Academia Continues To Get Called Out By Their Own Stakeholders

We’ve been talking a lot about academia this summer and there’s another must-read entry that should go on your reading list. This one is from concert saxophonist and educator Lois Hicks-Wozniak, who recently wrote about her decision to resign from all three of her adjunct faculty positions. The reason was simple: lousy pay, lousy prospects, and lack of appreciation and acknowledgement.

Along with a pivot into lack of diversity among faculty and curriculum, she provides a good bit of detail into quantifying her decision. When she left her positions, she encouraged each school to replace her with a full-time position and the new hire should be BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People Of Color).

We should ask and demand change – even if it means the change doesn’t benefit us.

Students deserve faculty who are paid well and respected. Students deserve faculty who feel respected enough to truly be invested. Countless times I was advised to only teach the minimum. I couldn’t do that and students deserve more.

The more things change, the more they stay the same…until they don’t. Academia has been forced to deal with reckonings that have been generations in the making. #MeToo misconduct, skyrocketing tuition, and ethically dubious business arrangements have focused a degree of transparency traditional leadership simply can’t ignore.

Hopefully, we’ll see adjunct faculty employment arrangements rise to that same level.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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