University Diaries

University Diaries

A professor of English describes American university life.

September 4, 2007 - 12:42pm
The proposed Public Service Academy would be America's "first national civilian university" dedicated to producing "leaders of character" who would commit, in exchange for free tuition (the government would pay it), to work for "five years of civilian service to the country" in the public sector. "Graduates will be required to go where they are assigned." As with the military academies, you'd be admitted via a recommendation by your congressional representative.
September 3, 2007 - 12:52pm
UD has already proposed that Harvard relieve itself of the guilty burden of a forty billion dollar endowment by giving a ten million dollar grant to a small college in Florida - Florida Southern College - to help renovate its important collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.
August 30, 2007 - 8:50pm
UD hesitates to declare any university a laughingstock -- there are always plenty of smart, hard-working, good people at any school, and this declaration makes things worse for them. But with its cynical Saluki Way project (spending all its money on athletes and administrators), its cheesy motivational speakers stuck in front of appalled or fleeing faculty, and its across-the-board plagiarizing executives, Southern Illinois University has earned the title. The latest? Yet another plagiarist, this time the president himself.
August 30, 2007 - 2:05pm
Your university's football season is almost here! To get you in the mood, UD will be running some noteworthy gridiron stories.
August 22, 2007 - 3:17pm
The University of Oregon, a once-proud school, is proceeding briskly toward the status of Oklahoma State, a third-tier football factory run by a sports-mad billionaire alumnus. In the case of Oklahoma, it's T. Boone Pickens of oil; for Oregon, it's Phil Knight of shoes. Unlike OSU, however, Oregon's professors are putting up a fight. Their belligerence has annoyed boosters, who've fought back with ... well, you know the drill... denunciations of pointy heads, egg heads, and bald heads who care whether students graduate... Whether they learn anything...
August 17, 2007 - 5:10pm
For some of us -- a small number -- Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano is the ultimate novel. "Lowry's book ... remains the single most potent novel of the 20th century," wrote John Hartley Williams, in The Guardian this summer, on the fiftieth anniversary of Lowry's death.
August 15, 2007 - 10:37am
When universities, and university systems, become very rich and very byzantine, it's both hard to run them and easy to fleece them. "Spending 17 years in a laboratory doesn't exactly set you up for running what is in effect a multibillion-dollar corporation," sniffed one California state official when asked to comment on the dismissal of Robert Dynes, president of the University of California system, who was fired over dinner the other day at Trader Vic's.
August 9, 2007 - 11:41am
I've taken for my title the great name of a great blog, Bitch, Ph.D., because this post will be a bitchy consideration of an essay that appears in this morning's Inside Higher Ed. In this post, I will unpleasantly take issue with the style and content of this essay.
August 8, 2007 - 6:09pm
The summer's usually a quiet time in academia, but UD's been kept busy covering a surprising number of dustups -- among them, two recent cautionary tales for professors, both from the land of the SEND key.
July 27, 2007 - 5:57pm
"The idea that you almost forgot about the world you came from, and the job market you're about to enter...that [college is] a period of self-exploration and intellectual discovery, has faded," says Rick Pearlstein in an interview about an upcoming New York Times piece of his about college. He laments an "internship culture," in which students scramble from the outset of their college years to accumulate vocational goodies.

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