Category Archives: Education

And People Wonder Why Scholarly Publishing Is Such An Incredibly Niche Subset

of everything published in this world. I mean, c’mon – who *wouldn’t want to read: “… a study of college students from Finland who had trouble “fully differentiating the core ontology of physical, biological, and mental phenomena.”1 ” Riveting stuff, I tell you what.

And yes, this is the sort of thing I have to read to stay abreast of the literature in my chosen field. Thank goodness I get paid to read it while on the job *g* (sometimes, anyway).


1 Lindeman, M., Sveldhom, A., Takada, M., Lönnqvist, J., & Verkasalo, M. (2011). Core knowledge confusions among university students. Science and Education, 20(5-6), 439-451. doi: 10.1007/s11191-009-9210-x;  in Bivens-Tatum, Wayne. “Education Is Not Salvation.” Library Journal. Library Journal, 3 Dec. 2013. Web. 6 Dec. 2013. <;.

You Can Always Tell The Faculty Members On Campus

…they’re the ones moving around with no sense of urgency *g* even as finals week approaches.

Long Time No Post

Not that I expect anyone really missed out on my rambling musings anyway…

The end of the semester is always an exciting and annoying time for people who work in higher ed. Classes finish up, students scramble to get in last minute assignments and study for finals, the library is hugely busy and then – it stops. You come in the next day and the only things happening are an end of year employee celebration, and commencement, which you are required to attend (and can be pretty spiffy).  The entire academic year has gone by in a couple of hours…


Academics And Criticism

often go together like oil and water. If you don’t want to be critiqued don’t publish or present. Except, of course, that in today’s tenure-based publish-or-perish environment that isn’t an option. Perhaps growing a thicker skin (and paying some more attention to how the internet works *g*) might help.

Accuracy in Academia post: “You can find unparalleled wisdom at the Modern Language Association (MLA). Unfortunately, it is usually presented in the type of jargon English professors like to use.”

I’ve railed against the use of academicspeak many, many times.

English Professor’s response: “A colleague sent me your little article…The anti-intellectualism is of a very common sort. I won’t comment on that. But as a journalist perhaps you value thorough research. I was speaking to a group of academics at MLA for whom these terms mean something…“Are you at least consistent in your opposition to specialized language? Do you, for instance, complain about the language that physicists use in their technical papers?…Best of luck with this simple ax you wish to grind and grind.”

A: he is not a physicist (I’ll give the math types their technical language as a necessity – the humanities, not so much), B: neurocosmopolites and neuropostcoloniality ARE NOT WORDS, and C: If you don’t want to be critiqued don’t publish or present.

What is often labeled as “anti-intellectualism” can many times be better characterized as “use plain language, you overly prolix pedant”.

I’ve heard it said many times that academics take everything so seriously because there is so very little at stake ;-).

Sitting At The Reference Desk

listening to one of my student assistants explaining to another student, step by step, how to work through a *painfully* simple algebra problem.


Actual Job Description

of a $172,000/year associate vice provost at Purdue: “My job is to make sure these seven or eight committees are aware of what’s going on in the other committees.”




H/T to Coyote

A College Committee Meeting

that didn’t run long, did useful things during the first meeting of the semester, doesn’t seem to have any annoying personalities and generated a side project for me that should generate some good will with another department.

I’m waiting for an asteroid to crash on my Jeep any second now.


This made me laugh. I’m not sure what that says about me.

Mathematics as Post-Modern (in a Particular and Actually Quite Helpful Way)

H/T, of course, to Eugene Volokh.

Let’s Be Honest

Saving a document to your  network folder, opening your Gmail account, clicking “Attach File” then browsing to said network folder and attaching said document is not “So many steps! This is complicated!”

I fear for our youth…

“10 States Debating Guns on Campus” – With Good Reason

Assaults on campuses continue to steadily rise. But we wouldn’t want people to be able to protect themselves, now would we.