Liberal Education, Winter 2011

Current Issue


Fresh Perspectives on Faculty Trends: Contingency, Diversity, and the Impact of the Recession

A fresh look at several broad trends affecting the status and future of the professoriate, including higher education's increasing reliance on contingent academic labor, the relationship between the commitment to faculty diversity and the emergence of a two-tier professoriate, and institutional responses to the recent recession. Other topics include declines in college student study time, general education reform, the humanities, and a liberal arts professor's rapprochement with outcomes assessment.

Table of Contents
President's Message

By Carol Geary Schneider

From 1818 R Street NW

By David Tritelli

Featured Topic

By Maria Maisto and Steve Street
Higher education needs to move into a new phase of coordinated, intentional, and ethically grounded activity to repair the damaging effects on students, faculty, and the country of the haphazard and shortsighted decisions that have led to the widespread increase in the use of contingent faculty.

By Walter Benn Michaels
The general rule of American upper-class life is that inequality is not a problem except when it comes to race and sex; the application of that rule to American colleges and universities is the call for faculty diversity.

By Andrew Lounder, Chelsea Waugaman, Mark Kenyon, Amy Levine, Matthew Meekins, and KerryAnn O’Meara
The recent recession has led to a significant decline in local, state, and federal support for higher education. How are the substantial budget cuts that colleges and universities have implemented in response affecting faculty work, and what are the implications for student learning?


By Alexander C. McCormick
Has there been a decline in the amount of time full-time college students spend studying? And if so, what are the implications?

By Joseph M. Incandela
A discussion of key lessons learned from the successful revision of a general education curriculum that had been in place for nearly forty years.

By Martha Nell Smith
The erosion of support for the humanities and the perennial anxiety about the state of the humanities are systemic. Until we acknowledge this fact, we will keep lurching from one point to another, unable to recognize the repetition, and continually slouching toward but then away from the problem.

My view

By Andrew O. Fort
My thoughts about the value of measuring outcomes have changed over time, but there has been no single “conversion moment.” Incrementally and cumulatively, I have begun truly to see the point of focusing on student learning, and that doing so has improved my teaching and my students’ learning.

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