With social media craze and higher education crisis as parents, the hashtags #alt-ac, #post-ac, and #para-ac refer to people classified by their work, level of education, and attitude toward the academy, who opt or aim for careers across the public and private, employee and entrepreneur work spaces within and without higher education, and who by some lights are laying foundation for a new academy.
Precisely because the traits and trials they share are excellent material for movement beyond the pale of union represented faculty employ, I ask “acers” to consider this question:
Suppose there was in place an alternative model, or #alt-mod, for higher education that facilitated the education, research, and community work of academics through independent private practice directed and protected by professional association and social contract - as occurs in the work lives of attorneys, dentists, accountants or psychiatrists - would you or someone you know choose such a professional academic career path?
To better inform your response consider that this model is also foundation for a new academy with opportunity for all interested individuals to provide traditional faculty services from without the limited, exploitive employ of higher education institutions. Through professional licensure and private practice academics exercise entrepreneurial control over their work, including (but not limited to): where, when and how to provide service; what students, research and community service to take on; how much to charge for service; publication rate; and peer partnership.
The professional #alt-mod need not replace the current career paths of acers or the institutional provision of higher education, but presents a viable complement with economic advantages to institutions and society. It is simply another path that some might find attractive in the exercise of their right to earn a living, while improving higher education for students and society.
I am an acer and we are well suited to the proposed professional model. Nowviski describes us asinnovators, iconoclasts, entrepreneurs, and explorers. Unbound by convention we are thick-skinned and courageous. We are driven, self-motivated, self-reliant and innovative. And we face employment options that serve as incentive to create and embrace alternatives.