rvenkat + academia   30

Knowledge, Power, and Academic Freedom | Columbia University Press
"Academic freedom rests on a shared belief that the production of knowledge advances the common good. In an era of education budget cuts, wealthy donors intervening in university decisions, and right-wing groups threatening dissenters, scholars cannot expect that those in power will value their work. Can academic freedom survive in this environment—and must we rearticulate what academic freedom is in order to defend it?
"This book presents a series of essays by the renowned historian Joan Wallach Scott that explore the history and theory of free inquiry and its value today. Scott considers the contradictions in the concept of academic freedom. She examines the relationship between state power and higher education; the differences between the First Amendment right of free speech and the guarantee of academic freedom; and, in response to recent campus controversies, the politics of civility. The book concludes with an interview conducted by Bill Moyers in which Scott discusses the personal experiences that have informed her views. Academic freedom is an aspiration, Scott holds: its implementation always falls short of its promise, but it is essential as an ideal of ethical practice. Knowledge, Power, and Academic Freedom is both a nuanced reflection on the tensions within a cherished concept and a strong defense of the importance of critical scholarship to safeguard democracy against the anti-intellectualism of figures from Joseph McCarthy to Donald Trump."
book  academia  university  via:cshalizi 
march 2019 by rvenkat
What Statistics Can't Tell Us in the Fight over Affirmative Action at Harvard | Boston Review
-- see also the blog post discussion here

-- Also there is a discussion thread/post by Susan Dynarski that was clarifying but I forget the link.
education  university  academia  discrimination  breview  andrew.gelman 
january 2019 by rvenkat
Changing demographics of scientific careers: The rise of the temporary workforce | PNAS
Contemporary science has been characterized by an exponential growth in publications and a rise of team science. At the same time, there has been an increase in the number of awarded PhD degrees, which has not been accompanied by a similar expansion in the number of academic positions. In such a competitive environment, an important measure of academic success is the ability to maintain a long active career in science. In this paper, we study workforce trends in three scientific disciplines over half a century. We find dramatic shortening of careers of scientists across all three disciplines. The time over which half of the cohort has left the field has shortened from 35 y in the 1960s to only 5 y in the 2010s. In addition, we find a rapid rise (from 25 to 60% since the 1960s) of a group of scientists who spend their entire career only as supporting authors without having led a publication. Altogether, the fraction of entering researchers who achieve full careers has diminished, while the class of temporary scientists has escalated. We provide an interpretation of our empirical results in terms of a survival model from which we infer potential factors of success in scientific career survivability. Cohort attrition can be successfully modeled by a relatively simple hazard probability function. Although we find statistically significant trends between survivability and an author’s early productivity, neither productivity nor the citation impact of early work or the level of initial collaboration can serve as a reliable predictor of ultimate survivability.
sociology_of_science  demographics  academia 
december 2018 by rvenkat
I Worked With Avital Ronell. I Believe Her Accuser. - The Chronicle of Higher Education


-- links too many to list, containing opinions of Zizek, Butler defending Ronell. I will be charitable and say,"Nice magic trick, guys!". Mostly a waste of time; useful if you are into learning argot of 21st century post-modernist, gender, queer and intersectional thought.
academia  education  university  bureaucracy  via:cottom 
september 2018 by rvenkat
Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports

Recruitment information with a link to a 90-question survey, consisting of multiple-choice, Likert-type and open-ended questions, was placed on three websites where parents had reported rapid onsets of gender dysphoria. Website moderators and potential participants were encouraged to share the recruitment information and link to the survey with any individuals or communities that they thought might include eligible participants to expand the reach of the project through snowball sampling techniques. Data were collected anonymously via SurveyMonkey. Quantitative findings are presented as frequencies, percentages, ranges, means and/or medians. Open-ended responses from two questions were targeted for qualitative analysis of themes.


There were 256 parent-completed surveys that met study criteria. The adolescent and young adult (AYA) children described were predominantly female sex at birth (82.8%) with a mean age of 16.4 years. Forty-one percent of the AYAs had expressed a non-heterosexual sexual orientation before identifying as transgender. Many (62.5%) of the AYAs had been diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder or neurodevelopmental disability prior to the onset of their gender dysphoria (range of the number of pre-existing diagnoses 0–7). In 36.8% of the friendship groups described, the majority of the members became transgender-identified. The most likely outcomes were that AYA mental well-being and parent-child relationships became worse since AYAs “came out”. AYAs expressed a range of behaviors that included: expressing distrust of non-transgender people (22.7%); stopping spending time with non-transgender friends (25.0%); trying to isolate themselves from their families (49.4%), and only trusting information about gender dysphoria from transgender sources (46.6%).


Rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD) describes a phenomenon where the development of gender dysphoria is observed to begin suddenly during or after puberty in an adolescent or young adult who would not have met criteria for gender dysphoria in childhood. ROGD appears to represent an entity that is distinct from the gender dysphoria observed in individuals who have previously been described as transgender. The worsening of mental well-being and parent-child relationships and behaviors that isolate AYAs from their parents, families, non-transgender friends and mainstream sources of information are particularly concerning. More research is needed to better understand this phenomenon, its implications and scope.

--- and the administrative and bureaucratic stupidity that followed
debates  nature-nurture  social_influence  contagion  social_networks  sociology_of_science  gender_studies  social_construction_of_ignorance  university  academia  bureaucracy 
august 2018 by rvenkat
Project MUSE - The End of the Modern Academy: At the University of Chicago, for Example
The title of this essay is meant to suggest a particular understanding of the mission or end of the modern academy as exemplified by certain ideals associated in the minds of many academics around the world with the University of Chicago. The title is also meant to signal and raise concerns about contemporary threats to that mission, even at the University of Chicago itself. Examined in the essay are three core values of the modern academy. Are they foolish ideals? Have they become postmodern antiques?

Ideal #1: "Research done primarily in anticipation of profit is incompatible with the aims of the university."

Ideal #2: "The basic principles of the university include complete freedom of research and the unrestricted dissemination of information."

Ideal #3: "There must be no consideration of sex, ethnic or national characteristics, or political or religious beliefs or affiliations in any decision regarding appointment, promotion, or reappointment at any level of the academic staff.

Full article here
academia  university  philosophy  ethics  pedagogy  critique  cultural_evolution  anthropology 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Meta-analysis of faculty's teaching effectiveness: Student evaluation of teaching ratings and student learning are not related - ScienceDirect
Student evaluation of teaching (SET) ratings are used to evaluate faculty's teaching effectiveness based on a widespread belief that students learn more from highly rated professors. The key evidence cited in support of this belief are meta-analyses of multisection studies showing small-to-moderate correlations between SET ratings and student achievement (e.g., Cohen, 1980, 1981; Feldman, 1989). We re-analyzed previously published meta-analyses of the multisection studies and found that their findings were an artifact of small sample sized studies and publication bias. Whereas the small sample sized studies showed large and moderate correlation, the large sample sized studies showed no or only minimal correlation between SET ratings and learning. Our up-to-date meta-analysis of all multisection studies revealed no significant correlations between the SET ratings and learning. These findings suggest that institutions focused on student learning and career success may want to abandon SET ratings as a measure of faculty's teaching effectiveness.
academia  education  evaluation  teaching  meta-analysis  pedagogy  psychology  measurement 
december 2017 by rvenkat
The Age of Outrage | City Journal
-- uses overly misleading metaphors to rush to his world view; nothing new here except a few interesting references.
education  academia  politics  left  liberalism  gender_studies  queer_studies  critical_theory  regressive_left  history_of_ideas  critique 
december 2017 by rvenkat
The Ivory Tower Can’t Keep Ignoring Tech - The New York Times
-- call me jaded but this _start an elite institute_ approach to solving societal problems business has never worked. For many of us playing in the third division, it is not our will but our bureaucrat-masters a.k.a administrators that decide.
algorithms  machine_learning  ethics  academia  critique  via:mathbabe  NYTimes  for_friends  i_remain_skeptical 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Free Speech on Campus | Yale University Press
Hardly a week goes by without another controversy over free speech on college campuses. On one side, there are increased demands to censor hateful, disrespectful, and bullying expression and to ensure an inclusive and nondiscriminatory learning environment. On the other side are traditional free speech advocates who charge that recent demands for censorship coddle students and threaten free inquiry. In this clear and carefully reasoned book, a university chancellor and a law school dean—both constitutional scholars who teach a course in free speech to undergraduates—argue that campuses must provide supportive learning environments for an increasingly diverse student body but can never restrict the expression of ideas. This book provides the background necessary to understanding the importance of free speech on campus and offers clear prescriptions for what colleges can and can’t do when dealing with free speech controversies.
freedom_of_speech  university  academia  united_states_of_america  book 
september 2017 by rvenkat
Evidence of a Toxic Environment for Women in Economics - The New York Times
--contains link to the original working paper. Curious to know more about how they circumvent the __found data__ problem.
gender  discrimination  academia  sociology_of_science  economics  text_mining  topic_model  justin.wolfers 
august 2017 by rvenkat
The natural selection of bad science | Open Science
Poor research design and data analysis encourage false-positive findings. Such poor methods persist despite perennial calls for improvement, suggesting that they result from something more than just misunderstanding. The persistence of poor methods results partly from incentives that favour them, leading to the natural selection of bad science. This dynamic requires no conscious strategizing—no deliberate cheating nor loafing—by scientists, only that publication is a principal factor for career advancement. Some normative methods of analysis have almost certainly been selected to further publication instead of discovery. In order to improve the culture of science, a shift must be made away from correcting misunderstandings and towards rewarding understanding. We support this argument with empirical evidence and computational modelling. We first present a 60-year meta-analysis of statistical power in the behavioural sciences and show that power has not improved despite repeated demonstrations of the necessity of increasing power. To demonstrate the logical consequences of structural incentives, we then present a dynamic model of scientific communities in which competing laboratories investigate novel or previously published hypotheses using culturally transmitted research methods. As in the real world, successful labs produce more ‘progeny,’ such that their methods are more often copied and their students are more likely to start labs of their own. Selection for high output leads to poorer methods and increasingly high false discovery rates. We additionally show that replication slows but does not stop the process of methodological deterioration. Improving the quality of research requires change at the institutional level.
academia  economics  social_construction_of_knowledge  sociology_of_science  science_as_a_social_process  science_of_science  via:delong 
april 2017 by rvenkat
A crisis in student loans? How changes in the characteristics of borrowers and in the institutions they attended contributed to rising loan defaults
This paper examines the rise in student loan delinquency and default drawing on a unique set of administrative data on federal student borrowing, matched to earnings records from de- identified tax records. Most of the increase in default is associated with the rise in the number of borrowers at for-profit schools and, to a lesser extent, 2-year institutions and certain other non-selective institutions, whose students historically composed only a small share of borrowers. These non-traditional borrowers were drawn from lower income families, attended institutions with relatively weak educational outcomes, and experienced poor labor market outcomes after leaving school. In contrast, default rates among borrowers attending most 4-year public and non-profit private institutions and graduate borrowers—borrowers who represent the vast majority of the federal loan portfolio—have remained low, despite the severe recession and their relatively high loan balances. Their higher earnings, low rates of unemployment, and greater family resources appear to have enabled them to avoid adverse loan outcomes even during times of hardship. Decomposition analysis indicates that changes in characteristics of borrowers and in the institutions they attended are associated with much of the doubling in default rates between 2000 and 2011. Changes in the type of schools attended, debt burdens, and labor market outcomes of non-traditional borrowers at for-profit and 2-year colleges explain the largest share.
american_universities  university  academia  economic_sociology  united_states_of_america  via:wolfers 
september 2015 by rvenkat

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