CultureEducationHigher Education

Who is this music for, anyway?

Not long ago I was talking to a colleague of mine who was teaching an undergraduate course on early music, which is the term academics generally use to refer to Western European art music from before 1750. Some time previous to our conversation one of the music majors in his class, …

READ MORE →
Students and university scene
EducationHigher EducationPolitics

Look to Labor Law to Solve Student Association Conflicts

A few years ago, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the University of Windsor was withholding the health and dental insurance money that it collects on behalf of the University of Windsor Student Alliance. Allegedly, the university was fretting about the governance of the student association. The story sounds similar …

READ MORE →
Acupuncture
Higher EducationScience

Selling and Promoting Alternative Medicine Around Campus

There is a lot that is wrong in the world today, and this is far from the worst problem. But it has been bugging me for several months now: my old university sells homeopathic medicine in its drugstore. Most readers of the Skepchick Network will know what homeopathy is, but …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →