Friday, April 16, 2010

Out but not down: back now

Where have I been? Out. What have I been doing?  Tweeting more than blogging (and making allusions that date me). 140 characters and RTs more manageable on allergy (NM wind + juniper pollen) + COPD days. Not to mention other blogs, including three community blogs and one poetry blog.

Just thinking about the list flat wears me out. I need a plan. In full procrastination mode, I firmly resolved to hit the list ... tomorrow. Then (bless the RSS reader) up pops this nifty fill-in from the Bookforum to tide me over until the morrow. Then, in the interest of keeping it manageable, just one from column A (an NFM story) tomorrow (later today actually) and perhaps one from column B. Is there a Column C and if so what would be on it? I'll have to think about that. Easier if I were more of a hedgehog.

 (after all, that's what we're here for)
From The Hedgehog Review, Edward J. K. Gitre on A Failure to Communicate: Benjamin Braddock and the Aims of Education. In a critique of the pragmatic reduction of knowledge, Boyan Manchev defines the university as "locus of the unconditionally political". A study finds that academics generally lean one way or another early in life, bolstering theory that self-selection explains the large numbers of liberals in higher ed. Enlightened skepticism too easily turns to snark, leaving empathy and intellectual courage in short supply. 
A look at the most cited authors of books in the humanities. Can "neuro lit crit" save the humanities? We need to acknowledge the realities of employment in the humanities: It may be that the current dilemma is part of a long, cyclic history — or it may be something more serious is going on (and more). James Mulholland defends the "life of the mind" despite its economic risks. What should departments and deans be doing to help Ph.D.'s with a job search outside academe? Knowledge is a public good, and the growing strength of universities in China and elsewhere need not harm the West (and more). 
Phil Baty, who oversees a controversial international rating of universities, admits that the process had serious flaws, but argues rankings serve a legitimate purpose. End of university prestige: The growth of online learning is changing the way we think about higher education. Just how bad does a college have to be to lose accreditation? Fraud U: David Wolman on toppling a bogus-diploma empire. The Great College Hoax: Higher education can be a financial disaster — especially with the return on degrees down and student loan sharks on the prowl. Can we afford our state colleges? A "great books" college where liberty is a dirty word — not to the school's president.
My apologies for the resulting diligence deficit - and to myself for letting such a long "to blog" list accumulate like laundry, dishes, dust bunnies under the bed - a combination NFM-specific stories and my own choice of related topics. The NFM list includes reports from ad/con issue conference panels, welcoming a new board member, previewing/ announcing new brochure and the 1st issue of our long awaited newsletter, introducing 2010 campaigns (unemployment benefits, health care), and more. Mine covers adjunct blogs, social media, surveying higher ed, academic labor and adjunct faculty news and issues on the internet and around the blogosphere. 

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