space afterwards for the world to read. Students
and my colleagues rate my teaching, and anyone whose teaching is not
good is expected to work to change it. And in universities hiring,
tenure, and promotions as well as pay and sabbaticals depend on all
those internal and external reviews that go on as a constant process. In
business, I note, CEOs who utterly fail and destroy lives get millions
and billions to leave--or stay.

So my axe is the totally false and increasingly destructive attempt to
apply "business" methods to universities in ways that are capable of
destroying them. 

And what you said was not neutral: it was a familiar and false critique
based on assumptions that are not relevant to universities or in any way
aimed at providing genuine education. As you say, it is an opinion
without evidence.

I'm sorry that I cannot pretend to treat these kinds of statements as
either neutral or acceptable. I think they are a constantly mounting
chorus of profoundly false ideas that can lead to the destruction of
institutions that actually do know what they are doing most of the time.

Business "efficiency":
The rich get richer, then buy elections
2010-10-24, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
It's a perfect storm. I'm talking about the dangers facing our
democracy. First, income in America is now more concentrated in fewer
hands than it has been in 80 years. Almost a quarter of total income
generated in the United States is going to the top 1 percent of
Americans. The top one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans now earn as much
as the bottom 120 million of us. Who are these people? They're top
executives of big corporations and Wall Street, hedge-fund managers and
private equity managers. Hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring
into advertisements for and against candidates - without a trace of
where the dollars are coming from. They're laundered through a handful
of groups. Most Americans are in trouble. Their jobs, incomes, savings
and even homes are on the line. They need a government that's working
for them, not for the privileged and the powerful. Yet their state and
local taxes are rising. And their services are being cut. There's no
jobs bill to speak of. Washington says nothing can be done. There's no
money left. No money? The marginal income tax rate on the very rich is
the lowest it has been in more than 80 years. Under President Dwight
Eisenhower ... it was 91 percent. Now it's 36 percent. We're losing our
democracy to a different system. It's called plutocracy.
Note: Whether you are on the left or right of the political spectrum,
this incisive article by former US Sect. of Labor Robert Reich is well
worth reading in its entirety. For more in income inequality.


>>> David Boyd 06/07/12 11:25 AM >>>

I have absolutely no big axe to be a-sharpening, Nancy, but was merely
voicing in I hope a neutral way a lot of accumulated experience - not
admittedly from 'the coal face', from within any university, but based
on a great lot of professional interaction with the staff of such
institutions, and comparing with how staff in other, non-academic
workplaces typically operate. I have no direct evidence: it was a kind
of professional opinion, but it's not a prejudiced one, either.

And, in the UK at least, universities are just the tip of the iceberg:
almost exactly the same comments are applicable to most
Government-funded educational establishments, eg, schools - contain many
very good teachers, but are abominably and inefficiently managed.

On 7 June 2012 14:50, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
My experience in the US is that business does not even know how to run
business. Universities do not exist to do the same thing, and there is a
reason American universities have a long reputation for being great. The
idea that anyone in a university has no accountability is utter
nonsense: I get evaluated constantely, and I am required regularly to
present evidence of teaching success, service, community service, and
scholarship achievement. Moreover, at least here, it takes 6 years to
get the tenure you imagine to be "unlimited job security" (it's not: a
member of my department lost a job last year; it only means there must
be serious reasons and one cannot be fired for one's intellectual
positions--pretty essential if your job is to think and write and
teach). Before those 6 years even start, it takes, here, an average of
7-8 years to get a Ph. D., and then jobs are scarce. So one is, at very
minimum, close to 30 before even starting, and if one does not get
tenure in a first job, one is heading toward 40. Half of one's life,
then, is spent in demanding preparation for a possible position--one
that many do not ever get. This is not your vaunted "security."

I am very very very tired of views from business (who gave us Enron,
Fanny May and Freddy Mac, and endless huge bank bailouts) imagining they
can judge academia. I think business has a lot more to learn from
universities than the other way around and a lot of hubris to let go.
Your view is simply all based on observation from a position outside and
is easy to say because, of course, anyone can point to bad situations in
universities. But one can point to far more good, and there are no
institutions that have no problems. At least we are not the cause of
massive recessions. I do not see anywhere any evidence that business
knows what it's doing, let alone is in any position to claim
understanding and judgment of universities. Your "dysfuntional" is my
far better structure. And, by the way, I, at least, had many jobs before
being a professor--low level ones of course while I studied--but none
that suggested your imagined value in business.

>>> David Boyd <[log in to unmask]> 06/07/12 3:51 AM >>> 
Observations from UK, for what they are worth 

I have worked in mainstream departments of Government; in the 
Government-funded sector; and in the private sector, and very closely 
during this working life with academic institutions. It's very much my 
experience that the most dysfunctional of these workplaces were the 
academic institutions: the reasons why this should be so are obviously 
manifold and complex, but I think that a lot of them arise because the 
people who work for them tend to have almost unlimited job security and 
power within their particular spheres, yet little if any 
accountability. Whether or not an academic member of staff prospers 
depends much more on the internal politics and hierarchy of the 
institution than on any level of ability they my or may not possess, or 
their effectiveness in carrying out their job. The private sector has 
very different imperatives, not least, to compete efficiently in a 
marketplace, so simply cannot afford to be run like most academic 
institutions. To be sure, their respective functions are completely 
different, and it would be crazy to suggest that academic institutions 
should function like private companies in a competitive marketplace, 
but, having been insulated from almost all the major forces that drive 
private companies, academic institutions do tend to have a lot to learn 
from this sector. 

A big problem is that most academics never ever experience any other 
working environment - they go to school then to university then remain 
in one for say a doctorate then join the academic staff. An academic 
institution and the academic personnel within it needs to be MANAGED, 
and efficiently, too. That involves a totally different skill set to 
the teaching of an academic discipline, yet the crazy assumption tends 
to be made that good academics will make good managers, which just 
isn't so. 

Yes, I'm generalising here, and perhaps stereotyping, but I do think 
that I am doing so from an informed standpoint, and from that of very 
many years experience in professional human resources management in a 
pretty wide range of workplaces, as above. 

On a lighter note, for (uk) academics lampooning the academic life, 
fine examples are Bradbury's 'The History Man' and Kingsley Amis's 
'Lucky Jim. 

Cumbria UK 
-----Original Message----- 
From: Peter Dillane <[log in to unmask]> 
To: TSE <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent: Wed, 6 Jun 2012 23:52 
Subject: Re: Why did T.S. Eliot believe in God? 

Hey Nancy, I’m suitably chastened but it wasn’t a generalization. It 
wasjust an observation of his experience. It was forty years ago and 
perhaps theremight have been alcohol involved in the conversation. It 
was nothing to me andnothing to him. In the warm glow of the booze I 
think we found everyone serious,caring and admirable. My experience 
of academic politics has not been as edifying asyours but then it has 
been on the scientific side of town where the money isbig and the game 
is more clearly about personal gain. I grant you this is acomplex 
issue in the sense that without personal gain there is no 
furtherfunding for those not already well resourced. I won’t start on 
the more subtleimproprieties of ram feeding publications to journals 
and so on... I have also lived through my wife blowing the whistle on 
a bentcolleague with the retraction of multiple papers from major 
journals going backa decade. The fight had to be taken outside the 
university to a national level *the improper political interference by 
the university in layers from theprofessor up ( the oldest university 
in this country by the way ) was a pieceof work to behold. She survived 
the process one of her colleagues did not and now cleans banks at 
night. I could go on but the original post was just a giggle and 
needsto lie down and die now I think - and as you say such 
observations don’t giveyou reliable data. Cheers Pete From: T. S. 
Eliot Discussion forum.[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nancy 
Sent: Thursday, 7 June 2012 12:09 AM 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: Why did T.S. Eliot believe in God? 

Well,not to me. I have taught in four universities, and I have had my 
fill ofuniversity politics. But it is simply not true in my experience 
that they aredifferent or worse than those of any other institutions. 
I'm sorry your friendhappened to have been in some difficult place. But 
these generalizations are,like all sweeping generalizations, just 
stereotypes. I find most of mycolleagues serious, caring, and 
admirable. There is no group that does notengage in political 
disagreements, even mean versions. But academics are notsome isolated 
and exceptional group of cranks, and at least they often disagreeover 
things that matter beyond their own personal gain. 

>>>Jerome Walsh 06/06/12 12:57 AM >>>Makeseminent 
sense to me! 


From: PeterDillane <[log in to unmask]> 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 6:00 PM 
Subject: Re: Why did T.S. Eliot believe in God? 

Yeah, I had a friend who hadbeen a coalminer in Wales in the fifties 
and made it to PhD at night and thenbecame an academic. He told me 
academia was more brutal than the coalminers’union ever was. 

Cheers P 

From:T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On 
Behalf Of JeromeWalsh 
Sent: Wednesday, 6 June 2012 8:42 AM 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: Why did T.S. Eliot believe in God? 


If youwant to see blood sports you should see what some scholars have 
said aboutideas I've published! Error!Filename not specified. 


From: PeterDillane <[log in to unmask]> 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 5:33 PM 
Subject: Re: Why did T.S. Eliot believe in God? 

Oh dear just when this wasabout to take off too. My mother told me 
that civility costs nothing butshe probably did not allow it might 
truncate blood sport. If as issometimes said God sees every joke and 
laughs it might have been nice to haveteased this one a bit longer but 
I guess you Christians have to do the decentthing. 

Pete ( the other one * noacademic qualification of consequence) 

From:T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On 
Behalf Of JeromeWalsh 
Sent: Tuesday, 5 June 2012 11:25 PM 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: Why did T.S. Eliot believe in God? 


Sorry forthe misconstrual. I was being flippant, too. Your question 
remindedme of the plaintive line in Mass, "but does God believe 
inme.......?," which ends hanging on an unresolved note. I've 
alwaysfound that line particularly poignant. I meant no implication 
ofplagiarism, just an acknowledgement of what I think is a worthwhile 
andthought-provoking way of rephrasing the topic. 

And thereference to "Father" was simply to be transparent. I 
can'tremember whether the list knows I'm a RC priest, and I wanted that 
identity tobe clear so that my wisecrack would be taken in the proper 
context. Irealize now that my phrasing could come across as 
belligerent, and I apologizefor that; it was not intended to be so. 


From: PeterMontgomery <[log in to unmask]> 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 1:05 AM 
Subject: Re: Why did T.S. Eliot believe in God? 

Dear Father Walsh, 

Usually whensomeone tells me I've been listening, or reading or 
whatever too much, 

I get the impression they areusually talking about themselves. In fact 
I did listen 

to Bernsten's piece about 20oddyears ago. I don't really remember. I 
reasure you that I did 

come up with the thought all bymy little own lonesome. I am capable of 
doing that from 

time to time. In this case, myoriginal response to the question about 
Eliot/God was 

not answered so I thought I wouldtry it the other way around. Obviously 
the same toying 

around continued to apply, so whytake the discussion seriously at all? 
Given the mistakes 

in the subsequent probing Ican't why one should bother. 

I have adeep reverence for and resonance with scripture, so I tend 
to have high regard 

for scripture scholarship. It isa crucial matter, and an important 
resource for Eliot studies. 

I must confess to surpriseat your approach this time around. I guess 
my own flippant 

conrtribution would be to say,poor old Bernstein. He was a victim of 
the NY school of nonsense. 

Peter Montgomery (That's Dr.Montgomery to you.) 

----- Original Message ----- 

From: JeromeWalsh 

To: [log in to unmask] 

Sent:Saturday, June 02, 2012 6:29 PM 

Subject: Re: Whydid T.S. Eliot believe in God? 


You'vebeen listening to the Credo in Bernstein's Mass too much! 

Besides,how do you know that God believes in any of us? 

JerryWalsh (Yes, that's "Father Walsh" to you....) 

From: PeterMontgomery <[log in to unmask]> 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Saturday, June 2, 2012 8:11 PM 
Subject: Re: Why did T.S. Eliot believe in God? 

Now that we've settled thatquestion, lets discuss why God believed in 
T.S. Eliot. 

Any ideas? 


----- Original Message ----- 

From: John Grant 

To: [log in to unmask] 

Sent: Friday,June 01, 2012 7:40 PM 

Subject: Re: Whydid T.S. Eliot believe in God? 


Sent from my iPad 

On Jun 1, 2012, at 4:53 PM, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 

A fine elucidation, John, in Barry Spurr's article 

T.S. Eliot's extraordinary journey of faith 




From: JohnAngell Grant <[log in to unmask]> 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2012 12:44 PM 
Subject: Re: Why did T.S. Eliot believe in God? 

//Why did Eliot choose Anglicanism over Roman Catholicism?//