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
FeaturedHigher 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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Photograph of a piece of chalk resting on a dusty tray at the bottom of a blackboard.
FeaturedHigher Education

Syllabus Adjunct Clause

Hey there, Doubters! As I promised in the last edition of On the Market, here is a sample adjunct clause that can be inserted into any syllabus for courses taught by temporary faculty. Please keep in mind that since situations differ from school to school–and even from department to department–the following …

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Empty lecture auditorium at UC Berkeley
Higher Education

On the Market VI: Excellence in Teaching and Student Evaluations

This year’s academic job application season is drawing to a close, and, as ever, I find the compilation of the last few packets to be tinged with the kind of grim urgency that accompanies the knowledge that all of the searches I applied to earlier in the year have already …

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Sunrise over Inyo, CA
CultureFeaturedHigher EducationSecondary Education

Our Cultural Obsession with College is Misguided and Dangerous

[Content note: youth suicide, mental illness]     One chilly morning in my Junior year of high school, a boy who sat a few desks behind me in my AP Calculus class came into school early, parked his car in the student lot, set up a video camera, recorded himself …

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Higher Education

On the Market V: Diversity Statements

One of the (least) fun things about the academic job market is that every application asks for a different constellation of documents. This is especially onerous when putting together your first few applications, which can take several hours of (unpaid) labour to piece together. As time goes on, though, you …

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