Category Archives: Attempting to Stay Sane

Alternate explanation

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I just re-read Marc Bousquet’s How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation. You should, too, though you should be prepared for a deeply inside-language analysis that privileges critical theory over looking around. But one of the things that I’m still puzzled by is a question that isn’t… Read more »

Flooding the Market

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Just got back from some chores, looking through the mail. My wife (Ph.D. Environmental Psychology, CUNY Graduate Center, 1982) got an alumni solicitation letter from the psychology program’s new-ish “Acting Executive Officer,” crowing about the status of the program and asking for dough. Along with the bragging points about $25M in… Read more »

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 »

Oversimplifiers of the World, Unite!

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For years, I’ve made the case that every faculty member plays three roles for their students, even without knowing they’re doing it. There’s the teacher, the person who introduces students to the material of a field and the rigor of its investigation. There’s the supervisor, the person who takes an… Read more »

A Job I Can’t Imagine Wanting

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I have two good friends who have both recently become college presidents. One visited last weekend. And as part of a long and wide-ranging dinner conversation with her and her family, blessedly little of which was about higher ed, she did happen to mention that she’d discovered how much money her… Read more »

Stack of Futility

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I took my trash and recycling down to the local transfer station this morning, chatted with Glen our dumpmaster about our coming plans for large waste and scrap metal collection day (a town official’s work is never done). One of the things Glen does is to take things that others… Read more »

Bureaucratic Blues

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It’s increasingly evident to me that accreditation is an instance of Oscar Wilde’s observation about “knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Wilde used that as his definition of a cynic, and accreditation increasingly feels cynical to me. Bureaucracies are almost by definition cynical enterprises. They have to… Read more »

Ready to be a dandelion?

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I’ve just been pointed to science fiction writer Cory Doctorow’s blog post in which he claims that the characteristics of intellectual work in the Internet age (ease of duplication and transmission, immediacy of reach, lack of reader focus and followthrough, an immense ocean of choices) means that artists of all… Read more »

Another Burden of Administrative Life

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31 and 38

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I’ve been writing a lot of fiction in the past few years, mostly stories of men who’ve reached a point of comfort and stability in their lives, and find it a little hollow. And without my intending it, all of my protagonists have been the same two ages. Robert is 38. Clay is… Read more »