Higher Education Webinars

The Education of Oronte Churm

Oronte Churm is the pen name of John Griswold, who teaches in the MFA program at McNeese State University, proudly nestled in Cajun country on the Louisiana Gulf.

April 27, 2007 - 5:43pm
I may have the best deal in all of adjunctdom. My teaching load is 3/3, and I have full health coverage. My pay is only $20,000 less than if I was on the tenure track at Hinterland, doing the same thing. If I were tenured, with my current time in service, I’d be making double what I am now. I’m often asked to teach 400-level independent studies, for free, and I serve on committees and constantly mentor university-scholar students in an attempt to be a good departmental citizen. I even go to the director’s bonfire parties, when tenured faculty don’t bother to show.
April 25, 2007 - 7:59am
When I was accepted to grad school, I had a big problem: In order to get my fellowship, I’d have to teach. I’d always been terrified of public speaking. As an undergrad I talked my Speech-Comm TA into letting me write papers instead of making required speeches. (Convincing him took rhetorical skill, right?)
April 23, 2007 - 9:57am
For those who don't know, I write somewhat regular dispatches for McSweeney's Internet Tendency. There's a new one up today. The earlier ones are all here.
April 20, 2007 - 2:58pm
It’s old news that many libraries suffer for lack of money. After September 11th, Hinterland’s investment portfolio tanked with the rest of the economy, and the state cut funds across the board. Some of that is coming back, but years of budget shortfalls and inflation have had their effect.
April 19, 2007 - 3:17pm
Some of you have written to ask how I, a writing teacher, feel about the creative writing connection in the Virginia Tech killings. I have many things to say but want to be very careful not to use this disaster to point fingers or advance a cause.
April 17, 2007 - 3:09pm
Our deepest sympathies go to those at Virginia Tech and their families. Violence on any campus is an attack on our own learning communities and a betrayal of the underlying hope that education represents. Please join us in offering condolences. 
April 13, 2007 - 8:32am
This is the second interview in a series.Two years ago I had an e-mail from another adjunct on campus. He wanted to audit a creative-writing class I was teaching, and I said if he could stand it, I could too.
April 10, 2007 - 7:02pm
Robert Olen Butler’s recent writing-advice book, From Where You Dream, warns of the difficulties of being a literary artist instead of, say, a basketball player:
April 8, 2007 - 3:36pm
My wife and I will soon open part of our home as Churm House, an inn for wayward academics.
April 3, 2007 - 8:33pm
We have a brilliant young scholar friend whose critical mind won’t rest. Last summer he performed a Marxist critique of Thomas the Tank Engine while our kids watched the videos at our feet. (“’They’re the really useful crew?’” he said as the theme song began. “It’s a lesson in class identity. Relations of production!”) He’s also written about James Bond and told me how Bond’s capitalist fetish for commodities went hand-in-hand with an empire’s “license to kill.”

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