Category Archives: higher education

April 7, 2015, 9:34 am

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien: On Changing Jobs

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I’m guessing Hannah Arendt was not chosen as our school mascot because of the smoking.

The other day I read a comment on Facebook to the effect that, after changing jobs, many academics experience a moment of intense regret. The author of the comment timed this moment of regret at about six months into the new job, when the losses and the difficulty of the transition becomes truly apparent. I would just like to take this opportunity to say, after three years of working in a new job:

Not me. I am happy as a clam.

I haven’t gone in the other direction either: I don’t think that my previous job was incredibly flawed. Although everyone collects grievances and regrets, mine seem to have vanished entirely, and I remember only the things I liked about working there (longtime readers of this blog will be shocked at…

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March 17, 2015, 8:00 am

Reading Around the Web

latlonlinesA few things that have crossed our desk last week, and we wanted to make sure they were on yours too.

  • Erik Loomis wants to know: what’s love got to do with it? In “Adjuncts“ (Lawyers, Guns and Money, March 12 2015.) Written on the occasion of National Adjunct Walkout Day, Loomis acknowledges many of the reasons, good and bad, that people stay in the game. However, he argues that these reasons aren’t good enough to stay in a business that stresses you out and does not pay a living wage: “to be honest, most adjuncts should also quit their jobs and find something else to do,” he writes.  I completely agree with this. Parenthetically, I am fascinated by the seriousness and lack of vitriol in the comments section. Past experience suggests that had I published such a piece at Tenured Radical, my computer screen would go up in flames. Hat tip: Historiann.
  • More questions: Margaret…

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January 21, 2015, 12:00 pm

How Tenured Radical Thinks The GOP Will Respond To Obama’s Plan For Free Community College

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November 29, 2014, 12:30 pm

Study says Humanities Ph.D. Candidates Should Drink More Coffee

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Ok, I lied. But you clicked on it, didn’t you?

Today we focus on yet another study, this one by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The AAAS injects new life into a tired conversation (one that has been going on intermittently for about five decades) about whether humanities Ph.D.s spend too much time in graduate school. What are they doing there? Should they do less of it? More? Should they do the same things — only faster? No one seems to know much, except that the median time to degree is 6.9 years.

As Colleen Flaherty of Inside Higher Ed noted last week, in a follow up to the MLA’s 2014 report that recommended a five-year Ph.D. clock “with wiggle room” (perhaps two years of wiggling?), AAAS is suggesting that humanities graduate students might benefit more generally from a shorter time to degree.

Among the key findings is that the median time is longer in the…

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November 5, 2014, 11:36 am

What Would Phyllis Schlafly Do? A Grassroots Education Policy for 2016

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While you were talking about Lena Dunham, Phyllis and her friends were getting the vote out.

You know that political culture is in complete disarray when large numbers of feminists, who otherwise believe that every other issue they hold dear will be put in jeopardy by a Republican Congress, are arguing about whether Lena Dunham is a sexual predator (or not) rather than getting the vote out on Election Day. I didn’t see one Facebook post in my circle from academics who were pounding the streets, working the phones, or driving the elderly to the polls one at a time.

Could we progressives get over cultural politics that divert us from actual policy agendas and electing knowledgeable people who know how to govern? This is the greatest weakness in both parties right now, but in this round it was the Democrats who to…

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October 26, 2014, 7:47 am

Academic Life Made Simple: Five Things to Think About

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Thinking about behavior and attitudes that are taken for granted in the academy can be useful.

These are not the only five things, but here goes:

When discussing a problem at your university with colleagues, think twice before laying wholesale blame on “the administration.” You might ask: when there are so many administrators to blame for so many things, why not? Here’s why: other than alienating lots of decent, hard-working administrators who actually make our work lives possible, even poorly functioning universities are not made up of opposing teams scoring points on each other. Some administrators will publicly support policies they disagree with, and oppose privately, because that is the expectation in a hierarchical organization. In addition, blaming a faceless “other” actually impedes what needs to…

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September 21, 2014, 10:43 am

Becuz the Marketplace? Obama Administration Persists In Higher Ed Fumble

reality is overratedIn today’s New York Times, Susan Dynarski politely explains why the latest Obama administration plan to address the high cost of college without any public finding is a neoliberal farce. Because affording higher ed is all about having the information to make responsible choices! Once you know that, is there anything else the federal government could do?

Well, one strategy would be to not misrepresent the origins of the tuition problem: shrinking public dollars for higher education. Dynarski frames this about as clearly as an education writer could without saying outright that  covering up cost-shifting to students and their parents is a scandal of epic proportions, and the Obama administration is now complicit in that scandal by offering up a version of Consumer Reports and hoping that no one notices for at least two years that it is not a plan. It is not a policy either, except …

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September 16, 2014, 10:03 pm

University News Roundup: Blood, Ashes, Rape and Murder

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It’s. On. The. Syllabus.

The semester is off to a great start! In university news, we have:

He Is The One Who Knocks: The Washington Times reports that Georgetown undergrad Daniel Milzman has pleaded guilty to manufacturing the deadly poison ricin, and will be sentenced on November 10. Prosecutors claim he got the idea from the hit teevee series “Breaking Bad.” Colleagues: has the chemistry major been spiking since this show became a hit? Are your students suddenly turning up managing the local car wash? Enquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday: Cleveland.com reports that the president of the Ohio University student senate was challenged to the ALS ice bucket thingie by OU President Roderick McDavis. All in good fun, right? Not so fast. On September 2, Megan Marzec posted a video of herself…

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August 2, 2014, 7:09 pm

Do Attendance Policies Discriminate Against Disability?

Our Gang-School's OutLast week’s post on sending your kids off to college as independent souls hit a nerve. Read the comments for a lot of great conversation.

However, the blogger sillylegal, a recent graduate of a liberal arts college, thought the post was sorely lacking in its attention to the needs and rights of disabled students.  Perhaps it was, as I mentioned disability not at all, nor did I pay attention to the other ways that students are different from each other. I think sillylegal misread parts of the post, or perhaps just mischaracterized as we bloggers sometimes do when we write in haste, and I want to underline some choices I made when writing it. For example I deliberately did not use the phrase “helicopter parents” in the post, since the vast majority of parents mean well and it’s easier to reach people if you don’t mock them. For a similar reason, I did not characterize students who do…

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July 28, 2014, 1:06 pm

Bye-Bye Birdies: Sending The Kids Away to College

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They grow up so fast if you let them

All over the United States, slowly but surely, families are preparing for the ritual of Sending the Kid to College. Some will be living at home and going to a local four-year or community college; other young people will be taking the big leap to living away from home for the first time.

By September, one of the biggest topics for discussion — and one of the biggest gripes — among many college faculty will be how emotionally, and practically, underprepared many of your kids are for their freshman year. Although I now teach the non-traditional, adult students who are becoming the majority of undergraduates, for years I welcomed fresh-faced 18 year olds whose academic preparation often far exceeded their ability to navigate school independently of their parents.

The major…

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