Not so fond memories of UVM’s Dept of Economics

The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities

As I await my grievance hearing before the Vermont Labor Relations Board for wrongful denial of reappointment by UVM’s Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, I have had some time to reflect on my eight years teaching at UVM’s Dept of Economics, and questioning why we tolerate so much in the workplace that just shouldn’t be. For instance, one of the faculty members in the department (whose name will remain unmentioned) is well known to intentionally drive students from the classes taught by this person. In one class I have the data on, this ‘teacher’ actually bragged that a record had been broken — 70 students had dropped this intro economics class (I’m sure the accreditation board would not look fondly on this so-called teaching). I have all the evidence. But this is overlooked by UVM’s Dept of Economics because this department member is tenured (protected) and according to the chair, teaching ‘good’ economics. I discovered the level of student (and some faculty) disgust with this person early in my 8 years there and the same sentiment regarding several other faculty who students studiously seek to avoid (word gets around fast who the really bad teachers are). Alas, we put up with too much in the face of fitting in (not offending the powerful) and keeping our jobs and careers on track rather than causing any trouble. But at what cost? No wonder many want to abolish the tenure system — too many awful teachers get a free pass. Hopefully, meanwhile, I’ll will win my greivance case against against UVM for wrongful denial of reappointment and be back to my rightful place as a full time lecturer in UVM’s Dept of Economics, while the bad teachers are shown to the door.