Teaching

Prevention of Bullying on Campus

Elizabeth Farrington, an expert on women in higher education, defines campus bullying as behavior at colleges and universities that tends “to threaten, to intimidate, to humiliate or to isolate members of the working university environment [and] that undermines reputation or job performance.” It occurs frequently, and very often we who work in these environments are unaware of it.

Imagine the following scenarios: 

The Whistleblower Effect

Imagine the following scenario: You are teaching a course and give a writing assignment. With the deadline fast approaching, one student asks a classmate for a copy of her paper, makes a few revisions, and submits the assignment as his own original work. When you confront the student with evidence of plagiarism, he accepts responsibility for cheating. The second student, who provided the original paper, is shocked that she, too, would be accused of cheating. She simply e-mailed her friend a copy of her paper.

Increasing Access and Making Practice More Inclusive through Disability Awareness Training

In August 2012, the Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee (BCCC), an advocacy group at Syracuse University that is dedicated to establishing and supporting an inclusive climate across campus, developed a workshop module on disability for the university’s incoming teaching assistant (TA) orientation. Each year, the TA orientation is attended by hundreds of new graduate teaching assistants who are joining the university community and will be working directly with students.

Why Academic Politics Are So Vicious

Twenty years have passed since I taught my first day of classes as a beginning assistant professor at Middle Tennessee State University. To be honest, these days I often find myself bored as well as exhausted. But I do not seek a life elsewhere. It is the fact that I can spread ideas that keeps me faithful to what I do.

The Professoriate Reconsidered

What will the work of the faculty look like in 2050? We suspect it may be quite different from both of the models that currently predominate: research-oriented faculty members with tenure or on the tenure track, on the one hand, and, on the other, non-tenure-track, mostly part-time faculty members, who typically carry out little research. Neither of these models, in our view, is adequate to today’s enterprise—one that is increasingly focused on teaching first-generation and low-income students, often online.

Professor, Say Hi to the Devil!

One week before Christmas Day, my fall 2014 medieval literature class came to an end when the last student taking the final exam turned in her work. I handed back her semester literary analysis paper, graded, as I had previously done for all of my other students.

Apparently the student in question was unhappy with the grade on her literature term paper. After I wished her a happy holiday season, she told me, “Say hi to the devil!” and darted out the door.

A Day in the Life of a Public University Professor in Wisconsin

As of January 2016, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled state legislature had cut funding by $1.05 billion for K–12 public schools, $795 million for the University of Wisconsin system, and $203 million for the Wisconsin technical college system.

In a January 16, 2016, opinion piece in the New York Times, Dan Kaufman summed up the concerns of many in the state:

On the Pros and Cons of Being a Faculty Member at E-Text University

This essay discusses e-texts in terms of academic freedom, using excerpts from conversations with instructors who have used various e-texts in their classes. These instructors often take a pragmatic approach to the materials but fear losing control of what and how they teach.

Outcomes Assessment: Conceptual and Other Problems

Despite their plausibility and their having become common practice, programs of outcomes assessment are fraught with problems. Disclosing the problems requires critical thought and a skeptical attitude at odds with most of the relevant literature. The practice lacks a basis in research, though circular, question-begging faux research attempts to caulk the gaps. Its real basis, discernible on investigation, raises more problems.

Invigorating the Classroom

In a lengthy two-part, online essay titled “Politicizing the Classroom,” Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, argues that the AAUP’s recent report Ensuring Academic Freedom in Politically Controversial Academic Personnel Decisions is an effort to politicize the university. He advocates, as if it were an alternative, that the university focus on improving the quality of student learning. I disagree with his critique, and particularly his contrived assumption that advocacy and learning are contradictory.

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