Archive for the ‘Academia’ Category

Whatev-uh!

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

I can attest to the accuracy of this study:

Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

Read the whole article. I don’t think many people will disagree.

Speech Code Killed

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Mike Adams recounts helping bring down a speech code at Appalachian State University:

When one embarks upon a mission to eliminate speech codes from college campuses it’s tough to know where to start. Some codes ban speech that is merely “offensive.” Some ban speech that is “maligning.” Others ban speech that “challenges.” Imagine a college that guarantees a four year education without any fear of being challenged. It’s as easy as imagining a worthless college education.

Whatever the reasons, it was just over a year ago today that we agreed to target the speech code at Appalachian State University. The “we” began as a joint effort between the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in Raleigh and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in Philadelphia. The FIRE and the Pope Center wrote a report on censorship in the UNC system, which got surprisingly good coverage in the mainstream media.

The Right’s Ward Churchill?

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Not by a longshot. But based on this post from Instapundit, Paul Campos thinks Glenn Reynolds might be:

And while it would perhaps be an exaggeration to call people like Reynolds and his fellow law professor Hugh Hewitt (who defended Reynolds’ comments) fascists, it isn’t an exaggeration to point out that these gentlemen sound very much like fascists when they encourage the American government to murder people.

All this raises several interesting questions. For instance, does academic freedom insulate a law professor from any institutional consequences when he advocates murder? Reynolds and Hewitt, after all, certainly didn’t object when University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill’s celebration of the murder of American civilians raised serious questions about why the university had chosen to employ and tenure such a person, and led to an investigation of Churchill’s academic record.

Reynolds responds here.

Now I’m not convinced that assassinating Iranian scientists is a good idea. On the contrary, I think it could very well come back to haunt us. Meddling sometimes yields short-term benefits, but, in the long run, it often hurts us, as well as the country in which we meddled.

Having said that, I don’t think that Reynolds or Hewitt should be punished for their views. Comparing this to Ward Churchill seems like a stretch to me. Campos lets his ideological blindness show by suggesting that Reynolds and Hewitt are similar to the professor who called 9/11 victims “little Eichmanns.”

Education Starts Early

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

With all the talk about problems in higher education, it’s good to see that someone gets it:

Boosting Tennessee’s college graduation rate depends on significantly improving the curriculum in the state’s public high schools, a higher education official told lawmakers Tuesday.

Richard Rhoda, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, told the Senate Finance Committee that higher standards in high school would also lead to more students keeping their lottery scholarships after their freshman year in college.

Absolutely. Colleges take a lot of criticism, some of it deserved, some of it not. However, it is obvious that the public schools are not preparing students for college. Talk to any professor and he or she will tell you how amazed they are with the poor quality of students they are receiving. This is the result of many factors, to be sure: poor parenting, a passive culture, and the general belief that everyone deserves a college education. But public schools are clearly not preparing students for college. If we want to improve our colleges and universities, we better start with our public schools. And, if it leads to fewer high school graduates and fewer students enrolling in college, maybe we should take the hint.

UPDATE: This post is taking part in the Beltway Traffic Jam.

Blog Research

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Those of you interested in reading research on blogs should check out this page.

Hanson on Higher Ed

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Victor Davis Hanson has some thoughts on Higher Education in America.

Via Professor Reynolds

End Bathroom Segregation Now!

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

I normally don’t reproduce entire articles here, but this one, from ASU’s student newspaper The Appalachian, is just too priceless to edit. It looks like unisex bathrooms are coming to Appalachian State:

Male and female only bathrooms may be a thing of the past at Appalachian State University.

Student Government Association proposed an idea to the Faculty Senate Nov. 13 to convert single-cell gender specific bathrooms into gender-neutral bathrooms.

“[Faculty Senate] passed the [SGA] proposal with little discussion,” Faculty Senate Chair Martha A. Marking said. “I don’t know why anyone would object; everyone needs a private bathroom sometimes.”

The converted bathrooms will offer more privacy as well as a safe restroom for transgender students, Marking said.

Stephanie S. Helmers and Rebecca M. Cole from Housing and Residence Life spoke to students and faculty from around the state at the 2006 Diversity Conference about the issue and the need for gender-neutral bathrooms.

“The students at the conference received the project positively,” Cole said. “I can’t say that is a good representation of the population though, because those students elected to be present at the conference.”

Helmers also drafted a proposal for the establishment of the gender-neutral bathrooms in residence halls.

“The whole campus will benefit from the project,” Cole said. “Students who would normally have to choose a gender-specific bathroom and can’t, now won’t have to.”

This idea is already being experimented within Smith-Wright Hall. One of the faculty restrooms was designated as unisex.

SGA must complete an inventory of the accessible bathrooms around campus before the number of convertible restrooms can be determined.

“We won’t know how many or where we can do them until that inventory is complete,” Design and Construction Director Dr. Clyde D. Robbins said.

No constructional changes are expected for the bathrooms with the exception of new signs on the doors that indicate them as unisex.

SGA is looking into getting student support for the project. They passed out surveys in the library Nov. 13 to get public opinion.

Many hope this project will increase transgender awareness and promote diversity at Appalachian.

“Every little bit helps; any initiative put toward increasing diversity is good,” Cole said. “Students who don’t identify with a gender will recognize that Appalachian wants them to feel welcome and validates who they are.”

Housing and Residence Life is also exploring possibilities in gender-neutral housing that would not assign housing based on gender and designating bathrooms in residence halls as unisex, Cole said.

Geez, I’m glad I’ll be long gone before this policy is implemented.

Who’s Lacking Diversity?

Friday, October 20th, 2006

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a recent study:

Among other findings, the report, “A Profile of American College Faculty: Volume 1: Political Beliefs & Behavior,” says that:

* Professors are three times as likely to call themselves “liberal” as “conservative.” In the 2004 presidential election, 72 percent of those surveyed voted for John Kerry.

* Almost one-third of professors cite the United States as among the top two greatest threats to international stability — more than cited Iran, China, or Iraq.

* Fifty-four percent of professors say U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is partially responsible for the growth of Islamic militancy.

* Sixty-four percent say the government’s powers under the USA Patriot Act should be weakened.

Professors, says the report, are at the “forefront of the political divide” over U.S. foreign policy that has developed since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Faculty members have “aligned themselves in direct opposition to the political philosophy of the conservative base voting for the prevailing political power” in America, it says. Unlike most Americans, it adds, faculty members “blame America for world problems” and regard U.S. policies as “suspect.”

The report labels the faculty’s overall stance as liberal “groupthink,” and says it is dangerous because faculty members “are supposed to provide a broad range of … approaches to addressing problems in American society and around the world.” Professors are role models for students and frequently are called upon to act as “pundits” by the media and as experts on foreign policy, it adds.

Via Instapundit

Chomsky’s Cheap Talk

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Roger Scruton offers a profile of Hugo Chavez’s favorite intellectual, Noam Chomsky:

Prof. Chomsky is an intelligent man. Not everything he says by way of criticizing his country is wrong. However, he is not valued for his truths but for his rage, which stokes the rage of his admirers. He feeds the self-righteousness of America’s enemies, who feed the self-righteousness of Prof. Chomsky. And in the ensuing blaze everything is sacrificed, including the constructive criticism that America so much needs, and that America–unlike its enemies, Prof. Chomsky included–is prepared to listen to.