Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Provost Commentary

The comment by the provost demonstrates how this SUNY university does not support graduate studies, particularly in English:

“The undergraduates are coming in, they continue to graduate on time,” she said. “We provide the courses and the schedule that they need to meet their degree requirements. I think we’ve done a good job of managing our resources and our growth.”

This provost states that the undergraduate students graduate on time. However, she completely avoids the problem: what is happening to the graduate students in English who are instrumental in making it possible for undergraduates to graduate on time. Although, as many of you know, it is possible that undergraduates are not graduating on time. What the provost views as successful graduation rates among undergraduates (where are the statistics?), are "achieved" by exploiting graduate students in English. If the provost believes that the administration has done a "good job managing our resources and our growth," words such as "good," "managing", and "resources" need to be examined. What resources? The general graduate courses offered in the English department? Classrooms that fall apart? Absent professors? A silent department who ignores the intellectual needs of graduate students? If what I have witnessed at SUNY Binghamton can be deemed as good, then, this university has emptied this word of all meaning.

The stakes for graduate students are high. The effects of the double workload are clear, yet worth reiterating, graduate students in English are impacted intellectually, professionally, and financially.

The English department remains the only department at this university that CHOSE to enforce such a workload.

The provost's questionable comments about graduation rates of undergraduates are worth scrutinizing. Again, she pointedly focuses on undergraduates, and avoids the SUBJECT of the newspaper articles--GRADUATE STUDENTS. As for undergraduate English students, it has been brought to my attention that not enough sections of required courses are offered, thus, delaying a student's ability to graduate on time. For graduate students in English, of course, the ability to graduate on time, is much bleaker. Statistics on the number of years it takes graduate students in English to complete their degrees should be available and published. Furthermore, comparative statistics about the graduation rate of graduate students in English before and after the workload should be compiled by the English department--staff and faculty. Elsewhere in this article, the provost stated she does not want to change the double teaching load.

So, who should we support? The provost? The English department? A failing university system? Students?

Graders, teaching assistants, instructors of record, adjuncts, and undergraduate students. All of us are being harmed by the double work load.

Undergraduate and graduate students
should have the opportunity for
the best education possible at any university, college, school--state or private.

Whose side are you on?