Category Archives: higher education

October 26, 2014, 7:47 am

Academic Life Made Simple: Five Things to Think About

good-job-not-done-anything-stupid-in-five-minutes-funny-retro-poster

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

cartoon of dad and baby

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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July 7, 2014, 10:45 am

We Will Bring Everyone: Abolishing “The Box” and Administrative Violence at New York University

checkboxA few weeks ago, we at Tenured Radical were approached by The Incarceration to Education Coalition, a collective that seeks out, analyzes and strives to remove barriers to higher education. Recently, the group has been in discussions with New York University about “The Box,” a check off on the NYU application, and on The Common Application (a service intended to make higher education more accessible), that asks potential applicants to indicate whether they have ever been convicted of a crime.* This guest post has been written by the Collective.

“Don’t come to my games. Don’t bring Black people and don’t come”
Donald Sterling, Former NBA owner

African American males do not want to go to college. “It isn’t in the culture.”
Vice President of Enrollment Management, New York University

What The Incarceration to Education Coalition (IEC) calls “The Box” is a question…

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June 9, 2014, 12:28 pm

Today’s Quiz: What Is the Difference Between a Non-Profit and a For-Profit?

monopoly-manAnswer: a) none; b) the non-profits are better at evading scrutiny; c) the for-profits are busy remaking the world in their image; d) all of the above.

This week in Jacobin‘s online edition, see David Francis Mihalyfy’s Higher Ed’s For-Profit Future. It’s about corporate academia, as exemplified by the institution that is currently best known as the cradle of neoliberal thinking that has destroyed, and is still working to destroy, education for everyone. The University of Chicago, Mihalyfy argues, ”serves as a window into the fully corporatized future of education, where an unquestioned goal is profit for top staff and the checks-and-balances of the trustee system do not function.”

Structurally, Mihalyfy argues, there is absolutely no difference between the non-profit university and the for profit corporations that neoliberal economics wants us to use as a model every form of…

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April 22, 2014, 7:42 am

Department of — Assassins?

thEveryone on Facebook is complaining about grading. But at least you aren’t worried about character assassination, or actually being assassinated. You aren’t the chair of the French Department at Oberlin, where one faculty member is suing a colleague for making multiple false claims that he was plotting to kill a third faculty member, that he brought a relative to the United States and falsified his academic credentials to embed him as a killer for hire, and — now there is undoubtedly some very strict language about this in the faculty handbook –that he tried to pay his TA to marry him.

You can also thank your lucky stars that you are not the Dean of the Faculty at Oberlin, wondering how this case got to court in the first place. As Kaylee Remington of the Lorain, Ohio Morning Journal reported last week,

a lawsuit filed April 17 in Lorain County Common Pleas Court, Ali Yedes, who…

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April 14, 2014, 9:57 am

No Speech, No Preach: VCC System Rethinks First Amendment Rights

funnyprotestsignsstreet_people_protesting-s1024x683-41186-580In response to a lawsuit filed by a student at Thomas Nelson Community College, the Virginia Community College system has suspended its restrictive campus speech policies until May 2. The Associated Press reports that Christian Parks was barred from preaching in any location but a “free speech zone:” attorneys on both sides have asked for the suspension until new policies and procedures can be worked out.

Demonstrating that Democrats can be just as repellant as Republicans when it comes to misinterpreting the Constitution, Virginia Governor Terry McAwful McAuliffe signed legislation on April 4 that essentially criminalizes student demonstrations by allowing the public university system to establish restrictive “free speech zones.” These obscure areas, far from administrative buildings, mimic municipal restrictions that confine protesting citizens to small areas far from the event or…

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March 30, 2014, 1:58 pm

Random Bullets of (Fill In the Blank)

1980sa-520x343Aaaaaand…..here we go.

  • The latest from Tenured Radical’s Book Blog, a project of thinking and writing a book out loud, “Which Side Are You On?” sketches a few thoughts on what we assume about a researcher’s choice to explore a contentious topic.
  • I am one of two people in my March Madness Fantasy Bracket to have picked Wisconsin to win.
  • In other research news, we have a new study on whether porn hurts children. Answer? No one knows! How do people keep getting funding for this research? Produced by the office of the Children’s Commissioner for England, the study is actually not about children, it’s about teenagers, which is also old news. The older kids get, the harder it is to gin up uncritical public concern for them. A second point worth mentioning is the focus said teenagers’ consumption of, or exposure to, pornography which might (or might not!) affect their sexual…

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