In the continuing effort to organize my reading more effectively, I’m starting a “state of the profession” category on the blog. This is a round-up of professional articles that I’ve found of interest during the preceding week or two. Sometimes there will be commentary, sometimes I’ll just list the articles. Apologies in advance if the commentary comes off as opinionated–I take it as a given that I haven’t had time to learn all the facts, or to read every perspective on a given subject, so I’m always open to constructive criticism and additional resources that will make me a better person.  HOWEVER, since I’ve seen some royal higher-ed blogging dust-ups in the past six weeks, before people decide to provide self-righteous advice on which articles I really should be blogging or believing, just note that posting an article doesn’t mean I agree with it, it just means that it’s, well, interesting. If the link is to a Chronicle story, you might be out of luck if your institution doesn’t subscribe, because, well, that’s the way the Chronicle is.  Otherwise, most of these materials should be free to access.  This first edition includes articles from several weeks back…

Here goes…

January, 13, the Chronicle, To Fix Graduate Education, Johns Hopkins U. Grapples With Some Trade-Offs.”  When all is said and done, I can’t help but have the impression that faculty and grad students are adopting a “have our cake and eat it too” approach here. Coming from a small graduate program myself, I can say that while reducing enrollment makes TA’ing and seminars a bit more strenuous, it’s hardly impossible, and it shouldn’t be the place to make your stand.  One subtext, of course, is that if you keep enrollments as they are, you are expecting your grad students to pursue a variety of careers, not simply chase that fading tenure-track dream. Except I don’t think that *is* the expectation.

January 15, the Chronicle, “Doubts About MOOCs Continue to Rise, Survey Finds.”  Surprise, what was preached as an education salvation-narrative might well be inaccurate.

January 16, the LARB, “Pixel Dust: Illusions of Innovation in Scholarly Publishing.”  This has been going around lately: why digital publishing isn’t as revolutionary sui generis as is often assumed.

January 24, from The Professor Is In, “Graduate Student Shrimps on the Doctoral Barbie: The View from Tenure (A Guest Post).”   Very important post on how expectations to have graduate students can affect your status in the department and university.

January 30, from Inside Higher Ed, “Equality for Adjuncts,” a review of Keith Hoeller’s Equality for Contingent Faculty. From all accounts, a very important book, though the steep price tag will keep the average person from buying it. The claim that adjunct equality is a civil rights issue is already a contentious one.  I’m skeptical of that claim, to put it mildly–read an excellent rebuttal the other day, can’t for the life of me remember where. But I’m sure we’re only getting started on this conversation.

January 30, from Slate,Hit ‘Em Where It Hurts: The solution to the higher-ed adjunct crisis lies in the U.S. News rankings.”  Interesting idea.

January 31, from The Atlantic, “Down With Textbooks.”  Why textbooks are not effective educational tools, if you couldn’t guess from the title.

Happy Super-Bowling


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