Jumping From The Ivory Tower

The reason that I am starting this blog is because, after over a decade of being in higher education, I find myself in the need of making a mid-career change. Note that I  say “in the need of” and not “wanting to” make a career change, for I do not want to make such a change. Like many others, I went into college level teaching as an act of dedication, a commitment to higher educational values & to having a positive impact on my student’s overall learning experiences. However, the well known recent troubling economic times have resulted in the increasing corporatization of higher education. The vast majority of teaching jobs at colleges & universities have become part-time, or “adjunct”, positions with minimal job security, no health insurance, and few other benefits as well. College administrators now treat teachers as mere products or business commodities in a system driven by profit. Perhaps this is their right to do so, but we are not products or commodities, we are human beings. As human beings, we have the right to work hard at being the best at what we do, and asking for fair compensation in return is only reasonable. Unfortunately, these conditions have forced many exceptional teachers, such as myself, to leave our chosen profession and to seek greener pastures elsewhere. This is the situation that I now find myself in, and when I first realized it, even though it was a long time coming, it was quite a shock. Having to reinvent oneself mid-career is never an easy task, and it can create absolute havoc on one’s sense of personal well being & self worth. However, I know that I am not alone in this. We are losing teachers every day because of a faulty system that fails to recognize their lasting value. They say that before we can rise from the ashes we first have to burn. Too many of us are burning each and every day. I have not fully found my way to rise from the ashes just yet, but I have decided to make this a public process. People need to be made aware of the state higher education is in today, and what it is doing to teachers as well as to students. And, as teachers, we need to help and support each other as we go through the daunting task of reinventing ourselves after many years of being highly qualified educators. I hope that through telling my story as it unfolds, others will share theirs, and that together we can make this transition from higher education to the private sector a little less lonely & hopefully a whole lot easier. We have to face reality. College administrators are fiddling away like Nero while The Ivory Tower is burning down around them. However, because we are truly creative & critically thinking & highly qualified individuals, it will be up to us, the teachers, to finally rise from the ashes once and for all.

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8 thoughts on “Jumping From The Ivory Tower

  1. Vince, there are a lot of blogs out there… I have one myself, though I have to dust it off sometime soon. However, there is a shortage of truly *good* blogs. I look forward to reading yours, I hope regularly.

    • Thanks Mr. D. Right now I’m very busy looking for work & packing up all our belongings to move in with my wife’s family, so I don’t know if I will be updating as regularly as I might like. However, I do feel that my story is well worth sharing – especially in today’s economy. I’m not sure whose luck is worse – The Cubs or mine…

  2. Thank you for the poignant description about today’s higher education. I am trying to make a service to help ease mid-career transitions so that are not abrupt or prompted by necessity, but are driven by a genuine shift in interest. I look forward to learning from your experience.

    • Thanks Amy. Unfortunately, my mid-career transition is both abrupt & very much prompted by necessity, but I think, whether the change was self chosen or not, taking the steps to actually make such a change can be very difficult – especially when faced alone. Hopefully my experiences prove beneficial for anyone who bothers to spend a little time reading my humble contributions to this small corner of cyberspace. Also, I like the idea of your service, so I hope to learn a few things from you as well!

  3. Hi Vincent ~ a promising start, I’ll add it to the NewFac blogroll too. PS from someone with tired eyes, passing middle age, more white space, more and shorter paragraphs make for less eye tiring online reading. Now that you have nailed theses to cyber door, what’s next?

    • Thanks Vanessa. Honestly, before yesterday morning, I had no idea that I would be starting this blog, so I pretty much just set things up quickly with basic (and free) formatting. I’ll probably “dabble” a bit with various backgrounds & whatnot whenever I get the time. My eyes, poor old things, are 47, so I share your concerns. I suppose you are right about nailing theses to the cyber door, even if I hadn’t realized it at the time. I’m probably a poor substitute for Luther> I’m more in the Pico della Mirandola camp. Mostly, I hope to share my experiences so that others who are going through similar circumstances know that they are not alone on this journey. Sometimes we all could use a little moral support.

      • There several “leaving academia” blogs, but this already has the feel of being different, a much about what the experience feels like as the steps themselves. I rather like the idea of taking it up on the spur of the moment, speaks to free wheeling spontaneity. The posts I like best and have the most fun doing are usually the unplanned ones

  4. I would love a job within the “Ivory Tower” of higher education. Not as a teacher, but as a support person in PR/Marketing/Communication or Design. Please don’t hate me for this.

    It’s just that I LOVE the college/university environment. I love working with intelligent and well-educated people (something you often don’t get in the private sector).

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