To the Editor:
Reading today’s headlines about some SIU faculty members’ negative reactions to the Chancellor’s desire to recruit “volunteer” adjuncts was saddening — not surprising but still saddening.
I have two graduate degrees from SIU, accounting and law. I taught at SIU as a paid adjunct. I have also volunteered my time and expertise on many occasions for specific events such as judging moot court, helping students with depositions and giving singular lectures on everything from career choices to consumer law to property law. What adjuncts usually bring to the table is the ability to bridge the gap between the theoretical taught in a classroom by lifetime academics and how those principles actually play out in the real world where the rest of us have to live.
Is this what some of the “professional” academics are afraid of? Isn’t a mission of education to help prepare students to go out into the real world? Are they afraid the students might listen to someone other than them? Are they afraid the students might start asking questions they don’t know how to answer? When I taught, I used to consider that a successful day because motivating kids to think on their own and ask such hard questions is what sets them on a quest for their own answers. College isn’t the end of learning, it’s the beginning. I think too many lifetime academics have forgotten why they are there.
Chancellor Montemagno, keep up the good work. There’s plenty of us that are behind you.
Alfred E. “Sonny” Sanders