Friday, March 4, 2011

around a university

Swerve and take a brief break from Academe's mean streets. The Grove as whiteboard jungle seems out of character until I remember Athena's less than scholarly weakness for hot-blooded warriors. These shady streets are jumping and jiving with teach-ins, demonstrations, protests, March Actions to Defend Public Education, an epidemic of toxic House Bills, Wisconsin shenanigans, Washington union enforcers, inappropriate teaching overloads, collective bargaining fighting for its life, occasional triumphant negotiations, dangerous memes, academic mobbing, scapegoating, and more of the same, seemingly without end.
 
From a conference on "The University We Are For", James Clifford on the Greater Humanities. After shootings in Arizona and at Virginia Tech, how can colleges know when, and in what way, to intervene in a troubled student's life? Live like a grad student forever: Oxford academic Toby Ord recommends living on as little as you can and giving away the rest. The rise of clickers is starting to change how college professors run their classrooms. No talking in class: Campus liberals sacrificed free expression on the altar of political correctness. 
Should computer “languages” qualify as foreign languages for Ph.D.s? It is worthwhile to pause and ask why so many educators are committed to the suspension of religious identity in the classroom. Now you see it, now you don't: Why journals need to rethink retractions. Does Harvard's "affirmative action for the affluent" screw the proles? David Leonhardt revisits the value of elite colleges. An interview with Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman, authors of Why Does College Cost So Much
The Useless University: The ancient tradition of pursuing knowledge for its own sake is slowly, quietly making a comeback. A look at how online courses are still lacking that third dimension. The question of what can be taught or what cannot is an intriguing one, especially around a university. A review of Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President by William G Bowen.
via Omnivore, the Bookforum blog

The expression comes from the akademeia, just outside ancient Athens, where the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning. The sacred space, dedicated to the goddess of wisdom, Athena, had formerly been an olive grove, hence the expression "the groves of Academe"... and all the out of date but still longed for associations that go with it.

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