Tuesday, July 30, 2013

the university & its challenges

Welcome to the Reading Room, briefly annotated links rounding up the usual higher ed suspects. Institutional pubs, UK and US press, journals and magazines weigh in on university culture, online education, open access, academic publishing, race, gender, movies, adjuncts (thank you, Omnivore!), graduate school, grim futures (so what else is new?) and so on...

Leon Botstein (Bard): Resisting Complacency, Fear, and the Philistine: The University and Its Challenges, The Hedgehog Review, Summer 2013. From Notre Dame Magazine, a special issue: Is college worth it? Male academics rarely suffer more than a bit of rudeness, but women have it far worse, according to Luke Brunning. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Who Ruined the #Humanities?

…revisited before returning to counting ACA hours, UI appeal strategies, organizing, #CEW2013, adjunct stories, HE and NTT in the news and other Future of HE concerns. 

Perspective and premise developed in this WSJ article may not sit well with humanities faculty, in particular those among us professing literature. Increasingly, NTT faculty teach more upper division and even graduate courses. The turn Lee Siegel anticipates so joyously would affect tenured faculty and lit teaching lecturers like +Joseph Fruscione and others. 

Yet, how many community college adjuncts teach literature, let alone their research specialty? Early cuts humanities offerings did not make much dent in graduate enrollments. Further, deeper ones might. Beyond the obvious and real concerns for professional futures, what then of the university as home to and primary patron of the humanities (and humanist scholars as gatekeepers and guardians)?
You've probably heard the baleful reports. The number of college students majoring in the humanities is plummeting, according to a big study released last month by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. The news has provoked a flood of high-minded essays deploring the development as a symptom and portent of American decline.
Fewer and fewer undergraduates are majoring in the humanities, and critic Lee Siegel couldn’t be happier. As he tells WSJ’s Gary Rosen, great poetry and novels are meant to be experienced in private and alone, away from the competitive pressures of the classroom.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

It's Alive! #SocialMedia Musings

Image credit: EDUniverse: It’s Alive!
A New Approach to Communications
May 23, 2010, post rediscovered in Drafts. Let's apply digital electrodes and reconnect to find out if it's still alive. The general observations are still sound, but the links may not be. There are more drafts to check out and perhaps post, as well as back posts worth revisiting. Digital does not have to be ephemeral, posted and forgotten. Indeed, our all time most popular post, 2,489 views, a guest post by Jen Bills about the public service loan forgiveness program, dates back to 2009 ~ and still gets hits, 100+ just last month.

What has changed? Changes have been more quantitative and qualitative. We have more board and regular members blogging, using Facebook, Twitter, added more social media ~ YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, another bookmarking tool ~ and changed feed readers when  Google Reader closed. Far more important than tools, we are adding connections and growing our network that is part of a larger, loosely connected adjunct / contingent faculty network, substantial and growing. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The #GatesEffect…@Chronicle special

…on How the World's Largest Foundation Is Remaking Higher Education. Wherever you stand on venture philanthropy (or philanthropiracy) and Gates Foundation's influence in higher ed, on community colleges in particular, and shaping U.S. education policy in general, information ~ all perspectives and positions ~ is the indispensable mind tool for our HE defense kits. We apologize in advance for any pay walls you might encounter along the way. 

See also:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bastille Day!

July 14 seems an auspicious date to plan, lay the groundwork and, if not start a revolution, then at the very least, initiate change (expressing the same in a more genteel and less threatening manner). Storm a Bastille today...personal, academic, professional, career or societal.

More than a national holiday, Bastille Day marks a deeply symbolic historical moment of solidarity and revolt against injustice, Bastille Day is commemorated world-wide, especially in Francophone countries (ironic considering French colonial history). Even in south Louisiana where conservative attitudes, social and political, are deeply ingrained, Bastille Day is a big deal. Had it fallen during the school year, it would have been a school holiday. Now I'm thinking it would make a dandy holiday for the academic precariat.

Monday, July 8, 2013

blogging through the doldrums

…The NFM blog is having a mid-life crisis. As remedy, I'm thinking swerve ~ a change of direction heading for territory less frequented by social media ~ but keep the furniture (tabbed pages, widgets, feeds), change carpets, curtains and put down a fresh coat of paint. Please share your thoughts…

Why now? Today is reflection day, not just here but across various networks. That is what I told myself this morning and look how far along I am not. Instead of the ubiquitous and easily ignored to-do list, consider a didn't-do list. I am. It seems more realistic. At the end of May, I bemoaned a four post month and promised to do better in June. Instead, I matched with another four. April was a five post month. Blogs do have mid-life crises. Some succumb to them. This one has been going since 2009, cultivated readers, added pages, news stream, video bar, feeds, widgets and such, but, like so many blogs, been eclipsed by social media...hence crisis and now reflection.

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