martes, 3 de diciembre de 2013

Weaving Tradition and Innovation

Emerging Paradigms in A Changing World, Part 2
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS  Langscape Volume 2, Issue 13
Weaving Tradition and Innovation How can we merge our biocultural heritage and our innovative ideas to forge a sustainable future for our earth and its peoples?
With Guest Editor: Kierin Mackenzie
Langscape is an extension of the voice of Terralingua. It supports our mission by educating the minds and hearts about the importance and value of biocultural diversity. We aim to promote a paradigm shift by illustrating biocultural diversity through scientific and traditional knowledge, within an elegant sensory context of articles, stories and art.
•  Expressions of interest -  December 9, 2013
•  Full contributions  -  January 10, 2014
The challenge we put out in the next issue of Langscape is how we can we weave tradition and innovation together to actively transform our current global paradigm. We would especially like to hear from students, youth and other voices that are not commonly heard in order to bring forth a diversity of perspectives and fresh ideas.
Current global paths have led to large scale destruction of biological and cultural diversity globally, often through processes that are genocidal and ecocidal in nature. These processes are causing the breakdown of the dynamic continuity of tradition—of the ever-evolving intergenerational transmission of the values, beliefs, knowledges, languages, and practices that human communities have developed over centuries and millennia, and through which each community has defined, maintained, and creatively transformed its cultural identity and integrity.
As residents of this world, we are the children of previous generations, siblings with all that lives, and the parents of the world to come. As the 1992 Kari-oca Declaration of the World’s Indigenous Peoples so aptly puts it, “we walk to the future in the footprints of our ancestors.” That is the very essence of cultural continuity: change that is not disruptive and destructive, but that respects the past in creating the future, seamlessly weaving together tradition and innovation.
How can the linguistic, cultural, and biological treasures handed down to us be utilized in order to ensure their and our continuing existence? How do we draw on ancestral knowledge, practices, and arts to devise new solutions for our global predicament? How do we adapt the gifts, values and teachings of the past to create a brighter future? What new ideas harmonise well with these gifts to reinvigorate their usage where they have declined?  How do they strengthen us and the generations to come?
We are entering uncharted waters as a species. No-one really can know what is to come, and how we are to turn the corner.  All we can do is shed light on our own corner, share stories of what has worked and has not worked, share ideas, share seeds, and work to leave future generations with the same gifts we were given. This issue is to be a container of seeds for planting. This issue is to be a celebration of that which is growing. This issue is to highlight new flowers on ancient vines.
We are looking for authors who through their roles as students and innovators of techniques ancient and recent can see where changes for a more resilient future can be and are being made.
Please submit your expression of interest - your idea in one or two paragraphs – by December 9, so that we can solicit full contributions as soon as possible. 
Please send your inquiries and submissions directly to the LangscapeEditor, Ortixia Dilts: . 
If you wish, you can also cc: your communications to our Guest Editor, Kierin Mackenzie:
Thank you all. We are both very excited about this issue. We look forward to hearing from you, as it is your contributions which that make Langscape a special and delightful read.
Kierin and Ortixia Contributors' Guidelines can be found at:

"The Professor game"
by Richard Mandell 
Read today's "Professor Game Revisited" below. . .
December 2, 2013
The Great Stratification

By Jeffrey J. Williams 
The Chronicle of Higher Education

magine a diorama in an American Museum of Occupations showing the evolution of the
professor. The exhibit starts in the early 1800s with an austere, black-suited man
in a minister's collar, perhaps looking over the shoulder of a student at a rustic
desk, with a Greek text open in front of him. In the next scene, from around 1900,
he morphs into a pince-nez-wearing gentleman in starched collar and cravat, at a
podium delivering a lecture. The professor of 1950 adopts the rumpled bearing of a
tweed jacket, pointing with his pipe to a poem or a physics equation on a
chalkboard. In the next frame, circa 1990, she wears jeans and is sitting in front
of a computer screen.
How would the diorama represent the professor of 2020?
Some observers predict that she won't exist: In the memorable phrase of Frank
Donoghue, a professor of English at Ohio State University, we are living in the age
of "the last professors." Less apocalyptic commentators say the professor has
experienced "deprofessionalization."
Both views try to capture the squeeze on professorial jobs, but they misrecognize
fundamental aspects of the changes that have occurred. Rather than extinction, we
have seen the steady expansion of academic labor over the past century, and rather
than "deskilling," we are undergoing more rather than less professionalization. What
has been going on is what sociologists call "differentiation" and "stratification."
We are in the era of the Great Stratification.
The diorama of the year 2020 might represent a group. Like a health-care
advertisement featuring a team of smiling staff in scrubs, it might show one
professor sporting a black turtleneck and a little gray, next to a Chuck Taylor-shod
grad student to signify a little youth, an assistant director of the writing center
on the side, ready to help, and a professor-administrator in a navy suit smiling
behind them. It takes an academic program.
Given that there are more than 1.4 million college faculty members in the United
States, it is clear that they are not disappearing. But the all-purpose professor
has faded. We have tended to see the professor as a single figure, but he is now a
multiple being, of many types, tasks, and positions. And instead of the traditional
idea of a community of scholars, all roughly equivalent, we now have a distended
pyramid, with a huge base of people whose primary job is teaching, often entry-level
courses; a layer of specialists in particular fields and researchers who may hardly
even teach above them; and a thin spire of administrators commanding the peak.
The spread of academic labor follows the trend of other professions. The idea of the
professional usually evokes a generic image—the old-fashioned family doctor, for
instance, who hung out his shingle—but now we have a much more variegated system of
alpha and beta practitioners. And rather than the ideal of being independent and
roughly equivalent to their peers, most professionals now work in hierarchical
bureaucratic structures.
Along with the greater differentiation of tasks over the past 50 years, we have
experienced a progressively steeper stratification of academic workers. Sometimes
people complain about professionalization and blame it for problems in academe, but
we should recall that the movement toward professionalization after World War II
advanced almost all fields and reflected a more equitable society, certainly more
than at any point in the past century. The academic profession was an open avenue to
the middle class; now it seems more like a confusing intersection with expensive
tolls, one lane leading to a rewarding career, another to uneven pavement, poor
conditions, and dead ends. You're not sure which you're on until you've already gone
down the road.

he 20th century was, among other things, the century of the professional. At its
start, "professional, technical, and kindred" workers mustered roughly 4 percent of
the work force. Through the 19th century, most Americans worked on farms, and the
major labor category in government statistics, other than agriculture, was "maker."
That steadily changed through the 1900s, and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, about 31 million Americans now work in "professional and related
occupations," which account for 22 percent of those employed. That vies with "sales
and office occupations," which enlist some 33 million, as the predominant category,
and exceeds "service occupations" (roughly 25 million), "production, transportation,
and material moving occupations" (16.5 million), and "management occupations" (15
However, the numbers don't simply translate to expanding fleets of highly paid
doctors, lawyers, and professors. The category includes those from professions with
less status, such as registered nurses and schoolteachers, along with the alpha
professions. (Nurse aides and dental assistants, however, are in the subsidiary
category of "service occupations," and "professionals" like police and firefighters
are counted in "protective services.") The professions have become more ordinary,
not quite blue collar but not necessarily white collar, either.
The characteristic that links them is that they typically require a bachelor's
degree and often a master's or higher, and typically a rigorous form of
accreditation. (For instance, RNs require a degree from a nursing program as well as
a license, and even humble schoolteachers are encouraged to get a master's within
five years in many states.) A special body of knowledge, conferred in higher
education and affirmed by a professional organization, still distinguishes
professions from other occupations.
Medicine provides a good illustration of the changes since the 1970s, when academic
jobs began their current phase of evolution. While physicians and surgeons have
increased at a faster rate than that of the general population—from about 260,000 in
1960 to 691,000 in 2010—the greatest growth has been in beta healthcare
professionals. Nurses have increased from 600,000 in 1960 to 2,737,000 in 2010,
nearly a fivefold increase, about double the rate of doctors. In addition, new
intermedial professions have developed, such as nurse practitioners and physician's
assistants, which began as formal programs only in the late 60s. By around 2008 ,
they numbered about 128,000 and 84,000, respectively, and both are expected to
double by 2025.
Think of it this way: When was the last time a doctor gave you a shot? (I can
remember: It was in 1964, when I was 5 and had a bad case of poison ivy, and the
doctor did not have a light touch.) Now nurses do that, and if you spend time in a
hospital, you are as likely to see a physician's assistant or nurse practitioner as
a doctor.
We tend to think of professions as continuous, but one of the lessons of from the
Pulitzer-winning history The Social Transformation of American Medicine, by Paul
Starr, a professor of sociology and public affairs, is how changeable the nature of
doctoring has been. Another lesson is how medicine has become a managed profession,
administered by hospitals and HMOs since the 1980s. That has resulted not in
deprofessionalization, but in greater specialization. And while less autonomous,
doctors still receive high salaries.

s higher ed has undergone some of the same changes as medicine, a complicated web of
academic labor has developed. For the student, the result is similar to the patient
seeking health care: When she enters college, she only occasionally encounters a
full-fledged professor; she is more likely to see beta professionals—the adjunct
comp teacher, the math TA, the graduate assistant in the writing center, the
honors-program adviser, and the staff members who run the programs.
It is not that professors have disappeared. In fact, there are some half a million
with full-time, tenure-stream jobs. Their jobs have changed, though, and in some
respects they have paralleled physicians in becoming increasingly specialized,
relieved from teaching to do research, or teaching only advanced courses, or
administering, whether directing the writing program, founding the new center of
interdisciplinary studies, or stepping out to become an assistant dean.
Still, it's important to remember that most professors do a good deal of
teaching—particularly those at community colleges, four-year colleges, and master's
institutions. We take research universities as the standard, but they are not really
typical of most people's experience. Since the early 1800s, the American system has
included a capacious range of institutions, although the aim in the postwar years
was toward parity, state systems striving to be as good as the Ivies. Now there is
greater disparity among institutions, further intensifying the disparity among
Another dimension of academic labor has been the swelling numbers of administrators
and other professionals, as the political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg details in The
Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It
Matters (Oxford University Press, 2011). Whereas there were about 250,000
administrators and professional staff members in 1975, about half the number of
professors, by 2005 there were over 750,000, easily outnumbering tenure-stream
The chief difference from medicine is the steep drop in pay, benefits, and job
security for those who hold beta positions. Over the past 40 years, we have
witnessed the rapid growth of contingent professors—part-time, adjunct,
nonpermanent—who now account for three-quarters of college teachers. While
health-care professionals in beta positions earn decent wages—nurses average about
$65,000 a year, and nurse practitioners and physician's assistants over $90,000—and
usually have secure jobs, the majority of college teachers hold part-time
appointments, typically paid $2,000 to $3,000 per course, and have no job security.
The rise of contingent faculty is frequently explained with the knowing invocation
of "supply and demand," but let's put that notion to rest once and for all. The
demand for higher education has increased relatively steadily over the past
century—from about 238,000 enrolled students in 1900 to 598,000 in 1920, 1.49
million in 1940, 4.1 million in 1960, 12.1 million in 1980, and over 20 million
now—so there is a palpable need for college teachers. Just as there is a need for
health-care workers.
I am not suggesting that health care has attained a utopian labor system—not to
mention that, if we were to extend our examination to the full range of labor on
campuses or in hospitals, we would also have to look at secretaries, housekeepers,
grounds crews, and the many other workers who keep the institutions operating. But
the example of nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician's assistants shows that it
is possible to build a more rational and fair system of professional labor than we
have. The market, after all, is not a natural force but a human arrangement, based
on a social contract, protected and encouraged by law as well as regulated by it.
Rather than a horizontal community of scholars, or even a pyramid with reasonable
steps of rank, the American university has adopted its own harsh class structure:
the mass of the contingent (and other workers) struggling at the bottom,
tenure-stream professors in the middle class speaking for the university's
intellectual values and productions, and superstar faculty and administrators in the
upper class setting its direction and taking the greatest rewards.
Graphically, it is not really a pyramid any longer, but a large, pancake-shaped
bottom tier barely above level, a visible middle layer above it, and finally a
barely visible aerie rising above them.
The shape of academic labor is profoundly unbalanced.
And shouldn't those of us in a humanistic institution, presumably charged to
inculcate humane values and preserve the best of our culture, support and enact fair
labor practices, certainly above a living wage and with secure terms?
We might argue that stratification is a natural development of social systems as
they become larger and more differentiated. But such severe economic stratification
is another matter, and it arises from the agreements and contracts of people. For
the resigned or cynical, it is perhaps no surprise that higher education is a
fractal of the winner-take-all society, but how much disparity are we willing to

he comparison with medicine, however inexact, suggests a few ideas that we might be
able to use. It is worth bearing in mind that health-care professionals maintain
their employment conditions in part through their professional organization, and
particularly for nurses, unionization. And each sector is organized according to its
particular tasks and on its own terms.
One idea is to take the model of nurse practitioners and physician's assistants and
formalize credentials for "teaching practitioners." There has been a good deal of
discussion about reforming the Ph.D., particularly about shortening the time to
degree. For instance, in a much-discussed essay, "How to Make a Ph.D. Matter," first
published in The New York Times Magazine in 1996 and elaborated in his book The
Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University (Norton,
2010), Harvard University's Louis Menand proposed that we consider shortening the
Ph.D. to "a determinate length," like a law degree, which is customarily three
years. His reasoning was that, if so many people were not getting full-time jobs and
were taking nearly 10 years to finish, then we need a more pliable Ph.D. But perhaps
we need other degrees besides the Ph.D.
In the residual model that we have, everyone works to attain the same all-purpose
degree for very different jobs. We should consider if we would be better served to
have an intermedial degree—more advanced than the M.A., which seems more a
preparatory than terminal degree for academics, but less lengthy and more practical
than the current Ph.D. In turn, the Ph.D. could be reserved for specialist
positions, advanced researchers, or field experts.
There has also been repeated discussion about the lack of teacher training in Ph.D.
programs. Just a few weeks ago, Derek Bok, former president of Harvard, declared in
The Chronicle, "The most glaring defect of our graduate programs, however, is how
little they do to prepare their students to teach." Perhaps there might be a degree
track that emphasizes new modes, techniques, and technologies of instruction.
Nurse practitioners and physician's assistants, who undergo two to three years of
postgraduate training, can diagnose and prescribe for many conditions, as well as
refer cases to physicians. We might imagine a system of teaching practitioners who
design curriculum and have job security, rather than filling their jobs in the ad
hoc way that we do now. It is not merely for their sake, but to stabilize the
experience of college for most undergraduates, which in turn might help remedy
My belief is that we should have a horizontal model of academic work, one that both
honors the tradition of a community of scholars and carries out the practices of
unionism, seeking cooperative control of the workplace. But it seems as if the
strongest move for "non-tenure-track faculty" is to develop their own recognized
credential and job track. It would afford a species of professional control. Those
of us who hold professorships should support this effort because the obvious
exploitation of college teachers devalues our own jobs, as well as violates the
spirit of the university.
The development of the "knowledge economy" has been touted as great
progress—everyone will be an educated professional! You won't have to get your hands
dirty, and you'll be highly paid! But that relies on the myth of the halcyon
professional. Instead the knowledge economy has ushered in a deeply stratified
What good is knowledge if it brings us gross inequality and unfair terms for a
majority of those who work, or with whom we work?

Jeffrey J. Williams is a professor of English and literary and cultural studies at
Carnegie Mellon University. He has recently inaugurated a new book series, co-edited
with Chris Newfield, called Critical University Studies, published by Johns Hopkins
University Press