Monthly Archives: February 2015

American Universities turning into boiler rooms

A few times I’ve ranted that the Poo Bahs of higher education, despite their huge salaries, have never done anything for education. I must concede that I’m wrong: the Poo Bahs have done much to make higher education worse, to turn our institutions of learning and research into, in many cases, pits for the exploitation […] … learn more→

The post PhD blues

One of the posts that caught my eye recently commented on the career prospects for the newly-qualified PhD, especially outside academia. Getting a job in the first place — especially in today’s economic climate — is naturally of concern. But the post-study period can be an unsettling time for a number of other reasons involving […] … learn more→

A literary scramble for Africa

Hiring: an annual ritual at the MLA. This year the Yale English department advertised a position in the 20th and 21st centuries. What we were really looking for, though, was something much more specific: Anglophone world literature. Already we had hired a senior Africanist, so Africa was not a high priority for us; we were […] … learn more→

Rank delusions

Every year, U.S. News & World Report, Times Higher Education, and others update university rankings. Reactions are paradoxical. On the one hand, university administrators and faculty members scan the lists for evidence of small movements up or down. On the other hand, everyone knows that the top 10, or 20, or 50 names will be […] … learn more→

Thesis know how – beware the quote dump

I very often see first drafts of theses – and sometimes completed ones – which suffer from quote dumping. A quote dump is when the writer inserts a very large extract of someone else’s words into a text and then does nothing with it. The quote sits there, highly visible in its indented and italicised […] … learn more→

What happens when a self-driving car meets a road rage driver?

Driverless cars could soon be cruising Australian roads if South Australia gives the go-ahead to reforms to its road legislation. The technology promises to increase safety on our roads, but what happens when such automated cars meet the less attractive side of human driving: the road rage driver? Such incidents may be rare on our […] … learn more→

Electronic innovation >>>

My expertise in the conventions of texting and Twitter and Instagram, compared with the expertise of the undergraduate students I work with, is < . Actually, it is < >.” Carlina provided the following translation: “sugary life is better than anything else/sugary life is on-point right now.” (For those of you who do not use […] … learn more→

Australian Academy of Science brings climate change closer to home

The Australian Academy of Sciences today released the new The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers. This is an extensively revised update of a similar publication in 2010. Its stated purpose is to “provide an understanding based on our present scientific knowledge, of some key questions about climate change”. What is notable about the […] … learn more→

28% of students with debt don’t know it

Integrity. It’s something of an antiquated concept anymore, but it really is worth nothing that every accredited institution promises to act with integrity. 1.1 The institution operates with integrity in all matters. (Integrity) …Failure of an institution to adhere to the integrity principle may result in a loss of accreditation… The very first principle of […] … learn more→

The Professor as comedian

“But, no jokes.” Thus said my first, otherwise excellent, class performance-evaluation sheet. Just starting my undergraduate teaching career at twenty something, I had been more concerned about the mastery of the subject (accounting), the fulfillment of class objectives, the clear delivery, the professional deportment. Check. Students’ opinions had been positive too: Their professor was “knowledgeable,” […] … learn more→