Monthly Archives: November 2016

Expense Account

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The Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS, a term that maybe should have been in the first book) collects sixteen bajillion data points per year on every college in the US, from enrollment to crime. It takes forever for schools to complete, and like accreditation, puts an inverse burden on… Read more »


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Not being a Marxist economist, I can’t add much to the concept of the commodity fetish, except to point out its multiple connections to contemporary higher education. The simple commodity is a product that has absolutely no differentiation by producer and no intention of a relationship between producer and consumer…. Read more »

Forty Years

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I graduated from high school and began college forty years ago, in 1976. So one of the constructions of the new book is to examine what’s different across those four decades. US Population 1976: 218M 2016: 319M (+46%) US Undergraduate Population 1976: 9,419,000 2016: 17,490,000 (+86%) US Grad Student Population… Read more »

Forces of Normalcy

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Fifty Years of Mustangs

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The Ford Mustang is just over fifty years old now, having first been released in 1964. The first model had a list price of just under $2,500, which equates to (heaven help us) about $18,500 now, according to inflation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 2016 Mustang starts at… Read more »

Multiplication and Values

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Seventy people at a conference, each sent by their home college to build a team and bring home an action plan. 70 airfares at, let’s say, $400 — $28,000 70 two-night stays at an expensive business hotel, $250 a night — $35,000 70 people with meals out, not including those… Read more »

Taxonomy of Adjuncts

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Combat Narratives

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We seem to have a limited vocabulary with which to describe cultural phenomena. For instance, when my wife and I bought our house, we converted an unused loft over the garage into my pool room. A room of contemplation and meditation, a room in which the pool table itself was… Read more »