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Section Intro: Professional Development & Service

posted: 6.1.07 by archived

Professional Development and Service is, in many ways, an opaque and unclear concept. It is exactly the kind of “shadow work” which Ivan Illich critiques in a book of the same name: it is work which is expected to be performed, but there is no direct compensation for the work. These are the tasks adjuncts are expected to engage in in order to be considered professionally developing in our careers and in our field. Of course this begs for critique and discussion; however, it is unlikely that this complex and convoluted system of opaque expectations and silence will change at any time in the short term.

Complicating matters further is that numerous institutions have different policies and expectations regarding their adjuncts. Some encourage adjuncts to participate and welcome their input; others encourage participation, but it is only the symbolism which matters; others do not even bother to encourage adjuncts, often criticizing or attacking them for thinking they belong at the same table as tenured faculty. What is an adjunct to do when they are interviewed and asked about their professional development and service to their institution when doing so is either not permitted, comes at the cost of losing another part-time gig, or their contributions are tacitly ignored? There is no single simple solution. You can never know until you are in the situation–and once you are there, it may well change.

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Categories: Adjunct Advice, Gregory Zobel, Professional Development & Service
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