Phillip W. Magness

Historian – 19th century United States

Freshmen “common reading assignments” and the neglect of subjective literary taste

| August 27, 2015

Today’s Washington Post has an interesting article in which an incoming freshman at Duke University explains why he is refusing to read the graphic novel “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel. The “Fun Home” assignment is Duke’s version of an increasingly common practice at universities wherein all incoming first year students are given a common book assignment […]

For-Profits, Community Colleges, and Adjuncting

| August 25, 2015

Martin Kich has a post up over at AAUP, questioning whether I have correctly diagnosed the source of “adjunctification” in U.S. higher education. As I noted in my last few posts, the growth in adjunct employment over the past several decades appears to be driven heavily by two factors: (1) the rise of For-Profit Higher […]

What’s really behind “adjunctification” in U.S. higher ed?

| August 24, 2015

In my last two posts I dissected some of the statistical trends of the U.S. higher ed job market, particularly as they pertain to the growth of part-time faculty over the past 40 years. As I noted the other day, most discussions about this topic are fraught with misconceptions and mythology, such as the claim that three […]

The Myth of the Adjunct Majority, continued

| August 22, 2015

My post last night about the “Myth of the 76% Adjunct Majority” generated a fair amount of discussion, including a lengthy response by Aaron Barlow of the Academeblog. At its core Barlow disagrees with my separation of adjunct faculty from other non-tenure track faculty, arguing instead that the two should be counted together as “contingent” faculty. […]

The Myth of the 76% Adjunct Majority

| August 21, 2015

If you’ve followed recent discussions of academic employment trends, you have probably encountered the claim that adjunct professors now comprise an astounding 76% of the academic workforce. This trope statistic is repeated in almost every single article about the “plight” of adjunct faculty and is even the premise of an adjunct unionization advocacy group that calls itself the “New […]

10 Airport Essentials for a Frequent Academic Traveler

| August 19, 2015

I travel frequently for academic conferences, speaking engagements, lectures, and the sort. While I don’t profess to be an expert in the airline mileage realm, I have adopted a number of practices that tend to make my life easier when on the road and in the air. In that spirit, I offer the following “tips” […]

A Note on Slavery and the Causes of Secession

| August 1, 2015

It is rare to see a discussion of civil war causality that does not turn at some point to the “secession declarations” of Mississippi, Georgia, Texas, and South Carolina. These statements from four of the original seven “deep south” states that created the Confederacy are among the most visible articulations of the pro-slavery cause from the Civil […]