Colonialism and Ethnocentrism in Higher Education

Bureaucrats Discriminate Against Faculty who are US Citizens

This post will address three issues that involve faculty from countries other than the United States.

  • Bureaucrats replace faculty who are American citizens with foreign nationals as a way of saving money and holding ultimate power over international faculty.
  • Bureaucrats search the world for students to increase revenue.
  • American citizens are discriminated against by departments that have a majority,  if not one hundred percent,  international faculty from a single country.
Typical bureaucrat lording it over faculty.

Typical bureaucrat lording it over faculty.

Like slave owners of the eighteenth century, newly-minted Presidents and other bureaucrats in higher education aim to find professors who will work for virtually nothing.  Adjunct and online instructors are evidence of this fiscal, not academic, priority.  This has lead to a barrage of hiring full-time faculty from other countries while Ph.D.’s in the United States languish in the part-time lane.

Many times the credentials and abilities are not checked or verified.  If they have the correct degree, that is all the bureaucrat needs.  Quality is often not an issue.  This process creates a “slave” who often hails from a developing country.  If they are marginally qualified, then they cannot find a job at another university.  So the bureaucrats hire people and, often, tenure these people but never allow them to be promoted to full professor.  One professor I knew from a developing country was hired as an instructor and stayed there for his entire career.  They are caught!

I tried to help a Muslim friend from a developing country to achieve promotion.  He did everything I suggested, and more, but his college would not promote him.  He was stuck!  And internationals have very little power on campus because they fear losing their job and being sent back to their home country.  They won’t contribute neither will they criticize an unjust policy.  They hide in their silence.  They would never sign a petition to overthrow a President.

In a quick look on the net, an entering Assistant Professor in India would make about 6000 Rupee or $1oo dollars. ( http://www.naukrihub.com/salary-in-india/assistant-professor.html) The article does not specify if this is monthly or yearly.  Pay varies from country to country but many faculty from other countries think that $45,000 a year will make them wealthy.  I have Indian friends who told me that they thought the United States was a country of the wealthy, but they never found that wealth.  Eventually they went back to India where the cost of living is much less than in the United States.

The opposite has also happened at universities where I have been employed.  I have watched bureaucrats bring in international faculty (mostly females and males of color) because they said that they could not find a US citizen that could do the job.  They had been cited for an all-male-white-skin faculty by accrediting organizations.  To meet the expectations of these accrediting bodies they looked to developing countries.  Those international faculty were brought in at higher wages than all the rest of us because they were helping that college or that department to achieve accreditation.  This is also a form of underhanded discrimination.  They hire faculty, not because of their excellence, but to meet a political/fiscal need. And then they discriminate against faculty from their own country, by paying them less.  Those fast and furious hires are also often stuck, and cannot earn the wage of a full professor.

I have served on committees with many international professors.  On one specific committee,  not a single international could write a sentence in good English.  I was in shock.  Years later I served on another committee with one of the internationals, and he still could not compose a good English sentence free from grammatical and spelling errors.  Students regularly came to me and told me that they could not understand what their international professors were saying, nor did they understand what they were writing.  Many took the same class offered by these international teachers at a community college  because they could understand the instructor at the community college.

Students

What will students do next?  No one knows?

What will students do next? No one knows?

Professors and students  from other countries have different goals and values than the most US professors.  Their cultures operate differently.  It was not uncommon for an international student to try and bribe me in some way for something.  Again, a shock!  One semester, I had five students from a very wealthy Mediterranean country bring me gifts with the expectation that I should change their failing grades.

 

Bribing professors is customary for some students.

Bribing professors is customary for some students.

Tuition is much higher for international students.  It can cost non-residents almost three times as much as residents.  So that is a bonus for bureaucrats.  One international student may equal three local students in revenue.  This saves.  Bureaucrats do not need to house students and provide larger classrooms.

In some departments pressure is placed on faculty to give international students better grades than they deserve.  If they fail everyone from a certain country, then the revenue stream might dry up.  Oh my!  This is an indirect means of discriminating against international students.  They are sent back to their country as if they are high achievers, when in reality, many may have barely scratched their way to a degree.  And one country at my previous appointment discovered what was happening, and would no longer fund students to come to that US university.

I tried to friend international students for years, but they could not understand me on the phone.  When I met with them, they could not speak English or understand my English.  Hand signals are not enough upon which to build a relationship.

Departments who only hire their own!

I have been interviewed at a university where the entire faculty in the department were from Canada.  In the interview, I was asked if I knew about the law that suggested that competent US citizens should be hired when in competition with internationals.  I told them that I had heard about the law and affirmed that I thought that the law was just.  At that time, I did not know that all of the faculty were from Canada.  The job I interviewed for was given to a Canadian, so the Canadians continued to control an academic department in the United States.  Why even bother to interview others that don’t fit the model?

This happens at many institutions.  Internationals are hired and then they bring their friends or family members to the United States and hire them as professors.  US citizens cannot penetrate these departments, and if they do, the departmental culture forces them to move on to something else.

This is happening all over the country, where internationals are preferred to US citizens.  There is a very good article published by ABC news, Huma Khan, “Are Americans Losing High-Skilled Jobs to Foreigners?”  (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/02/are-americans-losing-high-skilled-jobs-to-foreigners/)  While the article does not address professors, it raises the issue of languishing Americans who are sidelined from the American dream by internationals who are hired for less.

We need multiple points of view on everything.

We need multiple points of view on everything.

Some who read this may think that I am ethnocentric.  I am not.  I grieve for the hundreds and thousands of Ph.D.’s who end up teaching part-time and trying to make a living at a discipline they love.  I do believe in diversity but not to the detriment of my own country and its people.

My career centered on bringing the world to my students.  I wanted my students to learn to appreciate others, their values, ethics, and their faiths.  I wanted them to open the door to the unknown and embrace something different.  I never imagined that multiculturalism or diversity would involve the wholesale slavery of people from developing nations.

Below is an excellent post on how higher education has been destroyed in the United States.  I resonate with the authors on most of the issues.  Read it!  It is worth the time.

http://junctrebellion.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/how-the-american-university-was-killed-in-five-easy-steps/

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