Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Due to the need for decent benefits, I began applying for "full-time" teaching positions at the local colleges. (Benefits are very expensive for the small, self-employed businessman such as myself--"Full-time" for most college teaching positions are 9 months of work and 12 months of pay, sort of positions, 2 semesters of teaching, with all the academic holiday's to boot!). Not wanting to go back to the public dole via federal employment, I figured a nice college professor position might just be what the "Dr" ordered. This would also allow me to keep my lucrative private practice. I was asked to interview for a position at the University of Central Florida to teach psychology classes at the Clermont/Ocala campuses (the Western region of UCF). The first round of interviews were via the telephone. I passed those and went on to the next round. I was interviewed by 8 different people over 6 hours. The first interview was with the Vice-President of the Western Region. A professional woman who had not read my resume. But who, nonetheless, seemed mostly interested. This was at the Clermont campus. We chatted a bit and I moved on to the next person which was after lunch and over at the Orlando Campus. I then interviewed with the Chairman of the Department; a lovely gentleman who mostly talked about his own research interests.

I then was taken to a conference room. Present was the assistant chair, two professors, and two professors live via video conference from the Daytona campus. I was impressed with the state-of-art video resolution, sound, and ease of discourse. This interview lasted about an hour. I then had 30minutes to prepare a teaching demonstration. I then taught a 30minute sample course (my subject of choice: The Schizophrenic in a forensic setting). Much to my surprise, my usual shenanigans were a big hit with this group and they even appreciated my off-center humor.

Last week I was called by the Chair and offered a full-time "Lecturer" position with UCF in the Western region with a nice salary and all the delicious state benefits.

Now my good Junto Boys, you might be asking "Sir Saunders, why do you bore us with this tale." It is because I need your help. My plight: What now? Although I've taught college classes before, this is my first full-time professor position at a major university. I actually want to succeed at this. Being a Junto Boy, it is both in my nature and my obligation to teach these classes according to our Libertarian/Conservative code. But how do I without being fired or offend the gentle liberal spirits of my fellow professors? In my tour of the campus, I was amazed at how much college has changed since I was taking classes in the 80's and 90's. Everything is very high-tech. There are data ports and video conferencing capabilities in every classroom. The prof's are issued a laptop that you can plug into. You move a file you want to share to the classroom intranet and all the students can download it! Impressive.

But have all these changes yielded any advancement in the political arena? Often during my tenure as a student, I was frowned upon and shunned for my more Libertarian/Conservative views. And of course as a test, my first class assigned to teach this fall? Psychology of Women! How does a cigar smoking, poker playing, beer making/drinking, Christian, conservative/Libertarian Republican like me hope to successfully teach a left-wing feminist created course?

Perhaps it's time to move Higher Ed to Higher Enlightenment. Hopefully, they are ready for my brand of high-brow spin. Either that or this will be the shortest tenure of any professor at that fine institution.


Dude said...

Congrats on the gig, Sir Steve. If you showed your true self to this crew and they hired you anyways then I think you are in for a pleasant surprise. Whatever topic you teach, just call it as you see it with your natural charm and irreverent spin and yours will be a must-take class every semester. I really have no doubt that you will be a big hit so long as your basic course material is developed in advance and you supplement it with your particular way of seeing the comedy in the details.

Tom said...

Is psychology the pursuit of understanding the human mind or is it a vehicle to promote PC dogma and public policy funding? As a scholar within your field, you have the opportunity to save psychology from partisans by presenting these ideas in a straightforward fashion.

I think your best approach is taking the data at face value and having discussions about the implications of it. Introduce conflicting studies when you can. If you can get them to think objectively about the PC things that have become religion, you will have done a great deal more you know.

If you have them read Robert Johnson’s SHE, you can really get a discussion started about how technology changes but human problems are ageless. That’s key because most of these gender/minority classes are a lesson in collective guilt, but Johnson brings a different consciousness to the discussion. If problems are a function of the human condition, then societal blame is just a filter and not the answer to what ails humanity.

Your past experience in school was as a minority, but you have the advantage of being the teacher this time and you can promote common sense without confronting anyone. Many of your professors were touchy because they were only comfortable with understood truths and canon. They were upset when challenged because they never had to think of the implications of their beliefs or defend the ideas behind them. You won’t have the same reaction when confronted. You’d enjoy the discussion and congratulate anyone who might take you on.

You have a rare opportunity in academia, the chance to actually teach the subject without having to point everything back to current events and grievances.

E said...

Congratulations Steve! College faculties are only 91 percent liberal so someone there is in your camp. Find him and find out how he negotiates the waters.

I envy your gig and hope to join you someday!

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