Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Other Thing College Is For (and Why It Matters)

    If you ask anyone what colleges and universities are for, they'll give you more or less the same answer: to educate people.  That's a good answer. It's the one I give myself. But it's only half the truth. Colleges and universities actually fulfill two separate roles. We all know about both of them. We only talk about one of them. And because of that, we misunderstand almost everything about how higher education works and how it might be improved.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Blogging Like Chaucer

    I love academic bloggers. Academic bloggers worry me sick. And the bloggers who keep me up at night are the ones who have adjunct or alt-ac jobs but are trying to move to the tenure track. Some of those people are using blogs and social media to advance their careers in ingenious ways which I would never have foreseen. But others seem, at least from my vantage, to expect or hope that their online work will help their career in specific ways that it will not and cannot. Being online can help an academic career. But it's important to be clear about what it can help and what it can't.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    In Praise of the Writing Binge

    When I got my first job, I also got a book of advice for new professors. It gave me some sensible-sounding advice about writing. Avoid binge writing, it said. Write at regularly scheduled hours and keep each session brief. Too many graduate students are used to writing in crazy binges, the authors said, rather than developing steady writing habits. Faculty had to learn to write all the time, and also had to learn to STOP writing even if things were going well. And I tried to take that advice seriously.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    A Society Of Snoops and Tattletales

    This afternoon, Reuters published an Op-Ed from me about the online investigations into the Boston bomb attack.  I am very concerned about the "if you see something, say something culture," and how it has mixed with technology to create something of a society full of amateur detectives and complainers.

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    Ramona's picture

    Back in Michigan but not quite home

     

    Just to let you know I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. We've been living out of suitcases for almost two weeks now as we worked our way north from our winter digs.  We're in the U.P finally, on the last leg home.  Should get there today and I'm hearing bad news about a snow mound that still needs digging out before we can get to our door.  Should be interesting.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Seeing the Headlights

    Six years ago today, in the early morning hours of April 5, I hit a patch of highway ice while driving to the airport in an unexpected snowstorm and spun out sideways. My car was totaled, with all of the damage to the driver's side door. I survived unscathed. I did not get whiplash. I did not miss my plane.

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    Ramona's picture

    The Walmart Saga: Empty Shelves, Full Exec Pockets

     

    I've been debating about writing about Wal-Mart for a while now for one very good reason:  If I write as a knowledgeable shopper, people will know I shop at Wal-Mart.  Chicken of me, I know, but some of my best friends, relatives and acquaintances refuse to shop at Wal-Mart, and they don't like to be reminded that I'm not one of them.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Why Faculty Governance? (Teresa Sullivan and U.Va. Redux)

    On Thursday, the American Association of University Professors, a national faculty union, released its report on last summer's debacle at the University of Virginia, where, if you recall, the Board of Visitors fired the UVa's President, Teresa A.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Cooking in Rome: Soda Bans and the Illusion of Choice

    A judge has overruled Mayor Bloomberg's soda ban, calling it "arbitrary and capricious." So New York City's ban on large sugary beverages, meaning more than 16 oz. servings, is basically dead. This is a big win for Big Gulp Libertarianism, which derided the government soda ban as Nanny State tyranny, taking away individual's freedom to make their own rational choices. But you know what else is arbitrary, capricious, and erodes individual freedom of choice? Marketing.

    Ramona's picture

    It’s Not Always a Day at the Beach

    On clear mornings here at the beach I’m out on the balcony waiting, like every other early riser, for the sun to poke up out of the ocean. This morning I woke earlier than usual, while it was still dark except for a thin strand of pink beginning to stretch across the horizon.  I made a quick trip outside, shivering in my summer nightgown, dancing around in my bare feet, leaning over our fourth floor balcony rail to check out where the waves were hitting the beach.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Filibuster Open Thread! *Updated*

    Okay, Rand Paul is basically unloved around here.

    But I like that he's using the talking filibuster to make his point about Obama's drone policies.  That, rather than procedural games, requires some physical, mental and emotional sacrifice.  It i in keeping with the spirit of passionate argument and debate, rather than parliamentary trickery.

    Also, his demand: that Obama clarify whether or not a weaponized drone can be used against an American and for what purpose, sounds totally reasonable to me.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    President Obama Has Been Ducking Me On Serious Issues

    As a citizen of the United States of America and employer of Barack Obama, I must protest that I have not yet once been invited to the White House, not even for a beer in the Rose Garden even though I a) like beer and b) am not allergic to roses.

    Clearly, President Obama is afraid that I might ask a tough or unpredictable question or simply level him with some sort of criticism that will leave him wondering, "do I really even want to finish this second term?"

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Why Should Professors Do Research?

    My high school physics teacher was a fraud. He claimed to have two PhDs, but had no graduate degree of any kind and as I understand it didn't even have a BA in physics. He left in a sudden flurry a couple of months before the end of my senior year.

    Ramona's picture

    An already belligerent 21st Century enters its Teens

     

    Just two weeks from today, on the 21th of January, 2013, Barack Obama will be inaugurated for the second time as president of these United States.

    Ramona's picture

    Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Make Joy, not War!

     

     Wishing you all a merry Christmas season, and all the joys it brings.  Happy holidays and peace to all, including those who wanted a war so badly they made one up.

    Will it spoil everything if I pass along this gentle reminder?  Christmas is a time of joy and good will for everyone; all ages, all regions, all religions.  Those scrooges who want to pretend there's a war going on over it, have, sadly, forgotten what it was like to be a child.

    Their loss.
     

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    Ramona's picture

    I don't need to know their names

     

    It's Saturday, the day after what will forever be known as the Sandy Hook School murders.  Yesterday Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old man, broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and shot to death six adults and 20 small children.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Reading the Renaissance for Fun (and Profit)

    I stopped blogging for a while around Thanksgiving, partly because I was driving instead (I managed to log about 2500 highway miles in a week and a half), and partly because I needed to unplug both from national politics and from the unrelenting dailiness of office politics. (I go to more meetings at work than I used to, and answer a lot more e-mails.) The advent of winter holidays has always been a good time for me to step away from the noisy bustle and think more about what is durable.

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    Ramona's picture

    On Writing Free and Brave

     

    I had a bout with bronchial pneumonia this week, which left me breathless enough to now be able to cross "ambulance ride" off of my bucket list.  I spent two days in the hospital and, while I feel almost human again, a strange thing has happened.  When I sit down to write, I'm finding that the last thing I want to write about is the current political situation.

    Ramona's picture

    Fall Comes to the U.P.

     

    At the easternmost edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where I live, the land is low.  In the deep south it would be called the low country.  Here it's called the cedar swamp.  Where there isn't swamp there is rock, where thin sheaths of earth allow only the shallow-rooted trees to thrive--the quaking aspen, white birch and the Michigan cottonwood known as Balm-of-Gilead.  The weed trees.
     

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