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somebody takes one of your posts and quotes it in a book. This is pretty rare among peer-reviewed essays too, which is Mark Bauerlein's point in The Research Bust.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2012 on The metablogging continues at The Little Professor
In the stories we tell about teaching and research, we generally cast teaching as the beneficiary of burning the midnight oil over, say, obscure Reformation polemics or the works of the Bollandists. I like how you use the phrase "stories we tell," which connotes a certain amount of skepticism about the claim, and I like it mostly because I've become more skeptical over time that research affects teaching skill, especially at the undergrad level, when students need so much help with basic skills like close reading and simple analysis. The gap between those things and research on the Bollandists (or, in my case, the academic novel) seems pretty damn wide—which is one of the points that Louis Menand makes in The Marketplace of Ideas: The argument that [graduate students or professors] need the training [of acquiring a PhD] to be qualified to teach undergraduates is belief by the fact that they are already teaching undergraduates. Undergraduate teaching is part of doctoral education; at many institutions, graduate students begin teaching classes the year they arrive. And the idea that the doctoral thesis is a rigorous requirement is belief by the quality of most doctoral theses. Would your lecture in the Gothic course really have been substantially worse without current research? Maybe.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2012 on Teaching/Research at The Little Professor
Interesting—I've never gotten into pu'er. About a year ago I started drinking tea in general, after reading A Hacker's Guide to Tea and realizing that I'd been doing it all wrong. Do you have a preferred pu'er source? I've been getting most of my teas from the Chicago Tea Company—the linked post was written by its owner.
(By which I mean that Ph.Ds in English wind up in other careers on a frequent basis, but there were probably much less time-consuming and, quite frankly, much less emotionally/psychologically painful paths to get there; I don't think a four-year Ph.D. changes that.) I think it does change the core issue: the students in question will, at the very least, expend less in opportunity costs (they'll be stuck in grad school for four years, not ten) and will be able to start their "real" career sooner. Plus, there's one other real issue: does one really need five to ten years of training to teach undergrads literature? The answer appears to be "no," based on the fact that a lot of grad students with zero to four years of training are doing exactly that, which Louis Menand points out in The Marketplace of Ideas. The book is definitely worth reading if you're interested in these issues (apologies if you already have and I'm bringing old news).
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2011 on A four-year doctorate? at The Little Professor
I actually wrote a long essay about how to establish that mentoring relationship, which basically boils down to "signal that you're worth the investment." Until you have a mentor, you can't be a highly effective mentee, even though your numbers 5. and 6. are part of the essay.
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Did you see the Nonprofit blog carnival: on the subject? If not, you should leave a comment there. I wrote a post on New Year's resolutions for it from a slightly different angle:
That puts my library (a part of which are here) to shame; you can see another shot here, on Grant Writing Confidential, but I have ~500 books, as opposed to thousands.
To me, one of the (big) takeaways from the book is that we have time orientation, but we don't often recognize it in ourselves or others. As I wrote in my post on the subject: Zimbardo also wrote The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, which together with Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational, pokes holes in traditional economic thinking concerning man as as a rational actor. All three argue that things are not as simple. In Zimbardo and Boyd’s case, the problem is that we don’t consciously realize how we tend to think about past, present, and future, or if we do, we aren’t able to step outside ourselves to realize how we’re thinking. What is “rational?” in the context of past, present, and future? To enjoy the moment, or to work toward a future moment? Zimbardo and Boyd implicitly argue neither, and they point to the poorly understood trade-offs we make regarding how we orient ourselves chronologically. That I use the language of economics to present this parallels Zimbardo and Boyd, who discuss “The Economics of Time” along with the nature of opportunity costs—another well-known issue too little referenced in everyday discourse.
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A student once threatened me with a bow-wielding Aragorn figurine after I dared to hint that, perhaps, the novels were not all that they could have been. Although this question could be a post or essay in and of itself, I would still ask: What do you think The Lord of the Rings could have been? (Bear in mind that this comes from a person who identifies more with the bow-wielding-Aragorn-figurine-wielding-student than with the Slough-of-Despond perspective, but I'm still curious.)
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2009 on Iconoclasm at The Little Professor