University Diaries

A professor of English describes American university life.

A professor of English describes American university life.

May 5, 2008 - 3:58pm
The question of the sabbatical -- salaried time away from teaching and all other university activities --is caught up in the larger question of how luxurious - in terms of time to yourself - a professor's life already is. CNN Money recently ranked professor the second best job in America, noting that "Professors have near-total flexibility in their schedules. Creative thinking is the coin of the realm. No dress code!"
April 28, 2008 - 11:11am
Professor is an odd thing. Students call out "Professor!" in the hall, and sometimes they mean me. Professor Soltan. Yet I never believe Professor means me. Too swell an honorific. Students have to say it twice before I look around. "Professor! ... Professor Soltan!" The latest summoning of UD via the word professor happened last Friday, at the elevators on the sixth floor of Rome Hall, near my George Washington University office. "Professor! ... Professor Soltan! I was at your Philosophy Club talk the other night."
April 17, 2008 - 12:11pm
A professor at the University of Colorado sends SOS the following intriguing letter a freshman there wrote to the campus newspaper. As always, SOS will comment throughout.
April 8, 2008 - 1:37pm
(The rather lengthy post below is a paper UD gave a couple of nights ago to the undergraduate Philosophy Club at her university, George Washington.) Brain fade. It's what the novelist Don DeLillo calls the current American tendency to lead an entire life zoned out, comfortably numb, and very, very stupid. Those of you who know DeLillo's novel, White Noise, know that all the professors at the College on the Hill, as it's known, are stupid. All the students are stupid. Pretty much everyone in the book is stupid.
March 30, 2008 - 10:03pm
...laptops tend to mean you're not getting any. 37 percent of Americans bring laptops (and other disconnect-anxiety stuff) to bed with them; more and more people "choose the internet or TV over intercourse," worries the tech news site, Switched. The professor gazing at rows of laptops in her classroom is gazing at a roomful of witless celibates.
March 27, 2008 - 10:44am
"Proles," explains Paul Fussell in his book Class, "like to use words that normally appear only in newspapers. They don't realize that no one calls the Pope the pontiff except in pretentious journalese, or a senator a lawmaker, or the United States the nation, or a scholar an educator .
AOL
March 21, 2008 - 4:13pm
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by access, craving hysterical naked dragging themselves through wired rooms at dawn looking at an angry prof, webheaded hipsters surfing for the ancient heavenly connection to slutty dynamos in the machin- ery of screens who student loans and ramen soup and high sat up clicking in the supernatural darkness of powerpoints floating across the tops of heads contemplating tits and ass,
March 13, 2008 - 11:07am
More and more professors -- hell, entire departments -- are banning laptops from their classrooms. Now the business world's doing it too, since people in meetings are using their laptops for the same reason, and in the same way, most students are using theirs:
March 7, 2008 - 3:57pm
Enterprising student journalists at SUNY New Paltz have discovered that some full-time professors pretty regularly miss their office hours. UD can recall missing her office hours once or twice in her career, due to ... I don't know... cluelessness. UD zones out on occasion. She forgets things. But with office hours this has happened very few times. At New Paltz it seems to be a trend.
March 2, 2008 - 5:45am
A war's raging between two in-house bloggers at the Chronicle of Higher Education. One's an overpaid university president (he recently left his position); the other's a professor who's an activist on behalf of contingent faculty. Here's a scene from it. There won't be many more battles. The president's position is indefensible. He will withdraw.

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