faculty

Iran vs. Iranian Studies Association

The Middle East Studies Association of North American has written to senior Iranian officials asking them to stop official newspapers from attacking the International Society for Iranian Studies. That group typically holds its annual meeting in North America, but this August held its 2012 meeting in Istanbul, with the goal of allowing more scholars in Iran to participate. As described in the letter from the Middle East Studies Association, an officially supported newspaper ran an article on the international group, saying it was dominated by "Royalists" and "Zionists," among others. Following this article, many of the scholars based in Iran canceled plans to go to Istanbul for the meeting. The letter to Iranian officials said, "The open pursuit and free expression of knowledge and ideas, without fear of reprisal and discrimination are guaranteed under Iran's Constitution.... MESA urges the authorities in Iran to work towards and protect the free exchange of ideas, freedom of expression in all forms, and the unrestricted pursuit of academic research without fear of intimidation and persecution."

 

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Berkeley’s concierge helps new faculty acclimatize

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Berkeley offers an unusual perk for new faculty: a concierge who can advise them on anything from real estate to pet care.

Jane Austen's Impact on the Brain

Stanford University researchers are using MRI images to study the brain patterns of literary Ph.D. candidates while they read Jane Austen. The early results suggest a very high level of brain activity prompted by close reading of the novelist.

 

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Academic Minute: The Color of Extraterrestrial Plants

In today’s Academic Minute, Nancy Kiang of Columbia University’s Earth Institute explains a recent discovery that hints at the potential color of extraterrestrial plant life. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

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Essay on how sabbaticals change faculty members

William Palmer considers the value of his time away from teaching, and why he's excited to return to the classroom.

 

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Job candidates rue lost opportunities because of canceled APSA conference

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Some political science departments scramble to do Skype or phone interviews after cancellation of the American Political Science Association conference.

Essay on the nature of an instructor's work

Given the work before us, I will go into my first class today and try to meet my students as simply and directly as possible. Some of this work comes from the past, some from the state, and some from what we in my department have agreed to do.  Some of this work will come from what we carry with us, some from what we find blocking the way between us, and some from what we see up ahead.  We variously work ourselves into the work of the other.

Education is labor-intensive and expensive because it falls upon the tangled mess of human relationships struggling to find the work that works best. We just can’t know the work before we work it.  We hate the work we can’t make work, and we love the work we can. It takes time, and it takes money. And for some, more than others. Work, like love, is what we find when we find ourselves in what others have done.  

The best teacher I ever had loved me for my work and I loved her for hers. With a blue pen, I put words on college-ruled pages in a three-ringed notebook. Those words helped me find what I loved about the world. About books. About school. About small towns. About rivers. About music. About words on pages. She met me simply in the classroom and surprised me by what she loved. I knew I could talk to her and she would help me find myself in what others had done.  

I know you had a different teacher, but it’s still true.

Let me put it another way. We are always reaching back into what has already been made. We do this with all of our body. It is very hard and very easy. We do it when we want to. And we do it when we aren’t aware we’re doing it. We are always standing together splashing each other in joy and sorrow with what we have made.

But there are also some of us who are pressing our noses against the window of what’s to come. I’d like to see more of us breathing into that glass. I’d like college to be more like that kind of pressing and breathing and working. Let us make work at college a place where we are both in and at and outside that window. What’s out there? Who?

I know money is power and circulates in ways most of us don’t see. You probably have more than I do. Or I have more than you. We certainly have more than they do way over there. Still, we don’t have more than those who have decided what gets taught. Soon they tell us – as they always tell us — that we’ll need to do more with less because they’ll be putting more of their money elsewhere while putting more of their power upon us. After all, it’s their money. And it’s their power. How do they do this? I try not to cry about it.

And by not crying about it, I mean, I try not to cry about the tangled mess of education and power and money and work and how each of us finds our way in the world. It may be that we need better direction or better technology or better learning outcomes or better threats. It’s hard to know really.

But each day, we still show up at the knowledge factory. We know what our work is.

Laurence Musgrove is professor and chair of the department of English and modern languages at Angelo State University, in Texas, where he teaches courses in composition, literature, creative writing, and English education.

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National University faculty say administration is cutting them out of governance

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Faculty members at National U., none of whom have tenure, say the institution is dealing with its challenges by shutting down shared governance and ignoring their role.

Economists' Gender Split

A new study of members of the American Economic Association finds a gender split on many issues. The study, which will be published in the journal Contemporary Economic Policy, finds women in economics more willing than men to consider interventions in market policies. In terms of academic careers, male economists generally believe that opportunities are equal for men and women, but female economists are more likely to see an advantage for men.

 

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Report on Misconduct by Former Harvard Professor

A new federal report details the scientific misconduct that authorities found Marc Hauser to have committed while a psychology professor at Harvard University, The Boston Globe reported. Hauser was found to have fabricated data, manipulated results in experiments, and incorrectly described how studies were done. A lengthy internal investigation led him to leave Harvard, but details have been minimal until now about what he did. Hauser disputed some of the findings of the federal inquiry, but has admitted to research misconduct in his laboratory, and said that he took responsibility for it.

 

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