Wednesday, January 19, 2011

trolling the academented blogosphere

Licensed under Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by davidsilver

...annotated, of course, via brief post excerpts, most but not all from blogs of the academented precariat. I was collecting links to post to the Contingent Academics Mailing List and, mindful of recent admonition not to post full length articles, excerpting briefly from opening. When that post in the making got long, mindful of recent complaints about irrelevant, time-wasting posts, I decided to blog my efforts. Then, if so inclined, I could post the link. 

No particular order other than as they came up in my feed reader. Any perceived organization, thematic or otherwise, is either serendipitous or imagined. However, more than one post on same topic, commenting on same material or from same blogger are listed adjacently.

This could become a feature, but I'd like to come up with a better - and shorter - name. I might even theme or otherwise organize them...

This was one of the worst weeks in recent UC,CSU, and CCC history, as the new Democratic governor dished out triple $500 million cuts to all the segments ($400 m to the community colleges), neck-and-neck for the cutting record of his Republican predecessor.  Comments on this blog and elsewhere suggest that some people think this is a clever political ploy, but many people are on the verge of giving up on the idea that California higher ed will ever recover under our political system.  
Bob Samuels: Next week, I will be going with several union leaders to speak to state legislators regarding the UC budget. We will propose that the state limits Governor Brown's funding cuts if the UC promises to reduce its administrative costs by $500 million. Our strategy is to help restore funding and to protect vital services without having to resort to furloughs, layoffs, and tuition increases. ¶ Here are the administrative savings AFSCME and UC-AFT will present to state legislators.

They ARE different from you and me (occasional links & commentary)
F. Scott Fitzgerald was right: the super rich are different from you and me. According to Joanne Barkan, they command the field of school reform. 
mySpace, that homely social network site that was so popular years ago ... is in a full-on death spiral. The company has laid off workers, and some affected workers regret giving up so many hours to keep mySpace alive....Sound familiar? 

American unemployment exceptionalism (occasional links & commentary)
(comparing GDP to employment + comments)

"Logic: You can't fake it" (In Socrates' Wake)
The book Academically Adrift is causing quite the buzz in higher ed circles, and it's not even officially hit the market yet....but today's IHE has a summary followed by a litany of approving comments.

Inmates Running Asylums (Gin and Tacos)
This item (IHE piece noted above) made its way around the interwebs on Tuesday, revealing the shocking assertion that American college students aren't learning much during their four to seven years of undergraduate binge drinking. A new book entitled Academically Adrift asserts that college students in their sample (approximately 2000) show little to no improvement in knowledge and critical thinking skills after two and four years. As these brief news items do not say much about the methodology of this study I can't say how seriously these findings should be taken. Nonetheless this conclusion seems like it has been common knowledge for quite some time now – especially among those of us on the Inside – and we may be safe assuming that there is some kernel of truth to it.

(EdNote: the preceding two links show how commentaries on IHE articles are often more interesting than the originals)

More and more employers are googling job applicants before they hire them-well at least according to Attorneys At Work. I think this is a reasonable assumption. So, it makes sense for everyone to google, yahoo and bing their own names. 

Online "University" Names (College Misery)
The ad for "Full Sail University" that's currently running in the right-hand column got me thinking: do the people running these places ever think about what the university name will look like on a c.v. or transcript, as opposed to on marketing materials aimed at students (and perhaps their ever-indulgent parents)? A quick search on "online universities" suggests that most of them are still trying to sound like their bricks-and-mortar counterparts

Work/Life "Balance" (College Ready Writing)
That's right, I used scare quotes. I've been thinking and reading a lot about the work/life balance in higher education. I think about how many of my female academic role models were childless, never-married, or divorced.  About how unreasonable the expectations are when it comes to the "life of the mind" in academia. (Check out this excellent post on expectations and priorities and this one on the two-headed problem). I usually think that I've done ok with the work/life balance, and I end up feeling pretty good about myself. ¶ And then I have a day like today.

When the weather closes in on me like this, I find that I reach out virtually a lot more. I connect with new friends on Facebook, I look for new people to follow on Twitter, and I find blogs – reading and leaving comments more often, as well. In general, I grow my personal network in the cold months. In simplest of terms, I think this is what Stephen Downes (2008) is describing as knowledge formation in his explanation of "What is Connectivism?" in this Ustream video shared in the #CCK11 MOOC which started Monday.

(EdNote: I'm also taking this course, a MOOC ~ very whither U, and blogging impressions at both Computers, Language, Writing and mooking about

The Future of Hyperbole (writing in the wild)
I had a professor once who, in criticizing the manuscript that eventually became my book, commented that historians of universities always see a crisis somewhere. I think that's true, and I think that writers always have to be aware that in their pursuit for persuasion they don't fall into an unnecessary hyperbole. The "crisis" trope might get you attention, but it also can distort. ¶ I also think that the last three decades have witnessed profound changes in employment practices and funding that warrant the notion of crisis.

You don't know the name Elbert F. Tellem, but you will. Just last week, as the acting Director of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) District 2, Tellem issued a potentially historic decision green-lighting contingent-faculty unionization at Catholic-affiliated Manhattan College. In the process, he threaded his way through some of the most dishonest law in the country, throwing the NLRB's support behind the human rights of faculty serving contingently at many religiously-affiliated institutions.  This is the front lines of academic labor struggle

(EdNote: an important decision to be sure, but according to an experienced, not starry eyed labor lawyer, NLRB rulings don't carry quite the weight one might think, neither always taken seriously by labor lawyers let alone writ in stone nor consistently upheld by courts)

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