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 <[log in to unmask]>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?//