Monday, May 23, 2005

Tom Lammer's Letter

As a UWO professor, I was appalled by the ignorance of university life displayed by your editorial of 22 May. It is one thing to opine that we ought to teach more classes, but it is irresponsible to base that opinion on such a sorry misunderstanding of facts.

The persistent reference to university faculty as "teachers" by itself betrays a lack of comprehension of what a university professor does. We are not hired by the State of Wisconsin as teachers only. According to the standards by which we are judged for promotion and tenure, we are less than one-half "teachers." We are specifically required to spend more time conducting scholarly research and being of service to the larger community. These are the stipulations under which the people of Wisconsin employ us, and, more importantly, they are the criteria by which we are judged. If we failed to do this, we would be derelict in our duty and subject to dismissal.

At its heart, the editorial asks university professors to do more work for the same pay. This should concern any working person because if it can be expected of university professors, why not others? Why should not workers in manufacturing and retail sales put in a 48-hour week for the same pay? Why should we not have mail delivery and garbage pick-up seven days a week for the same pay? Would anyone for one minute consider that fair?

Tom Lammers

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