Tag Archives: academia

July 4, 2008, 6:07 pm

Letting teaching and research feed each other

Good article here at the Chronicle on balancing teaching with research, from a neuroscience professor who makes it work for him.

The reality of modern academe is that, no matter what your institutional affiliation, the time you can devote to research is being squeezed by multiple competing demands. No simple solution to that problem exists for any of us. But I have found that rethinking the nature of our professional commitments, such that teaching activities bleed into research ones (and vice versa), can be an effective way to reduce the time crunch. Academics describe their workload of scholarship, teaching, and service as if those were entirely separate entities. In reality, the line between teaching and research is usually much fuzzier.

Read the whole thing, in which Prof. Gendle writes at length about the potentially prosperous symbiosis between teaching and research. He points out …

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July 4, 2008, 8:28 am

If I were the university president… (v. 2)

…then I might be driven to drink because of the job stress, but I don’t think I would drive around drunk either:

The president of the University of Evansville was arrested for driving while intoxicated Wednesday evening.

Stephen Jennings, who has been president since 2001 at the dry campus, was driving with a blood-alcohol content nearly twice the level at which a driver is considered intoxicated, according to a probable cause affidavit posted online by the Evansville Courier and Press.[...]

“I have obviously made a very serious mistake, and I apologize to the campus community and the community at large,” Jennings said in the statement. “I will take every necessary action to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Jennings pleaded guilty to two counts of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated Thursday morning via video from the Vanderburgh County Jail, according to court records….

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April 10, 2008, 9:41 pm

Handling academic dishonesty

Virusdoc, always the prolific commenter, has left another comment that raises the issue of how a professor should actually deal with academic dishonesty when it occurs. What follows is my own procedure for handling these situations; I’m sure it’s not perfect, and I’m open to suggestions for improvement, but it’s worked pretty well for me over the years. 

The overall strategy for dealing with academic dishonesty is that the students involved should be confronted with the issue promptly after it’s been discovered, given a chance to give their side of the story, and then the professor can move forward on the dual basis of the evidence in front of her/him and the student’s own statements. This strategy is opposed to two other possible strategies: 

  • Avoiding doing anything about the academic dishonesty at all, either by simply looking the other way and pretending it didn’t happen, or else…

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January 8, 2008, 8:53 am

Never mind the gap

A study out of Canada suggests that students who put off going to college are not at a disadvantage in the job market later, as long as they complete their degrees once they start:

The researchers sought to find out if delaying post-secondary education had any effect on the labour market experiences of Canadian youth. What they discovered was that finishing a degree or diploma was more important than when it was started. [...]

The highest employment rates were found for youth who had followed the college route – either with a gap or without-and for youth who delayed university but finished a degree. Both rates were around 85 per cent. The employment rate for university graduates in the cohort who started their degree immediately was just below 80 per cent.

One possible explanation for the difference between the university graduates is that gappers may have had more opportunity to work …

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October 8, 2007, 3:34 pm

Academic dishonesty again

OK, commenters, you win. My proposal for extending the punishment for academic dishonesty is probably too draconian fascist much like walking the plank strict. Even if I fixed the “five-game suspension” problem for athletes, I admit most students caught in academic dishonesty aren’t cold-blooded cheaters but basically good people who are naive to the ways of college and have gotten themselves talked into thinking that cheating is acceptable if one can sort of morally justify it. And as such, they don’t need the full force of the sanctions that I proposed to get the lesson across.

But at least at my college, the professor reserves the right to suggest withholding parts of the standard penalty for academic dishonesty. While I always report academic dishonesty to the Dean, and while I have done so at least once a semester ever since I started working here, in fact I have almost never…

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October 2, 2007, 8:54 pm

Getting tough on cheaters

My college’s official policy on academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, and the like) goes as follows. When a student is “convicted” of academic dishonesty on a course assignment and it is their first offense, then:

  • The student receives an automatic “0″ on the assignment.
  • The student’s final letter grade in the course is reduced by one full letter. (An earned B- becomes a C-, etc.)

And should the student ever commit academic dishonesty a second time, the student is expelled.

This policy is pretty typical of a lot of colleges. But I am beginning to think it doesn’t go far enough. Here’s what I am thinking ought to happen to a student caught in academic dishonesty:

  • The student gets a grade of “0″ on the assignment and a reduction of one letter on the final grade, as is currently the case.
  • The student is barred for one year from holding any officer position in any official…

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September 25, 2007, 9:11 am

Colleges are neither families nor churches

Patrick Henry College in Virginia has become something of a lightning rod for criticism among higher education types because of its commitment to conservative political and religious principles and because of its high profile. Some of this criticism is perhaps justified, for example the requirement to affirm a literal six-day creation. But say what you want about PHC, you have to like this statement that I found on their web site:

Patrick Henry College is neither a church, nor a family. We are here to support these two institutions in the lives of our students, not supplant either of them.

Our support for the local church begins with both our requirement that students attend a local church on Sunday as well as our purposeful decision to not create our own campus church with its own Sunday services. We support the continuing role of the parents in the lives of our students in ways that …

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