In a recent NYT piece, Nicholas Kristof argued that the main determinant blocking academics from being read by mainstream readers results from the arcane ways in which they write. That is not the problem. The problem lies not with academics' prose, but rather with access to mainstream publications.
Rather than debate over whether Kristof wants to engage in a blame-game against professors or if he simply misses the material conditions of social change to which all of us -- professors included -- are subject, I'd like to take on some of his premises that did strike me as blatantly wrong-headed.
During my years on the job, I was surprised by the number of colleagues who, having risen through the academic ranks, seemed to have little understanding of the position they held. I soon came to understand why.
Our young people are in college to become smarter, wiser, to become tomorrow's leaders. So study, save, and remember this list of tips. Or just give it to your teaching assistant, who is probably doing all the work, anyway.
The president reviews the superlatives of the graduating class. One student patented a way to make shoes out of used tea bags; another was involved in brokering a Kardashian Twitter truce; and, yet another was at work on the unabridged history of the Falkland Islands. It is all so inspiring.
April is the cruelest month. The headwinds we face are very stiff. As we move forward to a new academic year, we'll need to be persistent and resilient to slow the erosion of intellectual life on campus.
We are all students and learners and teachers. I write this in tribute to my greatest teacher from a student's perspective. Maybe you will stop to think of a favorite teacher, mentor or role model, and perhaps even reach out and say hello to them.
It is understandable that outside of the classroom, professors are human beings who have their own beliefs just as students do. But advocating their personal thoughts to students is not always necessary.
Hopefully not last on your list of your on-campus priorities, the courses you are taking require work, time-management, and careful dealing with an unusual form of life known as universitatis professor, or, in simple English, the college professor.
Pardon me for being so bold, but... What's so bad about TAs? In my eyes, comparing a professor and a TA isn't necessarily about one being better than the other. Rather, I think they offer two very different teaching styles.
When we make sound pedagogical choices on reading, we can dramatically enhance students' abilities to work with all kinds of challenging texts. When we struggle, classrooms can become frustrating, unchallenging, or disorienting places.