Higher Education

Why I went back to school in Higher Ed

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve recently gone back to school for an M.Ed in Higher Education. Regular readers may know that I already have a humanities PhD, which raises a pretty obvious question: “What the hell Dan? Aren’t you done with school? Why collect yet another degree? Seriously what is …

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Higher EducationMoney

SIU Zero-time Adjunct Follow-up

[Update to the update: SIU has posted a statement on the programme here. As it essentially confirms my suspicions that it is designed to steal soft academic labour from new PhDs by trading on their institutional loyalty and need for affiliation without paying them for their services, I provide the …

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A pile of US $100 bills
Higher EducationMoney

And so It Has Come to This

Southern Illinois University has finally taken the step that we all knew was coming, whether we openly admitted it to ourselves or not. The progression was too obvious, the market forces in question too powerful, for this result to have been anything but inevitable. The question was never if, but …

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CulturePolitics

The Arts Will Save Us–If We Let Them

Those of you in academic and artistic circles have no doubt heard by this point that Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year involves the closure of both the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, along with several other cultural institutions. There are lots of reasons why …

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Critical ThinkingCultureEducationFeatured

Meaning What We Say, Saying What We Mean

Recently on social media, I posted this Slate article by Sam Kriss criticising Eric Garland’s popular “Game Theory” tweetstorm, which has been shared widely by those on the left who continue to feel shaken and demoralised by the results of the recent US presidential election. I generally try to avoid making too …

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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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GovernmentPolitics

Students Do Not Need Campus Political Parties to Be Politically Active

This fall, as thousands of new students pile into colleges and universities, they will explore the many clubs and student societies on offer. Many of them will join the youth or student wings of mainstream political parties, which will be especially prominent given the upcoming election in the United States. …

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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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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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