Debra Rosenthal - 2014 FAC Representative


Division: Undergraduate Adelphi
Category: Collegiate
Program: Humanities/Philosophy


I received my BA in humanities from Florida Atlantic University and my MA in sociology and PhD in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton, with additional graduate and post-doc work in philosophy and medical ethics. I've written for and edited various political and philosophical journals and authored a book about the moral views of nuclear weapons scientists. 

I started teaching with UMUC’s Asian Division in 1989 and served as the Sociology/Government academic head until 1996. I joined the European Division in 1999. I've taught in the Philippines, Korea, Okinawa, the Kanto Plain, New Zealand, Italy, Greece, England, Bosnia, and Germany. If you're working for UMUC in the middle of nowhere, I may well have been there, too.

Now I'm full-time with the stateside division, teaching eight distance education courses a year at adjunct pay. A few years ago I authored a faculty petition about working conditions, educational quality, and the like; it received 200 signatures and caused quite a splash in the otherwise muckily complacent administrative pond.
I live in Monterey, California. My husband is in the Army in Iraq. I'm a certified Kripalu yoga teacher and collect tarot cards. This is the best photo ever taken of me; not recent (alas).

Nomination Essay

The FAC is our best hope for influencing the direction of the university. The administration apparently intends FAC to represent the faculty only symbolically. My ideal is for FAC to serve as a Faculty Senate, with authority to shape academic policies and to rein in, with veto power, inappropriate and ill-conceived administrative practices.
Many instructors and academic administrators are appalled by our increasingly standardized, mechanized, bureaucratized, and depersonalized classrooms. I think the university has little respect for faculty, period. Regaining our rightful place in education at UMUC requires a fighting spirit.

For FAC, pay and benefits should be top priority, with special attention to the dismal situation for adjuncts. To protect our self-respect and the value of a college education, we should also fight to preserve joy in teaching and learning. Joy is killed by over-large classes, standardized grading rubrics, mandatory standardized assignments, stale required materials, prescribed grade distributions, and dully routin-ized assessment. Without job security, academic freedom, and administrative support for experimentation and creativity, there is no true learning.

UMUC can make itself the biggest factory farm in education, but who wants to work in a factory farm? I know UMUC well, having taught for the school since 1989 and in all three divisions. Can faculty empower ourselves and form alliances with sympathetic administrators to protect ourselves and the quality of education at UMUC? I see that as the overarching question.