July 13, 2012, 11:44 am
After 25 years in bucolic Princeton, the National Association of Scholars has packed up its stuff and moved to New York City. We brought our collection of yesteryear’s college catalogs, our backfiles of Academic Questions (Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter 1987 features Virginia Hyman on “Principles of Feminist Scholarship”), and our library of several thousand volumes. We left behind office furniture that was probably second-hand three or four owners past. The junk haulers rendered judgment by taking a crowbar to my old desk and carried it out in splinters. I did manage to hold on to my prized Shine-O-Mat , manufactured by the Uneeda Corporation in 1948. It is a 150 pound gun-metal gray contraption for shining shoes, segregated into “Black Only” and “Brown Only,” and still produces a mean shine on your wing-tips.
Why New York? It’s a homecoming of sorts. NAS was founded here …
May 8, 2012, 3:33 pm
Last night I learned that Naomi Schaefer Riley has been fired by The Chronicle of Higher Education from her position as one of the contributors on the Brainstorm blog. It was a poor decision by The Chronicle‘s editors, one of whom, Liz McMillen, explains it in “A Note to Readers.” Ms. McMillen also apologizes “for the distress these incidents have caused our readers.” As it happens, I had just drafted for Innovations a short essay which among other things praised The Chronicle’s editors for not giving in to demands that Riley be fired.
The Chronicle’s change of heart took me greatly by surprise. As a writer whose contributions to these pages have often been assailed, I’ve come to trust that The Chronicle is pretty sturdy in its defense of the principle that dissenters from academe’s typical left-wing orthodoxies should be heard, and that dialogue–even if sometimes caustic–is…
January 3, 2012, 9:51 am
Year-end is decisive: Midnight on Saturday was the deadline for 2011 tax deductible donations to colleges and universities as well as to all the other eligible non-profits, worthy and otherwise, that depend on charitable giving. This week, while students are still mostly on winter break, development offices will be tallying the online gifts, cashing the checks, and drafting thank you letters.
I am no disinterested observer. In early December, I wrote to our “house list,” the people who have contributed in the last few years to the National Association of Scholars (NAS), asking them to give again. And I received similar letters from the dozen or so organizations to which I’ve contributed. Without these appeals, few of us among the nonprofits concerned with educational reform would survive.
The large majority of contributors give modest donations—typically less than a $100. …
August 23, 2011, 2:57 pm
Eros is notorious for its power to thwart our better judgment and to baffle the rational mind. It can draw us to destinations we would do better to avoid and can prompt forms of resistance that are themselves out of balance and a little crazy. Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure portrays a city under the interim rule of a Puritanical judge, Angelo, who would stamp out unlawful expressions of desire by draconian enforcement of the laws. Not only are his efforts futile, they turn out to be hypocritical, since Angelo himself turns seducer.
We are faced with a Measure for Measure moment in higher education today. On one hand, higher education is Angelo-like attempting to stamp out what it judges to be the wrong kinds of sexual expression. On the other hand, colleges and universities are dallying as never before with all sorts of “transgressive” sexual ideas. The main focus of all this is…