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"All Work and No Pay": article draft by Roosevelt Fitzgerald






From the Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers (MS-01082) -- Drafts for the Las Vegas Sentinel Voice file. On University systems' failure to reward certain faculty.

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man001051. Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers, 1890-1996. MS-01082. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Whether we choose to close our eyes to it or not, we have a racial problem in this country—in every community of this country—that not only will not just go away but will grow worse.
Now, before the hairs stand up on the back of your necks, let me say that I know you've grown weary of this—that you are sick-and-tired of hearing about it. Here's a flash for you; I'm more sick and tired of it than everybody who is sick and tired of it combined.
After all these years it would seem that we would've brought closure to this matter but, as Paul Lukas said in the film "Berlin Express"" "Sometimes I think we will never get together on this Earth until we find somebody on Mars to hate." That film was released in 1948--forty two years ago--and it seems that his views are just as on the mark today as ever. Seventeen years later, when "Star Trek" first aired, his comment seemed much more believable. There, we are indeed earthlings and, collectively, our enemy are Cleons.
In case you're wondering what this is all about, it has to do with responsibilities and the big pay-off. I am beginning my twentieth year at UNLV and I am faced with a dilemma. It has to do with evaluations, promotions and merit pay increases.
Within most university systems, faculty members are evaluated, yearly, in three categories; research/scholarly publications, teaching and service. I imagine that we've heard the saying which applies to professors; "publish or perish." It is very difficult being successful in this category. Research is time consuming and even after having done so, compiling and organizing the data into a scholarly piece of work is not easy. To write two or three scholarly papers per year is quite an accomplishment. Still, having done that, to have an article accepted for publication, on a yearly basis, is just short of being miraculous. One publication every two to three years is about
average. Some, however, are more fortunateH There are those few who manage to have anywhere from one to four or five articles per year accepted for publication. Further, they might publish a book review or so each year. In addition to or in lieu of actual publications, we might be able to have a paper or two accepted for presentation at a professional meeting. All of this contributes to one's success or failure in the area of research/publicat- ion. Merely researching and writing and not having anything accepted for actual publication or presentation is the equivalent of shooting blanks when it comes to good evaluations, promotions or merit salary increases.
The second category is teaching. Each of us is required to teach so many classes each semester/year. Our teaching is evaluated by our students. There is no peer evaluations. Near the end of each semester, students are given forms and thereupon they note their evaluation of each.class in which they are enrolled. There are areas for written comments and an area for a letter grade to be ascribed. Generally speaking, students who themselves have performed well and are receiving good grades are generous with their evaluations. Those who fare poorly, since their having done poorly is someone else's fault, evaluate the class poorly. Overall GPAs of less than a grade of "B" on student evaluations is not considered satisfactory and thereby not meritorious.
To be a good teacher requires day-in and day-out effort. Preparation time for an ordinary fifty minute class may be several hours. For three classes daily, we are looking at several hours times three. Anymore, a class must be not only informative but also entertaining. With many students a decent evaluation of a class is determined more often by its entertainment aspects than by it informational qualities.
Clearly, we can see that the time factors for each of these two categories are great. However, time must be found for the third category; service. This category has two segments; university service and community service. Each
faculty member is expected to be active in committee involvement on the campus at either departmental, ollege or university levels. One does not, however, just get on a committee. One must be elected. While the elections are done democratically, the process frequently includes many out, as Sam Goldwyn would say. We find that there are some who serve on several committees and some who serve on none. Those who do not, obviously do not have a meritorious record as far as university service goes.
Community service is an entirely different matter. This category includes serving on boards, community talks, popular publications and things of that sort. Generally, most faculty might do from three to six public talks per year. With approximately 500 faculty this translates to anywhere from 1500- 3000 public talks campus wide.
Thus far, everything which has been described has been generally equal for all faculty. This latter category, however, does present a particular problem for minority faculty and that problem is intensified for those in Ethnic Studies and that is magnified for me. Historically, I have presented anywhere from 50-100 public talks each year. Most faculty would not dream of doing so many and, in most cases, there is no pressing need to do so. Most, in fact, will say, that those faculty who do much in the way of community service have little time to do research and publication. In addition to that number of public talks, I also contribute, on a weekly basis, to a local minority community newspaper; "The Sentinel/Voice". During the school year, I write a weekly twelve hundred word article for the school newspaper; "The Yellin' Rebel." All of this has a direct bearing on the racial problem mentioned out the outset of this article.
Las Vegas' population is approaching one million. The overwhelming percentage of that population has never formally been instructed in the histories and/or cultures of minority people. I am frequently asked to do
talks on minority cultures and history. Interestingly enough, the overwhelm-
ing numbers of those requests are not from minority organizations. Yearly, I might do an average of a dozen talks with minority organizations. The remainder is with such groups as the Seroptomists, Sertomas, Lions, Kwannis, Chamber of Commerce, Jaycees, Masons, Business Womens, Insurance Womens, church, Clark County School District, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, Environmental Protection, REECO, Department of Energy, U.S. Forest Service, National Parks Service, Boulder City Library, television stations, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Academy, synagogues, womens groups, and many others.
It is necessary that I do these because they need to be done. The racial climate in this country will change whether we continue to do nothing or not. Colleagues have recommended to me that I should curtail my involvement in those community activities. I've been told that such activity does hot warrant meritorious consideration. I know for a fact that I do not get paid by any of those groups for any of the work that I do with them. My dilemma is I do a lot of work but it doesn't pay. I do manage to present a paper or two at professional meetings each year. I also manage to get at least one publication per year in a scholarly journal. If I were to minimize my community activity and maximize my research activity I could publish, possibly, three or four scholarly papers per year. It would impact my earning capability to the tune of 300% of what it currently is.
If the university's perception of my community activities is to change, it will require input from the community. The community, in short, will solve my dilemma by convincing the university that what I do there is in fact necessary. Failing that, I will just have to minimize community activities and maximize my research because the price of my cigars has jumped from 72<f to 95<f and I'm going to either have to give up smoking or make more money.
I like cigars.