Monthly Archives: November 2014

Ageism in Academe

Senior faculty. It sounds like an honorific. It isn’t. It’s more a sort of stigmata. Being called “senior faculty” stigmatizes you. I’m called “senior faculty” quite a lot. I have been teaching journalism for 33 years, 29 at the same college. My career in academe, begun with innocent hopes and fearsome ambitions, is nearing its […] … learn more→

Do professors have a moral duty to retire?

A few years ago, I read the Philosophy Smoker on a regular basis. In the comments threads, several job seekers complained about older professors who didn\’t retire. If only they finally went away, more tenure lines would become available for junior people. In a provocative essay, professor emerita Laurie Frendrich argues along similar lines. She […] … learn more→

A tale of two green lines

Efforts by academic groups to impose boycotts and other kinds of punitive measures on Israeli universities have gotten considerable attention lately. However, an opposite phenomenon has escaped notice: the widespread participation by mainstream universities in programs and collaborations with institutions located in occupied territories. This may surprise those who recall that Israel’s establishment of Ariel […] … learn more→

Curing grade inflation

The recent UNC scandal, where students took completely bogus courses to get a better GPA, puzzled me. See, the average grade in college now is an A-…you really, really, have to be a terrible student not to do well. \”Grade inflation\” is the term used to describe why grades are so much higher now, and […] … learn more→

UNC just following the fraud template

I really don’t want to give the impression I’m picking on UNC here. The extensive, epic, long-running fraud at UNC is nothing special. I daresay there’s a template for the fraud going on higher education, the only reason I’m discussing UNC is because it’s out in the open, at least in this one place. My […] … learn more→

What we can learn from unsuccessful online students

There are many studies that look at how online students differ from those in face-to-face classes in terms of performance, satisfaction, engagement, and other factors. It is well-known that online course completion rates tend to be lower than those for traditional classes. But relatively little is known about what the unsuccessful online student has to […] … learn more→

‘Easy A’s’ gets an F

The National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based think tank, has issued a number of reports in recent years on teacher preparation around the country. Its flagship effort since 2013, the Teacher Prep Review, is an annual report released in June that rates programs on how well they are preparing new teachers. In order to […] … learn more→

The one good thing about online, which beats even face-to-face

Unfortunately, online education, or its include-all moniker “online,” tends to be lined up against face-to-face or classroom instruction, as if the two were gunfighters. Even if in the minds of some one of the parties walks away the victor, that party has more than the usual shoulder or arm wound than that of the winner […] … learn more→


No, it’s not what you think. It’s the creeping insistence that everything needs its own encyclopedia. Older readers of Lingua Franca will remember the era of multivolume encyclopedias. Some of you may have grown up with classy sets of Britannicas. Others may have had their parents acquire a humbler set of Funk & Wagnalls, one […] … learn more→