July 9, 2012, 10:55 am
Your letter about how amazing it was to talk with your graduate student–the one who really GOT what you were saying and changed the direction of her plans–and then asked me why I recognized earlier in life the pleasures that teaching provides made me incredibly happy.
I’m not saying that only because it’s incredibly generous to me. You’ve always been that. But I’m saying it because you helped to remind me why teaching–good teaching– matters.
Coming to the profession as someone who has accomplished much in her own field and so was asked to teach it at the graduate level, you’re seeing clearly what makes teaching worth all the rest of the trouble. I needed the reminder and I’m grateful for it.
When you teach well, you know you’ve been useful. When you’re teaching really well, you know you’re doing something nobody else could have done as well as you did.
December 7, 2011, 7:19 pm
A guest post by Andrew Yale
Back in 2004, Bush appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) stripped private-university teaching and research assistants of the right to unionize, reversing a unanimous, bipartisan decision in 2000. The NLRB now has an opportunity to restore their rights. All that’s required is actually ruling on a petition for a union election brought by the Graduate Student Organizing Committee at New York University in April 2010.
Due to Republican shenanigans in the Senate, however, there is effectively a deadline of the end of the year. Considering that the new year is less than a month away, private-university administrations may be breathing a sigh of relief. Without a ruling, the law will enable them to legally refuse recognition of graduate employee unions, even if a majority of employees wish to form one.
However, grad employee unions are not…
March 28, 2011, 1:36 pm
It’s almost sad, but pretty much everything I’ve ever said to my graduate students—at least in terms of what they need to know to help them write their dissertation—can be summed up by the following points:
1. Choose your topic wisely. Your choice of subject is very much like your choice of mate. This will either be the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship or the start of a bad first marriage. You’re going to be living with it for a long, long time. One way or another, you’ll be spending serious time together. Don’t let outside pressures make your choices for you. Other people don’t know what is best because you—and only you—must have a certain amount of passion going into the process. Passion cannot be manufactured. You can’t assume it will come later on in the relationship. Researching and writing your dissertation is, in effect, the courtship…
March 23, 2011, 3:02 pm
Twenty years of schoolin’
And they put you on the day shift
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
—Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues
On March 22, a prominent group of education bloggers agreed to provide statements loosely organized on the theme of “why faculty like me support unions.” Unexpectedly Stanley Fish, a career-long opponent of faculty unionism, joined them. “I recently flipped,” he confessed,”and what flipped me, pure and simple, was Wisconsin.” In particular, it turns out, it was reading new Brainstorm colleague Naomi Schaefer’s Riley’s assault on faculty bargaining rights in that newspaper you find under your door in cheap motel rooms:
What Riley fears is that if colleges and universities were unionized, teachers with far out, discomforting ideas couldn’t be fired. It’s hard to imagine a better argument for unions (and also for tenure)…. Riley makes no…