University Diaries

University Diaries

A professor of English describes American university life.

October 25, 2007 - 5:51pm
It's always a cheap thrill when psychiatrists - especially academic psychiatrists - turn out to be infantile, ridiculous people. An even more thrilling cheap thrill is when they turn out to be insane homicidal monsters (Hannibal Lecter; that guy in the film Dressed to Kill). But in real life we must make do with the infantile and ridiculous.
October 23, 2007 - 3:29pm
This post's subtitle rewrites something Hamlet said: How all occasions do inform against me... Prose discloses. However much you think you're hiding, the way you write, the grain of your language, gives away all sorts of things about you. Are you a snob? Do you think you're better than other people? Are you terrified of self-assertion? Are you vindictive? A prude? A prune? Your prose will tell. This is because writing is consciousness. Your writing is your own peculiar, particular, specific, inimitable, personal, individual, consciousness.
October 16, 2007 - 11:15am
One of UD's readers sends her an article from the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Virginia, which represents an instructive fable on the importance of maintaining honor among thieves. In this sequence of events, one diploma mill fraudster brought down another, only to be brought down himself by the guy he brought down. If you catch my drift. It's a bit complicated. Let's take a look at the article:
October 9, 2007 - 3:18pm
"[T]here is an emerging concern about double standards," writes a University of Sydney professor to an array of university leaders. Unlike some elite American universities, this Australian university contains at least one faculty member principled enough to make a fuss when his institution ignores plagiarism among high-ranking professors.
October 8, 2007 - 3:55pm
"Several passages in Yale Law School professor Ian Ayres ... new book are unattributed verbatim reproductions or nearly identical paraphrases of passages from various newspaper and magazine articles published in the last twenty years, an investigation by the [ Yale Daily] News has shown."
October 1, 2007 - 11:52am
Brown University student, 2007: '...so as to end up flaccid, immobile, alone on the carpet of a dorm room, shirtless, wheezing, intellectually menopausal, cutting lines on an IBook with a pre-paid Discover card, watching consecutive hours of user-generated porn, in the dark, in a hoodie, apolitical, remorseless, eating salt-and-vinegar potato chips from a bag without a napkin: like some hero, pretending to be otherwise, on a Wednesday, during discussion section.'
September 25, 2007 - 9:52am
The saddest of university events in September are the suicides of sensitive, displaced, and troubled freshmen. To a new school and city they bring an old weight of personal grief.
September 20, 2007 - 5:09pm
Every fall semester is the shock of the new. The courses repeat; the classrooms don't change; but every September there's a jolt. Partly it's the surprise of a long summer ending, the sudden intrusion of a social world into my solitude. For months I've quietly read and written, my afternoons organized around brewing tea, clipping hedges, and walking the dog. The sense of independence and freedom has been heady, and I don't give it up easily.
September 15, 2007 - 7:09am
Messrs. Debat and Poshard and Drake Have jolted the ed-world awake: Poshard steals words, The chancellor's absurd, And Debat's an out-and-out fake.
September 9, 2007 - 5:55am
Readers may recall a column UD wrote about bigtime university sports for Inside Higher Ed last year, in which she mentioned Western Kentucky University's classy behavior as it switched into Division I football:

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