We need coalitions of the sane to lead discussions about what can reasonably be expected of academics, to recruit and promote accordingly and to mentor younger academics into a way of thinking that says: “Enough is enough. If you want to do extra, we won’t reward you for it.”
You might assume that institutions run by coalitions of the sane would automatically fall behind those run by further achievers. But think again. Universities vitally depend on academics’ ability to productively use their intellect, curiosity and creativity. In business-speak, ensuring a sane working environment therefore safeguards their supply of academic human resources.
A dairy farmer might streamline his delivery routes or negotiate discounts on milk bottles. He won’t run the health of his cows into the ground by demanding that they produce ever greater yields. But that, in essence, is what universities are currently doing to their academics. Fingers crossed that voices like Schell’s will wake them up to how counterproductive that is – preferably before the cows come home.
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