Rethinking The Academy:

The Project

In a private conversation, James J. Sosnoski has suggested that we can find other ways to organize our work lives.

As he noted, one possibility for the reorganization of the academic environment is the division of labor not into fields but into projects, in which work completed is the criterion for success and not necessarily the publication as it is now.

People interested in common goals would come together for a limited time and work through and on a given set of goals; faculty and staff would be compensated through a combination of salary and of credit towards tenure and promotion while students would receive academic credit for course work, assistantships, and hourly wages for their work.

In this way, people at all academic levels could come together for the time necessary to set up a web page, build a MOO, or complete other tasks necessary to the ongoing life of the university. It would not be necessary or desirable for all the people in the group to have the same department affiliation; indeed, they would not have to have the same institutional affiliation.

Given the ease of communication through cyberspace, members of a group could live and work anywhere that was convenient so long as phone and cable connections were available.

Of course, there are obvious difficulties with such an arrangement, but it does provide an alternative to tenure.

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Last Modified: August 2, 1996

Copyright 1996 by Keith Dorwick