"The academy is no longer an investment of time worth making... I was a priest who had lost his faith, performing the sacraments without any sense of their importance." Yet another sad piece on academia, woe.
I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me. Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones. Not, like, in a person-by-person sense, but students in general. The student-teacher dynamic has been reenvisioned along a line that's simultaneously consumerist and hyper-protective, giving each and every student the ability to claim Grievous Harm in nearly any circumstance, after any affront, and a teacher's formal ability to respond to these claims is limited at best.
Robert Pippin spoke at High Concept Labs for The Point Magazine's 'New Humanities' issue: Ways of Knowing
We’re here because universities are experiencing a sense of crisis in the organization of knowledge. But it probably should be said just briefly, at the beginning, that this is also taking place within a crisis in the university system in the United States more generally. It’s been a long time building and it’s now rather critical. I mean, the indications of the crisis are well known to all of us: The figure that I heard is that in the last 25 years, there has been a 500 percent increase in tuition at private and public universities on average. There’s been massive defunding of state universities by state legislatures. When I began my career at the University of California at San Diego, 70 percent of the budget was funded by the state legislature. That’s down to under 20 percent, and students now have to pay $14,000 per year tuition if they’re in-state students, and in the twenties if they’re not. And they often leave college with debts totaling more than $50,000 or $60,000. This is the new way that universities are financed.[more inside]
For the first time in its 39-year history, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation of the University of Oregon is on strike, and here's why . [more inside]
US News and World Report (USNWR) ranking of the top ten universities in mathematics are: 1. Berkeley ; 2. Stanford ; 3. Princeton ; 4. UCLA ; 5. University of Oxford ; 6. Harvard ; 7. King Abdulaziz University ; 8. Pierre and Marie Curie – Paris 6 ; 9. University of Hong Kong ; 10. University of Cambridge [more inside]
A Collection Of Disorientation Guides From Colleges Across North America. Unsanctioned student guides offer advice on the real college experience [more inside]
Friedrich Nietzsche, famously a full professor at the tender age of 24, was in a good position to develop an acute sensitivity to the university as machine: "The student listens to lectures . . . Very often the student writes at the same time he listens to lectures. These are the moments when he dangles from the umbilical cord of the university. The teacher . . . is cut off by a monumental divide from the consciousness of his students . . . A speaking mouth and many, many ears, with half as many writing hands: that is the external apparatus of the academy; set in motion, that is the educational machinery of the university." [more inside]
Mental health problems are on the rise among UK academics amid the pressures of greater job insecurity, constant demand for results and an increasingly marketised higher education system. [more inside]
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.
...one of the jobs of a publisher, I really believe, is to keep all forms in play, precisely because it is in keeping all forms in play (which forms are themselves always being reshaped in some fashion as they come into contact with each other) -- that creativity has the widest possible purchase on how things might turn out. Eileen Joy, co-director of open-access quasi-scholarly print-on-demand press Punctum Books, gives a talk on the state and future of open-access publishing in the academy and the arts.
"I Quit Academia" -- An Important, Growing Subgenre of American Essays
The American Historical Association just released a statement that "strongly encourages graduate programs and university libraries to adopt a policy that allows the embargoing of completed history PhD dissertations in digital form for as many as six years." The statement is aimed at publishers who are disinclined to consider books based on dissertations that have been made freely available in open access databases. Some responses cite a 2011 survey, "Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities?," that found most publishers self-reported they would indeed consider publishing such dissertations, but also suggested university libraries are refusing to buy books based on dissertations that have previously been available online. "The Road From Dissertation to Book Has a New Pothole: the Internet," a 2011 article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, quotes editors who are wary of publishing such books, and discusses the process by which students can restrict access to their work at companies like ProQuest, "the electronic publisher with which the vast majority of U.S. universities contract to house digital copies of dissertations." [more inside]
"If you account for my access to academic journal subscriptions, my salary is really like half a million dollars."
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]
Emory University English professor Mark Bauerlein (previously) argues that the majority of research by literary academics has no meaningful value. [more inside]
PhDChallenge.org proposed a challenge: To have the phrase "I smoke crack rocks" included in a peer reviewed academic paper. The winner is Gabriel Parent from Carnegie Mellon, who included it in his paper [PDF].
Using its College Results Online database, The Education Trust has released two reports examining the black-white and Hispanic-white college graduation gap. The worst offenders? Wayne State University in Detroit, where fewer than one in ten African-American students graduate in six years, and CUNY Brooklyn College, where 19% less Hispanic students graduate on-time than whites. [more inside]
Zaytuna College in Berkeley, CA will accept its first students in the fall of 2010 or 2011. Founded by Sheik Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir, it will be the first accredited Islamic college in the United States, open to men and women of all religions.
Glasgow University Library Exhibitions. Some nice online exhibits : nineteenth century views of Glasgow, sixteenth and seventeenth century anatomical illustration, British bookbindings, Glasgow Cathedral windows, rare Spanish books, music books, flower illustration, etc.
The Iconography of Saint Sebastian A terrific collection of images (14th to 21st centuries) in multiple media. For an interesting visual introduction to the development of iconography, see Augusta State University's rather no-nonsense Christian Iconography, which breaks the subject down into major topics, individual saints, and so forth.
Princeton president pines for peculiar persons. "Princeton University's new president, Shirley Tilghman, says her campus has a problem: not enough weirdos. 'I would like to think we could begin to attract students with green hair. We will take pink and blue and orange hair, too.'" The rest of the article is pretty bland, but that quote is hilarious.