Category Archives: Talent Is Not Enough

Native Speakers

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I spent ten days working with two different clients, a big architecture-engineering firm and a small college. Hung out with fun people, worked with my pal Jenny as we have every summer for the past seven, and was grateful to get home after about 1500 miles of driving over two… Read more »

The Pitch

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I’ve been following some writing blogs lately, mostly having to do with the world of submitting fiction to literary agents, trying to be noticed within the slush pile. And the general theme of the advice is that you have one paragraph with which to live or die. It’s only that first… Read more »

How to Write

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Every year, my friend Jenny Shanahan and I lead a week-long writing workshop for faculty at Stevenson University, outside Baltimore. This summer will be the ninth time we’ve done it—it’s a lot of fun, and seems to be productive for them as well. We put together a booklet of writing… Read more »

Some Folks Got Further to Go

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Note: This post contains naughty words. I didn’t make them up, they’re merely reporting. Just so you know. Take One: last summer’s movie Bad Moms, about the difficulties of modern expectations for perfect mommy-ness, has a scene in a restaurant where the three moms are talking about the ways in which their… Read more »

I’m sorry to have to tell you…

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Gave a nice talk at the town’s library on Sunday, about fifteen people there to talk about higher ed and how individual students and scholars navigate it. One person said that her grandson had just finished college and was about to go to graduate school to become a faculty member, and that… Read more »

The Bureaucracy of Learning

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I once found a student report in a high school hallway. Three exams: 100, 100, and 93. Two homeworks at 50 points apiece, neither turned in, 0/100. Total score: 293/400, C–. So what part of this record is irrelevant? The exams, which could be aced without ever doing homework? The… Read more »

Inside Higher Ed

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I read Inside Higher Ed quite a lot, get their daily e-mail update. It’s a great headline-level news aggregation tool, not unlike Daily Kos or Truthout. And they do investigative work of their own, as well as posting opinion and career advice. You’ll hear more honesty about the adjunct world… Read more »

A Crisis of Definition

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Throughout this blog and the books it relates to, I’m oversimplifying a bit when I refer to PhDs as the degree that qualifies one for college teaching. There are others. A lot of them pertain to professions that normally don’t have a research component, like architecture. When I finished my… Read more »

Pyramid Scheme

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I had a really interesting interview this afternoon with a scholar who, for over thirty years, has taught in a writing program at a major research university, a giant school with more undergraduate students than the entire population of my hometown. And this writing program is staffed as follows: about 100… 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 »