I knew some famous folks got hired to teach classes, but I guess I thought they'd be making a whole lot more money than this article suggests. It says, for example,
for Mr. Spitzer’s weekly seminar, which he taught from fall 2009 to spring 2012, he was paid slightly less than $5,000 a semester, which he donated to the school after other professors said it was on the high side of what adjuncts earn. Mr. Spitzer, who said he sought to make his students “both enjoy and learn how to think about questions at several different levels,” described the experience as a “huge joy, every week.”That's high for an adjunct, certainly, but a drop in the bucket compared to what he's used to earning or earns if he takes a high level law firm job, no?
I was interested in how students found the teaching. Here's what one student had to say about Spitzer:
One of his students, Melissa Lynch, said he was one of her best teachers and he encouraged the class to call him on his cellphone if they had questions about readings. When it came to the mechanics of running a class, however, “he didn’t really seem to know what he was doing.” The class required one writing assignment, “but he didn’t know if it should be 2 pages or 30 pages,” she said, adding, “He kept asking us, ‘What do other professors do?’ ”
I think it's telling that he didn't have a clue about how to run a class. It's one thing to talk or lead a discussion about something you know well (and I'm guessing all these folks know their old business well, even if they made stupid mistakes to cause whatever scandal). It's amusing that he invited them to call him on his cellphone. I'm guessing he's not doing a 200 person lecture, eh? Or teaching four classes at a time.
The schools inviting these folks to teach make sense; they're mostly in or near New York or some other big city, which is where these folks are likely to be living anyway. (Yeah, it would be fun to see the Compass Point State in the Upper Midwest convince one of them to come as an adjuct.)
David Petraeus will be teaching in both New York and LA. I'm guessing that his adjuct salary wouldn't even cover the semester's airfare in economy, and I'm guessing he doesn't fly economy. Special arrangements?
I'm sure students are pretty excited to be taught by famous instructors. And I'm willing to bet in some cases they're getting a really great experience. I'm not sure that's always the case, though, and I wonder how the grades these instructors assign compare with grades in similar classes at these schools? I'm guessing even without terminal degrees (and some of them certainly seem to have terminal degrees), their experience makes them qualified to teach within their specific areas.
It would be weird beyond belief to be in a faculty meeting with someone like that, though, wouldn't it? I mean, we have a few sleeze cases, but they aren't sleeze cases whose sleeze has been publicized widely.