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She Wrote a Farewell Letter to Colleagues. Then 80,000 People Read It. - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Either we’re giving Ph.D.s to a bunch of people who were actually not good scholars, or we are losing a lot of human capital and a lot of future knowledge production.
academia 
yesterday by MF_reads
William James - The PhD Octopus
"America is thus a nation rapidly drifting towards a state of things in which no man of science or letters will be accounted respectable unless some kind of badge or diploma is stamped upon him, and in which bare personality will be a mark of outcast estate."
academia  education  history  writing 
2 days ago by wyclif
Letters [Aug '15]
I have a theory that the basic difference between liberals and conservatives comes down to a question that economists have labeled, pejoratively, the "fallacy of composition.” As I recall, this is the idea that rules we apply to individual behavior, with good results, can have bad results when those rules are applied to society as a whole. If I give free food to a starving woman in Africa, I have performed a moral act and followed the teachings of Jesus and other religious leaders. If my government sends massive food shipments to a region of Africa on a regular basis, then the farmers there cannot sell their crops at the price they need, so they do not plant new crops, and the famine is perpetuated. But at least then the NGO's have something to do to justify staying at four-star hotels. (Sorry, even I am tempted to an ad hominem.)

It seems to me that liberals too often apply standards appropriate for individual behavior to collective challenges. Conservatives too often apply standards appropriate for an economy to their own personal behavior. Liberals need to read Milton Friedman. Conservatives need to serve food to homeless people.
[...]
If Reed were to become more internally diverse, this would actually *reduce* diversity at the level of the American educational system: Reed would have become that much more like all the other places. Our country as a whole profits from having Reeds as well as Brigham Youngs, and would be impoverished—made less diverse—if every school tried to make its internal structure a microcosm of the external diversity in the world.
[...]
The Quest does not currently abide by an open publishing policy, as "Uncivil Discourse" maintains, and its editors have openly rejected articles on political grounds. In fact, the Quest has leapt to the defense of Harvard President Larry Summers' outrageous sexism; in this regard, at least, it is well to the right of both the New York Times and the Harvard student body newspaper.
[...]
Whatever isolation I experienced at Reed was mostly self-imposed, as I worked through my beliefs, until I could articulate what I felt without feeling embarrassed. But I never felt “victimized” because I always seemed to blunder into friendships and associations that encouraged me to speak my mind. No one ever mocked or belittled me. Quite the contrary, everyone I met tried to engage me with humor, challenge me to think my beliefs through, or guide me with some sort of useful object lesson.

As a result, four years later I graduated a “flaming” liberal, as my Dad liked to say, although the Colonel never used the “L”-word in mixed company. And all I can say now is: “I think whatever gods may be for my radicalization at Reed!”
[...]
I was one of three Catholics at Reed and could not have felt more comfortable or respected. Commons’ Friday menu of steamed halibut was especially unpopular. My friends would file past my table shaking their trays in my face, a gesture I regarded as a peculiarly Reed-style term of endearment.

We had a Young Republican Club. There were, as I recall, six members out of a student body of 800. There were about 300 Young Democrats, who loved and courted the Young Republicans, because they were the ones who owned cars and could transport Democrats to off-campus beer parties.

My senior year brought a series of controversial speakers to campus. The civil rights movement was boiling, and Gov. Ross Barnett of Mississippi arrived. He was an outspoken proponent of segregation and was received courteously, although not warmly. ...

Another speaker in the series was the leader of the seven American Nazis known to exist at the time. As I understand it, the majority of students at Reed during my time were of Jewish descent. Reed had no quota. Apparently, six percent was the upper limit for Jewish admissions at comparable schools. In 1965, these students were likely to be the children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, if not siblings, of Holocaust victims. The speaker was again received with rigorous courtesy. He fielded penetrating questions not very ably. Reed certainly treated this fellow better than his own family: an uncle ran him off his property with the blast of a shotgun to his heels when he shows up in uniform one day.

As to the general quality of discourse on campus, I do not recall hearing mockery of any person, idea, or thing. World-class snootiness was the predominant style of aggressive discussion, and I miss it terribly.
ReedMag  academia 
2 days ago by nightcrawler
The advantages of hybrid academic-administrative careers (opinion)
Life beyond the tenure track can feel a little like starring in a Choose Your Own Adventure story, the kind where one decision could lead to possible glory, treasure or infinite happiness, while another could end in ruin, despair or potentially being eaten by a shark.
Pocket  academia 
3 days ago by j-l-r
Resentment
Alas, this essay is behind the paywall: “How Academe Breeds Resentment” (The Chronicle of Higher Education). Change a few words, and what Douglas Dowland says could apply to any workplace.
academia  work 
3 days ago by M.Leddy
Academic futures
What Sharon O’Dair found at the Modern Language Association’s 2018 convention: a profession that produces too many Ph.D.s, and then encourages those degree recipients to seek a future outside academia.
academia  MLA 
3 days ago by M.Leddy
Professors of Practice | AAUP
On the one hand, the faculty's voice, including the voice of those faculty who are not eligible for tenure, should be heard across the range of issues that bear on its responsibilities for teaching and research. On the other hand, participation in governance by faculty who can never have the protections of tenure, and who therefore occupy positions of permanent insecurity, can erode the independence of the faculty's voice.
academia  tenure 
3 days ago by jstenner

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