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March 2018

"Everything I know about life I learned behind the deli counter"

A sweet tribute to a college job working at Al's Deli in Evanston.

. . . Al’s Deli would become the best, most formative job I ever had. It was a place that taught me about food, wine, love, and became a reassuring constant when my family was splintering apart. It even led me down a path of food and beer writing. And it revealed to me one of life’s simplest truths: A well-made sandwich is the quickest path we mortals have to experiencing the divine.

"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.