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May 4, 2009 - 9:46pm
In graduate school my friends and I occasionally amused ourselves by imagining what our dissertation topics said about us. Female violence? Prostitution and “fallenness”? Sibling incest? They may have been safely “literary” topics, but what did it say about us that we had spent so much time on these topics rather than, say, gardens?
May 4, 2009 - 9:31pm
For reasons too sensitive to blog about, I've recently had occasion to revisit the idea of grade appeals. From this side of the desk, I'm convinced that a commonly-held student perception, and a commonly-held faculty perception, are both wrong. (For the record, I'm referring here to grade appeals that go beyond just talking to the professor. This is the stuff that happens after the professor has already said 'no.' Whenever a student appeals a grade at this level, the first question is always "have you talked to the professor?" If not, the process stops until they do that.)
May 3, 2009 - 8:55pm
The popular press has been filled lately with references to zombie banks or zombie corporations, undead entities kept on life support for extra-economic reasons. Last week, IHE had a similar story about academic programs, and the difficulty in putting the final stake into zombie programs.
May 3, 2009 - 8:49pm
Hello, I found you online when you responded to a student's concerns about leaving her academic schoolwork (you posed 8 questions). Am curious if you have a list of questions designed for people wanting to live their mission in life but feel stuck, not exactly sure what it is, or know what it is but aren't moving in that direction. Thank you,
May 3, 2009 - 5:58pm
In tangential response to an earlier post, a correspondent -- keep those e-cards and e-letters coming to g (dot) rendell (at) insidehighered (dot) com -- sent me some information about a product relatively new on the market. An LED-based replacement for typical fluorescent tube bulbs. I did a wee bit of looking, and it appears that there a few different suppliers out there (what the actual number of different manufacturers and models is, I don't yet know).
May 2, 2009 - 11:00am
The more biographies I read, the more I sense the difficulties of the form. Many are patchy, uneven; the herky-jerk of a life doesn’t play to the modulated rhythm of story. Biography may be the most self-contradictory literary form: It portrays randomness even as it pretends to coherence. Yet there’s almost always power in a biography, the experience of decades intensified into a few reading days, like watching a speeded-up film of a seedling that grows to die.
April 30, 2009 - 8:57pm
Last week, I looked out at my classes and found many more empty desks than I had expected to see. In this hectic time of the semester, many of my students are skipping class to finish work from other classes. As I looked out at my semi-filled classroom, I was reminded of the last time I skipped a class as an undergraduate, and of the economic concept of “opportunity cost.”
April 30, 2009 - 8:17pm
'Tis Spring – almost finals – and you can tell on campus. The characteristic signs are there:
April 30, 2009 - 5:23pm
(Arguably, the title should be "Green IT now", but I prefer not to shout.) Anyways, a number of interesting bits of information in regard to more ecologically friendly information technology -- theory and practice thereof -- have crossed my desktop in the past 24 hours.
April 29, 2009 - 10:27pm
Last week I had the honor of speaking on behalf of Mama, PhD at the Arkansas Council for Women in Higher Education Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas where I met a wonderful group of mother professors, administrators, and students, many of whom were African-American. Although I was the guest speaker, the most inspiring stories were from the women of Arkansas.

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