University Diaries

University Diaries

A professor of English describes American university life.

July 18, 2007 - 9:50am
Where Most Needed is a blog that follows what it calls "the charity industry." Its author, in a recent post, notices what UD and other observers have noticed - that more and more people are beginning to question the grotesque disparity between a few American universities endowed with billions and billions and billions of dollars, and most of the rest of the country's campuses, struggling with expenses.
July 14, 2007 - 6:19am
Is this altogether a bad idea? Wisconsin's State Assembly has voted to end all funding for the law school at the University of Wisconsin. Enough lawyers already. The state only kicks in ten percent of the school's funding as it is. Increase tuition. It's very low. The governor calls it "a really bizarre thing that came out of nowhere," but it isn't. There are shortages of doctors, but there are clearly too many lawyers in this country. There are too many law schools. Wisconsin could be a pioneer in doing something about it.
July 10, 2007 - 7:10am
Not to get all sentimental about it, but one of the highest purposes of a free press is to expose corruption. For a variety of reasons, people don't think -- don't like to think? -- of universities as institutions particularly susceptible to corruption. We idealize the American campus insanely. Yet in the years that UD has kept a blog that follows American university life, she's spent a lot of time chronicling corrupt professors, administrators, trustees...
June 30, 2007 - 4:36pm
A vain man struggles with the threat to his self-importance that student evaluations represent.
June 27, 2007 - 4:39am
The Greek government has once again given up efforts to prod that country'sdead university system to life - violent street protests last summerfrightened off political reformers -- but France's aggressive new leader,Nicholas Sarkozy, is giving it the old college try.
June 21, 2007 - 6:02am
"[T]he NCAA, through all of their summits, hasn't accomplished anything tobenefit the student athlete. People who say that one year of collegeenhances your life are blowing smoke up their butt. The same NCAA thatsupposedly takes a higher moral ground on education is now allowingconferences like the Big Ten and the SEC to form their own TV networks totelecast the events of these so called amateurs and they continuously usethem to make money. They pretend (to be) institutions of higher education
June 19, 2007 - 6:04am
The things I'll do for a post! I've dragged myself through hellish evening heat (summer's up and running in DC) to the Scena Theatre at the Arts Club of Washington to attend a Bloomsday event: a dramatic reading of selections from James Joyce's works. The Arts Club is a block from my office at George Washington University, but until now I didn't know it existed. It's in a townhouse I've walked by a hundred times on my way to Primi Piatti, a popular upscale New York-style restaurant that has everything but good food.
June 18, 2007 - 6:21am
With her interest in the grotesqueries of bigtime university sports, UD has read tons of reports from tons of influential organizations about how to reform them. The Knight Commission is particularly fond of glossy publications packed with great ideas about academic integrity, financial accountability, and how to attract non-felonious people to your team.
June 15, 2007 - 4:49am
Like a number of big sports campuses, Auburn University has designated faculty-enablers who smooth the way toward a bogus degree for athletes who don't have time to take courses and read books and that sort of thing.
June 9, 2007 - 5:46am
Europe's worst university system -- and that's saying a lot -- has done it again. Ten senior academics at Panteion University in Athens have stolen almost eight million dollars in state funds over the last five years or so. They bought luxury goods with the money, which was intended to support academic programs at Panteion. What's striking about the coverage from Greece is that the harshness of the verdicts, rather than the enormity of the crime, has shocked people.

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