Derrick Bell, Law Professor and Civil Rights Advocate, dies at 80. Bell was a pioneer of critical race theory and the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School. Bell was also a lover of gospel music, and hosted an annual gospel choir concert.
Democratic and Republican professors grade differently according to a recent study. Here is a link to a PDF of the published study, minus the critical data tables and figures.
Clancy Martin is the chair of the philosophy department at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He's also an unabashed liar, a recovering alcoholic, and was once suicidal. He's surprisingly honest, and has written extensively about all three of these things. Prior to becoming a professor, he dropped out of grad school, made a small fortune in the murky world of luxury jewelry sales, and nearly became the world's leading dealer of counterfeit Fabergé eggs along the way. He occasionally writes an advice column about lying, and even wrote a few books about it. [more inside]
University of Central Florida professor Richard Quinn uses highly-detailed analysis to accuse many of the students in his Strategic Management course of cheating on their midterm exam. Since posting his online lecture, 200 of the 600 students in his class have come forward to admit they cheated using testbank exam answers. While some are calling Professor Quinn a "folk hero", many students in the class are now complaining because they feel their professor has been dishonest about where he obtained the information for his exams. But Professor Quinn isn't exactly responding in student news sources to these complaints.
"It would take a lot to get me back to a conventional form of grading ever again." Cathy Davidson, an English professor at Duke, teaches a seminar in which final grades are determined by fellow students. She writes about the experience in Inside Higher Ed. (Thoughts by Duke faculty about the philosophy of grading previously on MetaFilter.)
Professor Mills Kelly of George Mason University had his History 389 class spend the fall semester on a class project about the intriguing figure of Edward Owens, the "Last American Pirate". They blogged about their research, made videos for YouTube, and gave Owens a Wikipedia entry. The story even got some media attention. There was just one problem: History 389 was a class on historical hoaxes, and Edward Owens was their fictional creation. [more inside]
A post and comment thread on BlackProf (a blog run by leading black law professors) regarding Obama fielding a question as to the "homophobia problem in the Black community" [see third video down]
Is this guy an awesome teacher or just crazy? Or maybe it goes hand in hand. Think back to the days of high school and college science classes. For most people, it probably wasn't chalkboards full of endless physics equations that got them interested in the sciences, but rather the crazy, cooky and awe-inspiring professors who do dramatic and unique demonstrations to get students interested. What makes a good teacher or professor? Is this teacher really reckless or is it a legit demonstration that benefits students?
The Kids are Alright, Dammit. Reason's Nick Gillespie weighs-in on the 2005 Modern Language Association annual convention. "...faced with a choice between a sort of bitter righteousness and increasing irrelevance on the one hand and engaging students with more fair-minded argumentation and open-ended discussion, some academics are choosing the latter. That's certainly good news for kids stuck in freshman composition classes, those dreary required classes which are often little more than clumsy attempts at political indoctrination."
Rate My Professor! A searchable database of student ratings of their college professors. In what must be a wonderful reflection of the current status of the American and Canadian higher education systems, the ratings include entries for how easy the professor is and, of course, how hot they are. So click around, visit your alma mater, and let that jerk who almost flunked you in freshman comp feel your wrath!
Easy grades, light reading loads, and above all a professor you can enjoy. Today’s university culture is one of all entertainment all the time.. an essay by Mark Edmunson based on his new book Why Read? about the the "crisis in the humanities", called the most provocative look since Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. (via Arts and Letters Daily)
The Ivy League pop stars! Gossipy article reveals how universities throughout the USA are frantically fighting each other in order to attract celebrity professors. Niall Ferguson, Deirdre (born Donald) McCloskey and Saul Bellow ("teaching load: one course a year") are some examples. Considering these people are already engaged in their own love affair with the public eye (book tours, book deals, media events etc), are they the best choice from the academic point of view? Do traditional universities really have to resort to namedropping? And just between us, anybody out there ever had or currently has classes with bigwigs that turned out to be really fascinating or really disappointing? first link via those elitists from aldaily
Does this seem incongruous to anyone else? (-cnn) Two professors were shot and killed Monday at the University of Arizona's College of Nursing A student was "disgruntled" at the professors and shot at them. I am (sadly) not too surprised that something like this would happen on a college campus, but it does seem strange that it would happen at the College of Nursing.
Interview with one of "the evil ones." A conservative group founded by first lady Lynne Cheney recently released a report (pdf) that accuses numerous college professors of being enemies of civilization, for not "transmit[ing] our history and heritage to the next generation." Curiously, the report originally looked like this (pdf), which quoted professors by name to create a modern-day blacklist, but was removed and reformated to the one currently on thier site. This interview sheds light on one professor's view of being in the report and on the current state of debate and dissent among academics. [via RRE]