Three thoughts are weighing on me. First, the switch to online teaching last week was an emergency measure, carried out at the university level by deans and provosts with good intentions, for the most part with little or no meaningful faculty input or debate. This was a big step in the decades-long systems decay of faculty governance — this time over the historically sacrosanct area of faculty control over curriculum. How are we all defining success? As we start to prepare for the fall, how will faculty and administrators assess next steps?
Second, the new online landscape is shaping up to be a gig economy. Where do full-time jobs fit in?
Third, thinking of the classroom in particular and the college in general as a site of intellectual, political, social, and personal change and evolution, how will faculty be able to model styles of life and thought in real time, not as custodians or arbiters or moderators of knowledge but as human beings that students come to know and take seriously as pursuing alternative ways of being in the world? I’ve often thought that the most useful minutes I’ve spent in classrooms both as a student and as a teacher are the ten minutes before and after the “official” class -- those moments when student and teacher connect as human beings.