August 26, 2008

First-Generation Students

By Krebs, Paula M

Class issues are among the most complicated for faculty and students in academe. In the September-October 2006 issue of Academe, we ran a cluster of articles about working-class faculty, students, and staff, and it attracted a good deal of attention. In this issue, three different faculty authors take on the related question of first-generation college students. The most moving article in the issue is Scott M. Fisher's "Maria's Rainbow," which asks whether we are cheating first-generation students with promises of what postsecondary education will do for them. Mike Sacken shares the story of how he overcame his annoyance at the athletic department and became a mentor to student athletes who felt at sea at his university. Theron P. Snell argues that it's literacy and not first- generation status that makes the biggest difference in success for new college students. William M. Plater offers insights on the future of the academic workforce in "The Twenty-First-Century Professoriate," urging the faculty to be vigilant about the changes in higher education. Some of those changes are visible in what Anna Dronzek writes about the new generation gap among faculty.

Faculty all over the country have been both investigating working conditions and campaigning for better benefits, on their own campuses and more widely. Several of those investigators and activists share their results in this issue. Paul Marthers and Jeff Parker have studied pay levels for new faculty at small liberal arts colleges, and they ask whether those colleges are following market trends or their own community principles in setting those salaries. The AAUP folks in the State University of New York system have been pushing for paid family leave, and Jamie F. Dangler tells their story with some guarded optimism. Kevin Mattson and Joseph Bernt discuss the problems caused for faculty when administrator salaries and spending give higher education a black eye with the public.

K. A. Wallace reminds us to be vigilant about where our academic writing is sold and reproduced in this brave new world of digital availability. Keep track, she warns, of who is making money from our work, and in what venues. And finally, Kevin Brown muses on the joys of being able to publish the kind of things he likes to write (including Academe articles) without worrying about perishing.

As usual, we also offer insightful book reviews and news and notes from the AAUP and the world of higher education. And, also as usual, I urge you to write to us, at [email protected], with your own faculty success stories and higher education analysis.


Copyright American Association of University Professors Jul/Aug 2008

(c) 2008 Academe. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.