Monthly Archives: October 2014

An open letter to High School seniors

It’s October. For millions of American high school seniors, choosing what to do after receiving the high school degree begins now. It represents the first life-altering decision made by you about which you get to call the shots. Here are some important points to think about as you move into the decision-making season. The first […] … learn more→

ANU might be distorting markets, but markets are distorting society

John D. Rockefeller turned in his grave when the news drifted down to Hades that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund is divesting from fossil fuel companies … even from John D’s once very own Exxon. The shrill yelps that greeted ANU’s similar decision confirm that others too feel threatened. The decision was likely arrived at through […] … learn more→

Should classrooms be arcades?

Ah, the tippy-tap of electronics…it’s more representative of the sound of a classroom than chalk on the board, at least nowadays. When I started teaching, a “cell phone” was the size of a tool chest, and all it did was allow phone calls. Now, my students carry tiny devices of such power that calling them […] … learn more→

Know the vital players in your career: Your own actions

Too many would-be academics never finish their dissertations, never get tenure-track jobs, or never earn tenure—through no fault of their own—to believe that success in higher education simply requires pulling yourself up by your cognitive bootstraps. That said, you can’t always fault bad luck or lousy advisers. Sometimes your own action, or inaction, is to […] … learn more→

Using social media in the classroom: Why there’s a lot to like

Are your students constantly updating their statuses on Facebook? Uploading selfies to Instagram at inappropriate times? Refreshing their Twitter feed every five seconds? Chances are the answer is “yes,” and if you’re like the majority of teachers, you find it mildly annoying at best, or a serious impediment to learning at worst. Thankfully, it doesn’t […] … learn more→

Why Ireland’s postgrad funding squeeze has forced me to become an academic exile

As a young humanities scholar at the beginning of my PhD, my experience with the Irish postgraduate research funding system has left me disillusioned. So much so that I have joined the list of emigrants from Irish academia. Being faced with three to five years of tuition fees for my doctoral study on media studies, […] … learn more→

There is no debate about hitting children – it’s just wrong

US sports continue to struggle with the controversies surrounding Ray Rice’s domestic violence case, and the arrest of Slava Voynov on suspicion of domestic violence. But what has not been a matter of debate is where the line is for men hitting women. The media and the public have been nearly uniform in rallying around […] … learn more→

Destroying Higher Education a conspiracy?

Let’s look at the third fact as part of the supposed conspiracy to destroy higher education: Step III: Move in a managerial/administrative class that takes over governance of the university. Again, this is totally a true fact, but the article neglects to mention the huge salaries those people get (paid for by the student loan […] … learn more→

The satiric lesson of ‘Dear White People’

Rarely is a white audience afforded a lucid and freewheeling response to the deluge of indignities blacks still endure. Instead, reaction to the barrage of stereotypes embodied in many Tyler Perry films, the one-dimensional depiction of blacks in news or reality television, or whites’ insulting appropriation and commodification of a hard-earned black urban culture, is […] … learn more→

Comet families similar to our own are found around another star

A detailed study of comets orbiting the young nearby star Beta Pictoris is published in the journal Nature, and it reveals striking similarities to the comets found in our solar system. Over the past 30 years, 11 stars have been identified that appear to have comets orbiting around them, known as exocomets (akin to exoplanets). […] … learn more→