The Shadow Syllabus: Writer
Sonya Huber offers some bullshit-free advice for her college students.
It's This or Get a Real Job
is the subtitle to Greg Fallis' blog in which the former military medic, private detective, counselor in the Psychiatric/Security unit of a prison for women, professor at The American University in Washington, D.C. and at Fordham University in New York City, writer and photographer, offers his opinions on a variety of topics, such as mistakes, "After the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade, Field Marshal FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan (GCB, PC) acknowledged his error and said, “Well, let’s not do that again.” And he never ordered another cavalry charge against a redoubt with a battery of fifty cannons. That wasn’t Lord Raglan’s first mistake; he also had an arm shot to pieces at the Battle of Waterloo. But as his arm was being amputated, Raglan told the surgeon, “My bad, learned my lesson, sorry to be a bother.” And he never had another arm amputated for the rest of his life. Lesson learned."
”Practicing openness and making oneself radically vulnerable is not only scary, it is the opposite of what we are taught to do within the logic of the contemporary university (and society more generally). Our marginalization, meager pay and lack of job security, along with the attacks on professors by students and the administration’s refusal to back up even tenured professors, all contribute to a culture of paranoia and enmity (among administration and faculty, among tenure-track faculty and adjuncts, among professors and students). Even when we manage to maintain our commitment to our students (and we do), the university seeks to capture this affective relationship and use it to further exploit us when we ask for fair wages or better conditions with the reprimand that ‘we are doing this for the students and not the money.’ Just as the practitioners of modernity gutted the erotic and sold us the pornographic, administrators attempt to gut the material and affective conditions of teaching and sell us ‘passion.’”
Dr Priya J. Shah: "My Last Day as a Professor
With recognition software making the use of recycled term papers
impractical, a new service
is now allowing students to hire unemployed professors
to write term papers from scratch.
on September 22 last year, Professor Robert Fuller
of the University of North Georgia spent four months paddling down the Chattahoochee River system, from the Chattahoochee's headwaters in northern Georgia down through the Apalachicola into the Gulf of Mexico, studying water quality
along the way. Then he paddled 200 miles through the Gulf, turned at the mouth of the Mobile River, and paddled another 750 miles upstream
on the Mobile, Alabama, Coosa, and Etowah Rivers all the way back
to northern Georgia—a total of just over 1,500 miles of solo paddling in his Kruger Sea Wind
. Along the way, he kept a blog
, "ate a lot of Beanie Weenies"
, and faced difficulties including cold, hunger, injuries, and river obstructions. Incidentally, he did all this while living with leukemia
. [more inside]
'“The ad hoc process is greatly shrouded in mystery; remarkably little is written about it,” says current Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development Judith D. Singer.
She smirks wryly as she swigs coffee from her mug, as if this is something she’s explained a hundred times before. “What the ad hoc process does is it takes a recommendation that has come up out of a department, been through a dean, and says, ‘Let’s look at this with a fresh set of eyes. Let’s look at the totality of the evidence and make a dispassionate decision about whether the recommendations that have come up are really in the best interest of the University,’” says Singer.'
Getting a literature Ph.D. will turn you into an emotional trainwreck, not a professor.
"Who wouldn’t want a job where you only have to work five hours a week, you get summers off, your whole job is reading and talking about books, and you can never be fired? Such is the enviable life of the tenured college literature professor, and all you have to do to get it is earn a Ph.D. So perhaps you, literature lover, are considering pursuing this path.
Well, what if I told you that by 'five hours' I mean '80 hours,' and by 'summers off' I mean 'two months of unpaid research sequestration and curriculum planning'..."
This past Thursday, Forbes Magazine published a pair of articles: The Most Stressful Jobs of 2013
and The Least Stressful Jobs of 2013
, the latter of which began with the sentence: "University professors have a lot less stress than most of us."
300+ outraged comments
(and thousands of sarcastic #RealForbesProfessor
tweets,) later they've added a retraction, and linked to a blog post that takes A Real Look at Being a Professor in the US
. [more inside]
The Beatles and the Bolsheviks.
An excellent essay on the decline of the college student. How much of the professor's frustration can be linked to selective memory?
In "a comedy of errors"
, a professor of business at Canada's University of Guelph
was accidentally named the Junior Minister of Agriculture for Italy. An interview with Professor Francesco Braga tells the confusing story
. It turns out the Prime Minister's office had meant to name Professor Franco Braga
, of Sapienza – Università di Roma, to the post.
Louis Menand of the New Yorker looks at the competing theories of education
: that it is to create more well-rounded individuals vs. teaching someone what they need to know to get a job.
Who comes up with that annual list of generational markers
that aims to help college faculty better understand their incoming freshmen? These guys do
. [more inside]
: "Also, Dr. Ivor van Heerden
is the fucking man. And he wrote a hell of a book
, which will probably eventually get him fired." It did
. van Heerden is suing LSU for wrongful termination, and the AAUP is investigating
. [more inside]
There is a potential crisis
(PDF) looming in business education. Unlike many other fields in higher education, demand for qualified faculty well outstrips supply. The result is a strong job market and high pay
In response to this potential shortage a number of things are being done. The accounting profession has recently started a program designed to increase the number of professors in the field called the Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program
. This program provides fellowships of $30,000 a year for 30 students. The AACSB
has created a website
to promote getting a PhD in business.
The PhD project
is designed to increase the number of minority PhD business professors. [more inside]
Papert, who was a professor of mathematics, education, and media technology at MIT, has devoted much of his career to learning: self-learning (he taught himself Russian) and learning about learning. He was one of the early pioneers of artificial intelligence, and he invented the computer language Logo to teach children about computers.
Now he must learn something even more challenging - how to be Seymour Papert again.
Some kind soul
has uploaded an exhaustive collection of Professor Julius Sumner Miller
's Science Demonstrations to YouTube. This is my playlist
, I thought the other fans of JSM on Metafilter might enjoy it.
Long .pdf paper on the state of mainstream "analytic" philosophy.
In a recent thread
, we discussed the current state of philosophy departments in English-speaking countries. Philosophers are often asked why we don't take Ayn Rand seriously as a philosopher, or why we aren't up on literary Theory or deconstruction, etc. The short answer is that most academic philosophers in universities in the English-speaking world are engaged in a broad consensus (about how to do philosophy, what counts as a good question, etc) that's called "analytic philosophy" for short. Here is a long, informative encyclopedia entry by Scott Soames describing the history and current state of play in analytic philosophy. If you want to understand the background of the currently dominant school of philosophy in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, this will explain it. Link goes directly to a 44-page .pdf file.
Here are a few bonus bits: Jerry Fodor on Why no one reads analytic philosophy
. One of the Philosophy talk podcasts from the Stanford philosophy department, on The Future of Philosophy
. Some answers at askphilosophers.org -- a site where you can ask questions directly of professional philosophers -- that say the distinction between analytic and continental philosophy
should be retired. (In a way, I agree, but the terms are used so widely that it's useful to get a sense of what they're meant to describe.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on what different philosophers have meant by "analysis"
St. James Infirmary,
in a funereal, no lyrics, brass-band version underlies a persistent scrum of half-remembered songs about New Orleans rising in concert with the waters, lapping at the sandbags of my mind. Up front, Tom Waits
(I Wish I Was in New Orleans
) and Randy Newman
) are duking it out for time at the piano, elaborately filigreed chords overlapping and changing the dominant lyric at the moment of harmonic convergence, while in the background Arlo Guthrie
(The City of New Orleans
) warbles about a train ride. Professor Longhair
and/or The Dixie Cups
, Iko Iko
) sort of amusedly fight to keep sliptime with the martial drums from Jimmy Driftwood's The Battle of New Orleans
(caution: embedded quicktime) behind the whole toxic soup of sonic residue. I'm sure the stew will grow more dense over the next couple weeks.
Got a New Orleans song to toss into the waters?
The Academic Freedom Bill of Rights
is slowly making its way through the Florida Senate. This bill would give students the right to sue professors if they feel their beliefs are not being respected during a class.
Tools for Editors.
Find all kinds of useful language-related links; take a side trip to a site where you can recall the joys of
, check your spelling
, set free
, or read
on the English language written by a retired professor of Dutch.
If you had to pick your 5 Favorite web sites...
...what would they be? Yeah, it's the end of the year and we're all list-happy! Professor Barnhardt's Journal asked writers like Joel Stein, Dan Radosh and Rob Walker and bloggers what their favorite sites are. Sadly, not one mention of Metafilter!
A few logic puzzles
by Raymond Smullyan
. Professor of mathmatics, logic, and philosophy, lifelong magician and concert caliber piano player. Even the titles of his books
are fun. Anyone familiar with him?