by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Anthony Hennen’s latest Martin Center column highlights the UNC System’s top instructors.
For the most part, the award-winners had high praise for their schools.
“I do, indeed, feel completely supported and rewarded for my teaching (and professional development) on a daily basis,” Scott Laird, an instructor of the humanities at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, said in an email.
Laird is representative of the professors who responded to Martin Center inquiries.
“ECU’s faculty manual says our first priority is teaching. That’s more than pious talk,” David Wilson-Okamura, an English professor at East Carolina University, said in an email.
“I believe UNCG does support good teachers and the classroom experience, including having an active teaching and learning center and a number of awards,” Dianne Welsh, the Hayes distinguished professor of entrepreneurship at UNC-Greensboro, said in an email.
Multiple professors also mentioned the importance of young professors finding teaching mentors on campus. …
… Though the struggle for professors’ time is often presented as between research and teaching, it’s not always the only—or main—battle.
“After tenure, the real competition isn’t between teaching and research, but research and service to the institution,” Wilson-Okamura said. Service can mean drafting and revising policies and curricula, assessing student and research outcomes, personnel work, and “playing defense” against administrative proposals, among other duties.
As more is expected of professors, their working hours creep up.
Administrative support “is as low as it has ever been,” Rand added, which means that professors are doing work once done by administrators.
“Teaching and service activities typically average about 60 hours per week, and research is done on top of that, often at nights, on weekends, and in summers when nine-month faculty such as myself are not contractually obligated,” Rand said of his personal experiences.
Administrative support “is as low as it has ever been,” Rand added, which means that professors are doing work once done by administrators. The growth in administrators tends to be in student affairs or other non-academic areas of a college, rather than in support staff for professors.