Protest
Critical ThinkingCultureHigher Education

Towards a Campus Activism Reading List

Last month, I was reading an article written by (or at least attributed to) the Canadian columnist Margaret Wente entitled “The radicals have taken over: Academic extremism comes to Canada.” It’s a fairly standard take down of campus anti-racist, feminist and pro-LGBTQ politics, but I was interested in how it …

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EducationHigher Education

Precarious Academic Employment and Material Goods Do Not Mix

This week is Fair Employment Week in Canada. It’s an annual event put on by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and their provincial counterparts to raise awareness of the precarious work conditions of adjunct employees. The week is usually marked by sad stories of the economic difficulties faced by …

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The cover of issue 127 of the journal Social Text
Critical ThinkingHigher EducationPublishingScience

Evaluating the Sokal Hoax Twenty Years Later

Twenty years ago, in May 1996 (okay, twenty years and four months—sue me), Alan Sokal, a physicist at with appointments at the University College London and New York University, published a ground-breaking paper in the respected critical theory journal Social Text. The paper has been highly influential. I learned about …

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Higher EducationPedagogy

“Syllabus Day” Happens for a Reason

It’s Back-to-School season again, also known to educators as time for classroom-management think pieces, syllabus guides, curricular critiques, and ritual lamentations for summer to make their yearly rounds on social media. Popular among my colleagues this year has been this critique of the phenomenon of “Syllabus Day” by Kevin Gannon, in …

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Document fron US Atomic Energy Commission stamped "top secret" and "confidential"
GovernmentHigher Education

FOIA Abuse Could Become a Serious Problem for Academics

Academics take heed: if you are employed by a public university, the contents of your email account are subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This means activists, critics, or any member of the public with an axe to grind can request copies for a nominal administrative fee and quote-mine …

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oh no!
Higher Education

A First Year as a Professor, in GIFs

A little over a year ago, I accepted a tenure track position at a small college in New England. I was… thrilled. I was really blown away by the school visit and it felt really… comfortable. I did my bachelors in physics at a small college in Pennsylvania, so I …

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FeaturedHigher Education

Sorry Bernie – Tuition free college can’t ever come back!

In the not too distant past, your average college student could get a degree in four years and walk away with no debt from almost every public university.  Whatever the costs where, they could be offset with a summer job and maybe a few hundred bucks from the parents.  In …

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Image of 15th-c. scribe Jean Miélot
Higher Education

Universities should be employing surplus PhDs–as administrative staff.

Of the many criticisms I hear levelled at the current state of higher education, I would say that the following four are among the most frequent: The current reliance on contingent faculty rather than full-time professors is both undermining educational quality and creating a permanent academic underclass of PhDs working …

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Empty stage with a stool and a mic stand; sign behind reads "Comedy"
Higher Education

Top Ten Ways Academia and Stand-Up Comedy are Secretly the Same Job

  10. You basically have to take any paid gig you can get (beggars can’t be choosers!) 9. Unusually high rates of anxiety and depression among your peers 8. Constant pressure to write new material 7. Sometimes you take a long trip just to end up talking to an empty room 6. Audiences are …

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A pile of US $100 bills
From the ArchivesHigher EducationMoneyPolitics

From the Archives: Why College Probably Shouldn’t Be Free

[Note: Much of this analysis was written around the time of the 2012 Quebec Student Protests, but remains relevant given the Sanders campaign’s popular free-college-for-all platform in the ongoing US presidential election.] I think the system of higher education in Quebec provides a useful and interesting comparison to the situation in the …

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