Category Archives: Current Events

Reforming Higher Ed #3: Teach Differently

Student using smartphone

Student Texting

Faculty anecdotes about the “cell phone follies” abound. Increasingly, students text one another, interact through Facebook or Twitter, or surf the Internet rather than attend to what is happening in class. They often disrupt others, and learning prescribed material comes to a halt. When called to account, as one of my friends reports, a student might respond with a loud “F#%&k you!” What is going on? Is this generation of students merely a bunch of rude, spoiled brats? Perhaps, but I’m more inclined to think that they merely regard what happens in class to be irrelevant to their lives and, worse, boring. Continue reading

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Reforming Higher Ed #2: Demand Rigor

Mathematics Lecture

Mathematics Lecture

In a previous post, “Adrift without a Paddle,” I noted “an ever deeper descent into an anti-intellectualistic, narcissistic culture in which students pursue pre-employment, technical training with single-minded purpose while, nevertheless, they expect to be rewarded with high grades and degrees apart from real achievement.” This phenomenon of empty degrees worries government officials, business and community leaders, and the general public. What should be done to restore real achievement on the part of college students generally? Continue reading

Reforming Higher Ed #1: Stop Bribing Politicians?

For years, colleges and universities have pandered to politicians and government officials. Honorary degrees, named facilities, and administrators’ flattering remarks on public occasions provide the usual currency. Sweetheart employment contracts to family members and other benefits are sometimes conferred to assure access to and support from political officials. Occasionally, benefits are provided to an official directly. One such case came to light recently concerning Brevard Community College’s (BCC) concluding a lucrative book deal with Florida State Senator, Mike Haridopolos.

Mike Haridopolos

Sen. Mike Haridopolos

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Making Hiring More Humane

In my last post, I advised, rather tepidly, those seeking faculty appointments to research each institution and write careful, individually tailored letters—in other words, to control what they can. Unfortunately, there is little else that they can control. Indeed, applying for employment, academic or otherwise, is unnecessarily dehumanizing and degrading. To submit an application for employment is to have it sucked into a “black hole” from which no light, not to mention information, ever escapes. Even the person hired hardly ever learns why he or she turned out to be so lucky.

Under Scrutiny

Under Scrutiny

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Coping with the Academic Job Market

The current academic job market, to state the matter as elegantly as possible, sucks. This has been its chronic condition ever since I emerged from graduate school in the 1970s. Now, of course, employment possibilities for faculty in higher education are further constrained by the dismal prospects affecting the rest of the economy. In truth, employment in general resembles the situation that occurred during the Great Depression, with little hope for significant recovery any time soon.

Percent Job Losses in Post-WWII Recessions

Percent Job Losses in Post-WWII Recessions

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