Category Archives: The New Project

Category Mismatches, Part Number B

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So I’m spending part of my Sunday morning reading the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce 2016 whitepaper called America’s Divided Recovery: College Haves and Have-Nots. I’m weird that way. And I’m trying not to be surprised at some circular logic. Based on the education level of incumbents, this report… Read more »

Category mismatches

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Once we divide the world into labeled buckets, we can quickly fall into the trap of thinking that everything must fit into one of them. The work I’ve been doing has shown me an awful lot of category mismatches, easy labels that contain dissimilar things. STEM, for instance, is a… Read more »

The Adjuncts’ Exile

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Last week, Nora and I went to a memorial service for a friend. It was a beautiful, mild June Saturday. The church was filled, folding chairs in the foyer, and a tent outside with another hundred listening to the service on speakers. Maybe 400 people, in a town of only… 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 »

NOW What?

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I love those studies where we actually get to see how people spend their time through their days. I recently saw a set of logbooks from an adjunct faculty member that included five hours of e-mail in the course of an eleven-hour workday. And that’s no surprise: the work of… Read more »

The Story

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I spent an hour and a half yesterday at the mighty Northshire Books of Manchester VT, one of the fine independent bookstores still with us. (Buy nothing from Amazon, friends. Nothing at all, ever.) And I looked at the covers of two thousand books, and opened fifty, and bought two,… Read more »

Throwing (Almost) Everything Out

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Loyal readers of this space will remember a post from a couple of months back in which I described the experience of winnowing down my old research files. That was one drawer. I’ve now done six, and as with that first round, I’m discarding almost everything, putting a strain on… 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 »

Schlimmbesserung

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The music writer Sasha Frere-Jones wrote on his blog a couple of months ago that there’s a German word schlimmbesserung which means “a supposed improvement that makes things worse.” And maybe it’s just that I’m old now and reminisce about how much fun it used to be to watch the… 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 »