Book by: Martin, Randy, (Ed.).
Review by: Mike Ramos
Office of Career Services
Lawrence Technological University
Randy Martin’s Chalk Lines seeks to help the reader develop an understanding of the faculty work environment. Written as a continuation of a Social Text special issue, 8 of this text’s 12 chapters were originally published in 1997. This volume continues with faculty reactions to corporate style management of academic work. Divided into three sections, the text provides a glimpse into the plethora of factors that impact the faculty experience.
Broad systematic overviews of work environments within higher education are provided in the section entitled “The Whole Business” where authors provide viewpoints through social, political, and historical lens. Gary Rhoades and Sheila Slaughter contribute an insightful discussion regarding the environmental contexts affecting academic work. Zelda Gamson continues with an intriguing snapshot of the inequalities created by a research culture. Articles in “The Academy’s Labor” look at faculty work in higher education, the increased use of adjuncts, and faculty expectations based upon rank and institutional type. In the section “Siting specifics, Striking Back” Emily Hacker and Ira Yankwitt discuss educational goals and the challenges within a federal outreach adult literacy program where educational priorities are due to the evolving expectations of the academic workplace.
Changes in faculty work impact professionals who enhance students’ classroom learning. As such, student development professionals have been called upon to enhance the undergraduate experience through partnerships with academic affairs (Engstrom & Tinto, 2000). Chalk Lines provides insight for advising professionals who would like to develop educational alliances that integrate classroom learning and purposeful co-curricular activities. These activities can only occur through development of strong strategic relationships with faculty who see support services as complementing their curricular work. Understanding faculty and the environment in which they work is the foundation for building these relationships. Depending on the specific campus, an advising professional can use ideas presented in Chalk Lines to assess faculty openness to professional advising staff. Chalk Lines, combined with general institutional history and an understanding of campus faculty/ administration relations, can assist advising professionals in devising successful methods for approaching faculty and implanting academic support programs. One note of caution, while Chalk Lines can suggest possible ideas, advisors must think contextually before any practical application can take place.
Engstrom C. H. & Tinto. V. (2000) Developing partnerships with academic affairs to enhance
student learning. In The Handbook of Student Affairs Administration 2nd Edition by Margaret J Barr, Mary K Desler,, and associates (pp 425-452), San Francisco, CA Jossey-Bass
Chalk-Lines: The politics of Work in the Managed University.
Book by Martin, Randy, (Ed.). Mike Ramos. Duke University Press. 313 pp., (paperback). ISBN 08223-2249-8.