Screens generate distraction - biologically impossible to resist - in a manner akin to second-hand smoke. Allowing laptop use in class is like allowing boombox use in class - it lets each person choose whether to degrade the experience of those around them. [CITATION PROVIDED]
I've stopped thinking of students as people who simply make choices about whether to pay attention, and started thinking of them as people trying
to pay attention but having to compete with various influences, the largest of which is their own propensity towards involuntary and emotional reaction.
”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
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]
In the past month since publishing his essay, "Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege
," Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang
has become a hero
of many in right-wing politics for his refusal to believe that he enjoys privilege. [more inside]
Administrator Hiring Drove 28% Boom in Higher-Ed Work Force, Report Says The report, "Labor Intensive or Labor Expensive: Changing Staffing and Compensation Patterns in Higher Education," says that new administrative positions—particularly in student services—drove a 28-percent expansion of the higher-ed work force from 2000 to 2012...What’s more, the report says, the number of full-time faculty and staff members per professional or managerial administrator has declined 40 percent, to around 2.5 to 1. Full-time faculty members also lost ground to part-time instructors (who now compose half of the instructional staff at most types of colleges)...And the kicker: You can’t blame faculty salaries for the rise in tuition. Faculty salaries were "essentially flat" from 2000 to 2012, the report says. And "we didn't see the savings that we would have expected from the shift to part-time faculty," said Donna M. Desrochers, an author of the report.
I, Too, Am Harvard.
A photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of black students at Harvard College. 63 students participated, sharing their experiences with ignorance and racism. "Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned-- this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard." [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.
“What makes you think I will be safer away from school, away from my support system?” School was my stimulation, my passion and my reason for getting up in the morning.
“Well the truth is,” he says, “we don’t necessarily think you’ll be safer at home. But we just can’t have you here.”
(article contains description of cutting behavior)
Bloomberg has been publishing a series of articles on the misdeeds of the fraternity system
in the U.S., particularly how Greek organizations "dodge liability for mayhem at their local chapters, oppose anti-hazing bills in Congress and pressure colleges to drop restrictions on recruiting freshmen as pledges. Colleges face litigation from fraternities and the withholding of donations by wealthy alumni." [more inside]
The revelation that the median grade at Harvard is an A- prompted lots of discussion, especially among Ivy-league educated journalists. Some speculated high grades reflect intelligence. Others say professors just want their students to get jobs, or, selfishly, they want favorable teaching evaluations. As a teaching assistant in the economics department at Columbia, I too inflated student grades, but for none of those reasons. I just didn’t want to deal with all the complaining.
A collective narrative of trying to make it on $17,000 a year: bargaining testimony from a UCSC student-worker
We make only $17,000 a year. We make only $17,000 a year in a town where almost that entire paycheck goes to rent. So today I’m going to talk about how academic workers try to get by on $17,000 a year.
Academics are farmers and intellectuals are hunters - and the hunters may be the future of the liberal arts
, writes Jack Miles
Columbia students stuff Nutella in their pants to the tune of $1,000s a week.
(SLNYT) Last month one of Columbia’s undergraduate dining halls began serving Nutella every day, not just in crepes on weekends. The problem was that the Columbia students went through jars and jars of Nutella — at least 100 pounds a day. Apparently they were not just eating it in the dining hall. They were spiriting it away in soup containers and other receptacles, to be eaten later.
In several computer science courses at Johns Hopkins University, the grading curve was set by giving the highest score on the final an A, and then adjusting all lower scores accordingly. The students determined that if they collectively boycotted, then the highest score would be a zero, and so everyone would get an A
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]
Income based repayment
is touted as a solution
to rapidly rising college costs in the US. But there is a hefty tax bill
looming for people who take advantage of this program.
, a newspaper at MIT, has published a report
about MIT students' stress. (via
) [more inside]
"Why should I load up on debt just to binge drink for four years when I could just create an app that nets me all the money I’ll ever need?"
Young entrepreneurs are ditching college in droves, seen by some as a bad investment while dropping out is a "badge of honor" in Silicon Valley, whose lionized heroes include Zuckerburg
, and Gates
- all college dropouts themselves.
In 2003, only two colleges charged more than $40,000 a year for tuition, fees, room, and board. Six years later more than two hundred colleges charged that amount. What happened between 2003 and 2009 was the start of the recession. By driving down endowments and giving tax-starved states a reason to cut back their support for higher education, the recession put new pressure on colleges and universities to raise their price.
When our current period of slow economic growth will end is anybody’s guess, but even when it does end, colleges and universities will certainly not be rolling back their prices. These days, it is not just the economic climate in which our colleges and universities find themselves that determines what they charge and how they operate; it is their increasing corporatization.
If corporatization meant only that colleges and universities were finding ways to be less wasteful, it would be a welcome turn of events. But an altogether different process is going on [more inside]
T. Boone Pickens and other wealthy, elderly Oklahoma State alums decided to participate in a scheme named "Call of a Lifetime", where they would allow the university to take out $10 million life insurance policies on them. What could go wrong?
Many people say that a law degree enables the holder to do virtually anything. Am Law Daily explores the logical fallacies behind this statement.
"I, Polina Marinova, have resigned as the editor-in-chief from The Red & Black
, the student newspaper covering the University of Georgia. The Red & Black’s top editors, design staff, photo staff and reporters walked out of the newspaper building this afternoon."
The mass departure follows a memo of staff expectations
issued by the board of directors of the newspaper, which is independent of the university. Among the "expectations" issued by the board to which Marinova objected was that the newspaper's coverage find a balance of "GOOD" (human interest pieces directly relating to the UGA student audience) and "BAD" (explained in the board's memo as "Content that catches people or organizations doing bad things. I guess this is 'journalism'."). This was followed by a final note to "[i]f in question, have more GOOD than BAD." Marinova also alleged that students no longer have final approval in the content of the newspaper, writing that "[r]ecently, editors have felt pressure to assign stories they didn't agree with, take 'grip and grin' photos and compromise the design of the paper." [more inside]
A Conversation With Bill Gates About the Future of Higher Education
at the Chronicle of Higher Education
. As always, Bill is honest and interesting as he talks about new developments and how they fit into a realistic view of the next 10-20 years of higher ed.
A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education tells the story of The Education of Dasmine Cathey
, a 23-year-old football player for the University of Memphis. Writer Brad Wolverton met Cathey, who taught himself to read his second year of college, while doing research on student-athletes with severe reading, writing, and learning problems.
"Don't ever forget that you're a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, things that are easy, things that are free, things that you can do every day. Civility, respect, kindness, character. You're too good for schadenfreude, you're too good for gossip and snark, you're too good for intolerance—and since you're walking into the middle of a presidential election, it's worth mentioning that you're too good to think people who disagree with you are your enemy.... Don't ever forget that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world. It's the only thing that ever has."
On May 13th, Aaron Sorkin gave the commencement address to the graduating class at Syracuse University
, a speech that has been mildly criticized
for recycling some lines from his shows West Wing
and Sports Night
A report by the ABA
shows that some law schools hire as many as 15% of new graduates
in an effort to boost employment numbers.
, Joseph Vincent (Joe Pa
Born: December 21, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York
: January, 22, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania
Vocation: Football Coach
...Failed Simulations & the Surprising Psychology of Impressiveness
: "Accomplishments that are hard to explain can be much more impressive than accomplishments that are simply hard to do", posits Cal Newport of Study Hacks
("Decoding Patterns of Success" - at work
, at school
). (via AskMeFi)
Also from the blog: The Passion Trap
("How the Search for Your Life’s Work is Making Your Working Life Miserable") and Beyond Passion
("The Science of Loving What You Do"). [more inside]
Want your new law school to get accredited by the American Bar Association? Be prepared to jump through some hoops.
Professor Herwig Schlunk of Vanderbilt University explores whether a law degree is a good investment today.
(SSRN link) [more inside]