Category Archives: Tweed

Taking academe a little less seriously.


That Time Donald Trump Started a ‘University’ (and an Amazing Blog)

Donald Trump, the celebrity billionaire whose bid for the Republican presidential nomination has been a source of mild to major annoyance for, well, most people, is hardly overseeing his first bid to educate the American public. To say so would be to forget Trump University, the virtual, for-profit “college” he started in 2005.

Speaking to the times, the endeavor relied on the sale (at hundreds of dollars a pop) of CDs and DVDs while relieving students of burdensome higher-ed staples such as tes…


Scholars Spin Their Own Nursery Rhymes (Without the Happy Endings)

Don’t tuck your children in to these. At least, not until the kids get tenure.

Late last week, the hashtag #AcademicNurseryRhymes took over academic Twitter — traditional nursery rhymes injected with nitty-gritty realities of academic life. And while the hashtag has largely calmed down, the contributions are clever enough to deserve a best-of roundup. Here you go:


Man Stabbed in Face During Argument Over Whether College Is Worth It

Here’s one more reason to avoid the onerous debate over whether college is worth the cost: to keep from getting stabbed.

The police say an argument on Friday about the “worth and importance of a college education” resulted in one man slashing another in the face with a pocket knife. The Arlington, Va., news outlet ARLNow reports the victim was cut from the corner of the mouth to the ear after the other man became angry during the argument. The victim received 60 stitches at George Washington Uni…


Will You Make Me the Happiest Co-Author in the World? (She Said Yes.)

Maybe the paleontologist Caleb M. Brown wanted to give his acknowledgments section some extra spice. See if you can spot the anomaly in the fine print of a recent paper, “A New Horned Dinosaur Reveals Convergent Evolution in Cranial Ornamentation in Ceratopsidae,” that he co-wrote in the journal Current Biology:

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I know, can you believe D. Tanke made the cut? (Kidding.)

Mr. Brown, a postdoctoral researcher at Canada’s Royal Tyrrell Museum, told CBC News that Ms. O’Brien had said yes, but also th…


With Alum’s Stardom, a Terrible Video at Davidson College Gets a Second Life

He’s probably the hottest name in all of basketball. But back in 2009, Stephen Curry was just a student at Davidson College, a small liberal-arts institution in North Carolina.

To be sure, he’d already achieved March Madness fame, having led the Wildcats within a basket of the Final Four in 2008. But he wasn’t too big to participate in an appropriately shoddy and cringeworthy student rap video. The New York Times notes that an email from Mr. Curry to the student body was enough to make hundreds …


Wichita State Mistakenly Scolds Elderly Students, Apologizes With Chocolate

Wichita State University administrators have set out to dozens of local homes with letters of apology and chocolate bars after a computer glitch sent a warning letter to 67 older adults who were auditing a class, The Wichita Eagle reports. “Your cumulative GPA is 0,” the letter read. “Effective immediately, you are placed on financial-aid suspension.”

Those students weren’t receiving financial aid or grades for their participation in the class, “Controversies in Kansas History,” which was taught…


Sweet Briar Closure Prompts Comparisons to Invasions of Iraq, Rohan

The sudden announcement last month that Sweet Briar College would close provoked shock among students, faculty, and alumnae who protested that an institution with an $85-million endowment couldn’t be in financial straits dire enough to warrant shutting down. The Board of Trustees’ decision was misguided and irresponsible, they claimed.

That argument has persisted (as has the institution’s answer that closing was the most responsible option), but it has also gotten more elaborate. Consider the fo…


Watch a Professor’s Elaborate April Fools’ Joke Slay His Lecture Class

April Fools’ Day can be treacherous, especially in academe (I’m looking at you, student newspapers). But I’m happy to report that pulling off a good, wholesome joke — one that doesn’t make light of both racism and genocide — is possible in an academic setting.

Cue Matthew Weathers, an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science at Biola University, who on Wednesday delighted his students with an impressively choreographed — and exceedingly nerdy — piece of pedagogy:

It’s worth notin…


Loved Your Nanny Campus? Start-Up Pledges Similar Services for Grads

Every year, legions of college graduates move to the big city full of hope and imbued with the belief that their best days are on the horizon. Then, adulthood happens.

Nothing can really prepare you for the touch-and-go Craigslist bidding wars, vein-popping dates with the cable company, and entire days of your life spent waiting in a line at Trader Joe’s that could stretch halfway to the moon. Postgraduate lessons in personal responsibility come with the territory.

But must they?

A start-up comp…


Which Marvel Superhero Could Run a University?

Marvel Comics this week announced a new slate of superhero movies to be released over the next several years. You’ve got plenty of time to decide which ones you’ll see, so in the meantime let’s address the question on everyone’s mind: Which Marvel character would make the best college president? Let’s limit the search to all nonmutants who have starred or will star in a Marvel movie.

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Right off the bat, you can count out Robert B. Banner, otherwise known as the Hulk. While Mr. Banner has three P…