As in – you know – the famous final lines of that Stevie Smith poem, Not Waving But Drowning:

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Two recent books about American university professors span the waving/drowning thing in their very titles: One’s called The Faculty Lounges, and attacks tenured American university professors as larking about and waving at suckers with real jobs; the other, The Fall of the Faculty (reviewed here by UD‘s buddy Carl Elliott), has us drowning in administrative “blight.”

I’ll have comments about both of these books later on today.

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One Response to “Waving or Drowning?”

  1. dmf Says:

    there is a management problem here not unlike how to teach to the top and bottom ends of the class while serving those in the middle. No doubt our best and brightest liberal arts profs are often being stifled if not choked by administrative overreaching but it is also true that many folks teaching in higher ed are not well trained to teach and not able to teach themselves (let alone others), so how do we give the folks at the higher end of the spectrum (assuming we can agree who they are)the freedom they need to shine and innovate and at the same time rein in the rest?

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