Education

"How to Rein In Student Mobs"

Take a guess.

Spare a thought for those knights of social justice, the student protesters. Motivated by the yearning for a better world, they sacrifice their time and energy in service to their ideals. They display courage, stamina, determination, and creativity in coming up with rhymes in their chants.

Except if you tell them they’re jeopardizing their financial aid or their housing. Then they fold immediately.


"Arthritic Academic Advice: Is the best advice to just skip it?"

Fine short piece on (college) academic advising.

As both a student and a faculty member, I thought academic advising was a waste of time. (In my role as faculty, the most common question I got was, "Which professors in the department should I take?" I had to tell the students that I rarely, if ever, observed my colleagues in the classroom. What I didn't say was that while I could well guess, why should I ever badmouth any of my colleagues to students?) And in each role, it seemed to me that it would be far better to remove formal advising responsibility from faculty and outsource it to a few specialists. That occurred in my department and I would guess it's happening elsewhere.


"Three Ways Declining English Departments Can Be Relevant Again"

O.K., but I'll add three more:

  1. Teach students to write better.
  2. Why not mix in some non-fiction? Who said "English" or even "English Literature" has to be just fiction? I don't have any evidence, but I'd bet that most Americans read--and write--more non-fiction rather than fiction.
  3. When discussing fiction the focus should not be on archetypes and themes and symbolism and other stuff English Lit majors are trained in and fans of. It should be simply on this: Why, exactly, is this worth reading?