Month: August 2015

Milestones for the Academe Blog!


The Academe Blog Has Just Surpassed a Million Views and a Half-Million Visitors

Views    1,000,084

Visitors     511,551

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The Future That Is Already Here Isn’t Much of a Future


Here is the weekly newsletter from Education Dive, which focuses largely on digital innovations in higher education:

Education Dive 1

Education Dive 2

The first article somewhat blithely acknowledges that “instructor availability” is one of the major concerns of students enrolled in MOOCs, as if it is a problem that can be resolved with more “innovation,” rather than one of the most fundamental features of MOOCs. I suspect that the investors in MOOCs are simply hoping that if the concept stays around for long enough, students will simply get used to the idea and, thus, more “adaptable” to it.

This mindset explains the second news item, which in itself but especially in its juxtaposition with the first item, reflects a common practice among those touting “innovation.” Instead of looking at raw numbers, which would clearly indicate that MOOCs taken for credit and accepted as transfer credits are still relatively rare, the focus is on the…

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To Paraphrase Winston Churchill, We Are in Some Ways Separated from Our Students by Our Ostensibly Common Language


For the first time, this year’s Mindset List includes an addendum—a list of slang words that will be familiar to most members of the class of 2019 and that presumably have become more widely used, even if they were not coined, over this past year.

The list includes somewhat conversational definitions of the terms and illustrations of how each might be used in a sentence. But I have to admit that some of the definitions and sample sentences were almost as incomprehensible me to understand as the terms themselves would have been without any context whatsoever. So, I have looked up the terms in the online Urban Dictionary.

The only term not listed in the Urban Dictionary is “too Yoko Ono,” which oddly enough is one of the two terms that I would have been able to define, the other being “trolling.”

1. dankrupt: to be out of marijuana

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Selected Items from the Mindset List for the Class of 2019


2. Google has always been there, in its founding words, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”

3. They have never licked a postage stamp.

14. Cell phones have become so ubiquitous in class that teachers don’t know which students are using them to take notes and which ones are planning a party.

17. If you say “around the turn of the century,” they may well ask you, “which one?”

24. When they were born, cell phone usage was so expensive that families only used their large phones, usually in cars, for emergencies.

27. Teachers have always had to insist that term papers employ sources in addition to those found online.

32. TheLion King has always been on Broadway.

42. Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have always been members of NATO.

43. Humans have always had implanted radio frequency ID chips—slightly larger than a grain…

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Working One’s Way through College while Earning Minimum Wage


The following map was included in an article by Libby Nelson, published by Vox. The map originally appeared in an article by Sandhya Kambhampati and Meredith Myers in the Chronicle of Higher Education. It shows how long it would take a student working half-time at a minimum wage job to earn enough to cover one year’s worth of tuition and fees at the average public university.

Map--Working One's Way thru College

In two states, the student would have to work eight to ten years to pay the tuition and fees for four years. In thirteen states, the student would have to work six to eight years. And in twenty-six states, the student would have to work four to six years to do so.

In 2014, the tuition and fees at public universities averaged $9,139 for in-state students. But room and board at public universities averaged $9,804. So, to cover room and board in…

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Darryl Dawkins, RIP


When I was in graduate school at Lehigh University, Darryl Hawkins was playing professional basketball for the Philadelphia 76ers. He was part of the team assembled around Julius Erving, and coached by Billy Cunningham, and they were among the best teams in the league year after year, in a few instances coming tantalizing close to the title that they would win only after Moses Malone had replaced Dawkins on the roster.

Ironically, Moses Malone had been the first player drafted directly out of high school when he had been selected by the Utah Stars of the ABA. The next year, Dawkins had become the first player drafted directly out of high school by an NBA team. By the time that he retired, Malone had accumulated career statistics that made him a lock for the Hall of Fame, and he has been included on just about every subsequent list of the…

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Very Concrete, Local Issues and Much Broader, Ideological Issues in Higher Education


Writing for the Athens Messenger, Sarah Guinn reports that Hocking College in southeastern Ohio has fired 13 faculty members for lack of adequate credentials. Here are the opening paragraphs of the article:

“Between July and early August, Hocking College ‘released’ 13 full-time members of the faculty—some of whom had been there more than 20 years—citing a lack of credentials, according to the college’s president, Dr. Betty Young.

“The ‘releases,’ as Young referred to it, or terminations of employment, come as a result of requirements handed down by the Higher Learning Commission at an annual meeting earlier this year in March, which informed the college all faculty members must hold appropriate credentials in his or her field of teaching, Young said.

“The college had until Dec. 31 to meet the requirements, and in preparation of an upcoming HLC accreditation visit, the college formed a committee made up of faculty and…

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Because I Am Apparently a Masochist


Phil Magness keeps attributing the growth in the percentage of part-time faculty to the rise of the for-profit universities. But his own chart seems to show that that impact has been less than one might expect.

Magness's Chart

Notice that the percentage of part-time faculty at all institutions is 47%, only .4% higher than the total for public institutions and only 4.8% higher than the percentage for private non-profit institutions.

Notice, too, that at associate-degree colleges, the percentage at public institutions is exactly the average for all institutions. Likewise, notice that in the top three categories, either the public institutions or the private non-profit institutions employ a higher percentage of part-time faculty than the average for all institutions.

Readers of this blog know that I am clearly not a statistician, but if there was some dramatic skewing of the numbers, wouldn’t it be more readily apparent?

And I will reiterate what I…

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If Nothing Else, This Period Is Rich in Satiric Possibilities, in Particular in Education and, Even More Narrowly, in Higher Education: Part 1


Here is a small collection of recently published satiric items, largely from The Onion, on topics typically covered in other posts to this blog. Almost all of the items have been published just in this past year.

“Sanders Shamelessly Pandering to Voters Who Want to Hear Truth”

“Bernie Sanders Clearly in Pocket of High-Rolling Teacher Who Donated $300 to His Campaign”

“New Statewide Education Standards Require Teachers to Forever Change Lives of 30% of Students”

“Study: Those Who Go to College Earn More Degrees over Lifetime than Those Who Do Not”–50926

“Rising College Costs”

“College Too Expensive?”

“Do You Think College Is A Good Investment?”

“Tips for Paying for College”

“Why Are We Deferring Our College Loans?”

“New Law to Forgive Student Debt for College Graduates Once All Their Dreams Are Shattered”

“Woman Worried Student Loans Could Prevent Her…

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