Higher Ed

I’m a professor of English, so it makes sense that I write about curricular battles and innovation, public scholarship, university service, and liberal arts education. And, gentle reader, a bit of academic satire has slipped into the mix.

We as faculty can continue to outsource our students’ futures to other offices on the campus. We can continue to offer professorial platitudes, which arguably function as a contemporary version of “let them eat cake,” about the value of the liberal arts. Or we can update the curriculum to include specific narratives to help prepare humanities majors for the new economic normal. Read more

So my advice to would-be public scholars is “Don’t just do it!” Rather, know what you may be getting yourself into, figure out and articulate your own reasons for doing such work, and do what you can to minimize the real risks and maximize the opportunities of entering the public sphere. Read more

Like housework, academic service is often feminized, devalued, unpaid, and invisible labor, even as it keeps our institutions functional. Simultaneously, service work can be a means of obtaining professional and cultural capital on a campus. Read more

But not all forms of anti-Semitism are as crude and explicit as those on display in Charlottesville earlier this month. Soft forms of anti-Jewish sentiment are steadily becoming part of our culture, even and especially in higher education. And sometimes the most seemingly ordinary academic rituals unwittingly reveal the slow creep of anti-Semitism or, at the very least, an imperviousness to that particular form of hate and ignorance. Read more

While the above is real, a faux memo follows that might provide guidelines for those funeral flowers. Even the irreligious among us should pray that cost-conscious administrators do not adopt these guidelines. Read more

Small-scale, caring communities. Intensive mentoring and research experiences. Relationships and connections that last a lifetime. Lifelong learning. These are the signatures of small colleges. If we hold fast to our core educational values while innovating for a new, potentially virtual normal for a time, we’ll give ourselves and our institutions a chance to survive this pandemic. Read more

Review of The Real World of College

While Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner’s The Real World of College gives short shrift to some key economic contexts for the state of higher education today, it nonetheless provides a timely and welcome contribution to the national conversation about the content, quality, and purpose of a college education.  Read more

Why Do Research? in PMLA