Category Archives: The New Project

Moneysynthesis and the Changing Ecosystem of Higher Ed

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Where I live in Vermont, there’s been a big move to control farmland runoff into streams. The issue is that all of the fertilizers and nutrients in the soil wind up in the lakes (especially Lake Champlain), creating an imbalance in the plant population that privileges some kinds of growth… Read more »

Ecological Storytelling

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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 »

Purging What Seemed Essential

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My wife and I are both kind of weary of the things we’ve accumulated over the decades, mostly independently before we were married. We may be the only couple you know with two overstuffed bookcases and six file cabinets in the garage. Anyway, she started a couple of days ago going through things… Read more »

The Causes and Impacts of Overpopulation

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Let’s start with a raw number. The annual production of new PhDs is occurring at about 250% the annual hiring rate, maybe a little more. So the aquarium is getting pretty overstocked. How do you make yourself noticed among all the pretty fish? (It’s not unlike bachelor’s degrees; now that so… Read more »

The Education of Fear

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I just finished reading Natalia Ginzburg’s book of essays, The Little Virtues. The title essay is her meditation on education and parenthood, both of which she believes are far too focused on instilling small virtues such as thrift, caution, prudence, tact and success. Better, she believes, to attend to the larger virtues… Read more »

Filling In the Plaid

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The American Institutes of Research has for a few years been running what they call their Delta Cost Project, in which they’ve tried diligently to investigate college costs and college spending. One fascinating data point we see is that employees per thousand students have remained pretty stable across time at different… Read more »

What Is College For?

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We live in an era of multifunctional devices. Computers with phones and cameras. Watches that measure your step count. As a wag once put it, if you can nail together two things that have never been nailed together before, you can sell it to somebody. So it’s no surprise that… Read more »

Evidence? I don’t need no freakin’ evidence!

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One of the most amusing data points I’ve seen in the past few weeks (aside from “It looked like a million, a million and a half people”) comes from our friends at the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA). As reported in their Institutional Policy Report 2014, nobody really has a firm… Read more »

The Good Old Days

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In her brilliant New Yorker essay this week, TV critic Emily Nussbaum likens the last election to comedy writing, saying essentially that we’ve just elected Don Rickles or Andrew Dice Clay or the cast of South Park. And she writes about the toxicity of nostalgia, citing a South Park episode… Read more »