Tag Archives: higher education

Don’t Repress the Past

23 Nov

Keep Woodrow Wilson and John C. Calhoun on campus. Or so argues historian James Livingston in a thoughtful post at the Chronicle of Higher Education: Don’t Repress the Past – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Why do people who love libraries love libraries?

22 Sep

When librarians talk about a commons it is almost always about “the stuff in the space” – whereas communities are about “people doing stuff together.” I’m trying to move away from a focus on serving “the user” and instead trying to appreciate that we engage and support a multitude of different people with diverse and different needs. Our libraries are different things to different people. We cannot be everything to everyone, but we can be very good at being some things to many people.

So argues Brian Mathews at the Chronicle of Higher Education. You can read his entire post here: Why do people who love libraries love libraries? – The Ubiquitous Librarian – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

A Call to Historians for the Return of the Longue-Duree

17 Sep

At Inside Higher Ed, Scott McLemee provides a review of a new book by historians for historians: The History Manifesto. Jo Guldi and David Armitage, authors of the Manifesto, call for more “big view” history and less microhistory–for the sake of our public policy, which needs the long view.

Amen, say I.

You can read McLemee’s review of the book here: Review of Jo Guldi and David Armitage, “The History Manifesto” @insidehighered.

The New History Wars

2 Sep

WASHINGTON — WITH the news dominated by stories of Americans dying at home and abroad, it might seem trivial to debate how history is taught in our schools. But if we want students to understand what is happening in Missouri or the Middle East, they need an unvarnished picture of our past and the skills to understand and interpret that picture. People don’t kill one another just for recreation. They have reasons. Those reasons are usually historical.

So begins James R. Grossman of the American Historical Association in a New York Times op-ed today. I find myself saying, “Hear! Hear!”

You can read the entire piece not hear but here: The New History Wars – NYTimes.com.

Never Teach a Class Outdoors and Other Key Lessons I Have Learned

2 Jun

Historian Robert Zaretsky at The Chronicle of Higher Education has come up with “a Decalogue of sorts” of what he has learned “in my quarter century of experience.” After my own quarter century, I can resonate with many of them, at least … although, as I have said elsewhere (“Wisdom, Vanity, and ‘Lessons’ from History” in a pdf linked to this page), I am a bit skeptical about “lessons”–at least historical ones … and, calling students by their first names hasn’t been a problem for me for grading …

Never Teach a Class Outdoors and Other Key Lessons I Have Learned – Commentary – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Bryan College Is Torn: Can Darwin and Eden Coexist?

21 May

Bryan College campus

In case you did not know, the Scopes Trial in Dayton, TN in 1925 did not settle the issue of the teaching of evolution. Beliefs about creation, evolution, and the Bible still bring controversy.

Bryan College of Dayton, TN–named for William Jennings Bryan, a reformist politician yet a conservative Protestant, who argued against the teaching of evolution in the Scopes Trial–is undergoing some turmoil over the issue. Alan Blinder has a fine report on the situation in the New York Times. You can read it here: Bryan College Is Torn: Can Darwin and Eden Coexist? – NYTimes.com.

Also, this controversy relates to some of the issues raised in Molly Worthen’s recent book, Apostles of Reason. You can find some earlier posts on the book here.

Historians association and four doctoral programs start new effort to broaden Ph.D. education

20 Mar

Today the AHA is announcing a $1.6 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for association and four doctoral departments to start on the kinds of reforms that could change Ph.D. education in the field. The departments — at Columbia University, and the Universities of California at Los Angeles, Chicago and New Mexico — are using the funds to try specific changes in their programs, while the AHA will continue to encourage reform nationally.

James Grossman, executive director of the AHA, said that the effort has multiple goals. One is to relieve the extreme pressure on those competing for a limited number of faculty jobs. But another is to see the placement of Ph.D.s in business, government and the nonprofit world as an achievement in and of itself, “widening the presence and influence of humanistic thinking” outside of academe. To achieve both of those goals, he said, programs need to change. And the experiments starting in the four departments may offer models.

Inside Higher Ed goes on to discuss this encouraging initiative:

Historians association and four doctoral programs start new effort to broaden Ph.D. education | Inside Higher Ed.

Technology and employment

26 Aug

For those of us connected with higher education, this NY Times op-ed piece by D.H. Autor and D. Dorn on technology and jobs offers some things to think about. For example:

Computerization has therefore fostered a polarization of employment, with job growth concentrated in both the highest- and lowest-paid occupations, while jobs in the middle have declined. Surprisingly, overall employment rates have largely been unaffected in states and cities undergoing this rapid polarization. Rather, as employment in routine jobs has ebbed, employment has risen both in high-wage managerial, professional and technical occupations and in low-wage, in-person service occupations.

So computerization is not reducing the quantity of jobs, but rather degrading the quality of jobs for a significant subset of workers. Demand for highly educated workers who excel in abstract tasks is robust, but the middle of the labor market, where the routine task-intensive jobs lie, is sagging. Workers without college education therefore concentrate in manual task-intensive jobs — like food services, cleaning and security — which are numerous but offer low wages, precarious job security and few prospects for upward mobility. This bifurcation of job opportunities has contributed to the historic rise in income inequality.

The authors go on to highlight the importance of medical paraprofessionals for middle-level jobs. Sounds like what we are trying to foster in some of our programs at Northwestern College …

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"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

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Reformed. Done Daily.


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Thoughtful Conversation about the American West

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"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

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