They care about humans

clearing a very, very low bar

Good morning friends,

So many things were published or spoken or organized this week that I ended up with a newsletter that has a) no theme and b) too much content. I hope you’ll read through it all, though, because it made me feel hopeful.

Proud of everyone in higher ed taking action this week (and, um, everyone who is spending the weekend in bed).

Wishing a happy holiday to those who have something to celebrate.


Hannah for the VFC

One year of boards.

This week in feelings

Take this week's feelings survey

A lot of you are struggling with the exhaustion of a full pandemic year:

I'm burned out.

the unbearable heaviness of academia

starting to feel the full trauma of the past year now.

nearly completely tuned out of academia. None of it feels important.

And in particular, the endless grind of academic productivity:

exhausted by peers who seem to be keeping the foot on the productivity pedal during a pandemic

I just can't seem to focus or get anything done.

Sometimes I need to get things done, and I just . . . don't.

just thinking about my dissertation makes me instantly sad lol

But also, yes, there is some creeping in of good feelings this week:

Fully vaccinated, getting out of this house at last! 💕

So many people writing about feelings

  • “At this point feelings are the unsung hero of the pandemic’s resolution.” — Stephanie Malak wrote about the VFC and Oh Hello Again for LARB 🦆

  • “If care studies is a discipline, and I think that it is, it is crucial to ground this work in the centering of lived experience, collaborative thinking, and collective justice.” — CARE Syllabus and Insurrect in conversation 🐞

  • “What has surprised me is the very belated, and still grudgingly inadequate, recognition by the historical profession of a crisis that is now fifty years old.” — The Academic Jobs Crisis, A Forum edited by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations 🌱

Identity, Community, Belonging 🦄

The institution is so big, and so structured, that it can be really scary to try to maintain yourself. — Everything about this talk is amazing; it gets into higher ed specifically at 55 minutes.

virginia tech statement on caregiving

So a dean at Virginia Tech published a statement on the impact of caregiving on college campuses, which we have mixed feelings about. The bar on caregiving is so low that literally saying it exists earns you a gold star. 🌟 Are these commitments mostly directed at t/tt faculty? Yes. Are they mostly about encouraging people to think about taking action rather than actually taking actual action? Also yes.

  • Increased flexibility

  • Improved communication around medical leave

  • Job responsibility adjustments (for faculty only)

  • Caregiver inclusion on pandemic taskforces

  • Reduction of service loads

  • Plan to reinvigorate research agendas

  • recognizing that future pay inequities and delayed progression toward promotion may arise from pandemic-related tenure clock stoppages

  • encouraging college, school, and departmental leaders to poll their faculty and staff on the desirability of avoiding the scheduling of required meetings or essential service duties on Wednesdays this fall, when schools in the Montgomery County Public Schools district will be closed.

duke university press is unionizing

Solidarity with everyone who works in academic publishing and scholarly communications, and especially those working to unionize at DUP. 🐞

Constant turnover, extended vacancies, disruptive reorganizations, lack of professional growth opportunities, patterns of discrimination, inconsistent enforcement of policies, and compensation that is not commensurate with our quality of work and years of experience as professionals […] have all contributed in various ways to make working at DUP harder than it should be. Departments should be fully staffed so tasks can be completed within a regular work week. Worker contributions should be recognized by management and appropriately considered during the performance evaluation process and as a factor in shaping career growth and development. Policies should recognize us as whole people striving to lead full, healthy lives and should be clearly enumerated and applied equitably across the press regardless of who you are, who your supervisors are, or what they think of you.  — read the statement