The historians in the survey were generally satisfied with their careers, with 41.2 percent reporting they were somewhat satisfied, 46.5 percent reporting they were very satisfied and only 2.2 percent reporting they were very dissatisfied.
One area of frustration — with 55.7 percent expressing dissatisfaction — was “effectiveness of academic leadership” at their institutions. Comments indicated that many were frustrated by responses to recent economic challenges.
The area of greatest frustration was students, with 69.2 percent of the respondents expressing dissatisfaction with their undergraduates, and 67.3 percent reporting dissatisfaction with graduate students. In comments with the survey, historians worried about the impact of poorly prepared students on their classes. One wrote that “increasingly poorly prepared students have necessitated that I spend ever greater amounts of time on preparing courses, assessment of student work, and remediation of student work in my teaching.”
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Well, well, well–we finally pulled up to the ranch late on Sunday night, but with all of the stall-mucking and fence-riding to be done, as well as another holiday to prepare for, I’ve had no time at all to blog about the great time and intense learning that was the 2012 Gay-S-A in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I won’t bore you with the specifics of the intellectual conversations that I had, but rather will instead entertain you with a “slice of life” overview of the conference that will perhaps offer some useful strategies for those of you prepping for MLA, AHA, or the other large disciplinary conferences that will meet in the next few months. (Tenured Radical, Madwoman with a Laptop, and GayProf have all beat me to the conference round-up, so you can go there for the intelleckshul content. This blog post is–mostly–a bagatelle, a lagniappe if you will–just for fun.)
- You can make new friends and impress important people if you show up at a graduate student panel at 8 a.m. on a Friday morning. I don’t want to go into it, but you can get a (perhaps undeserved) reputation for being a decent person for doing something like that, something you might have done anyway just because you were interested in hearing the papers. Shhhhh!!!
- This may be especially important if you disappointed a lot of people at your panel. The panel was a great success, especially for a first-day, almost first-thing in the morning panel. But as I whispered to GayProf as we were being introduced, “I have the feeling that thirty people in this room are disappointed, thinking ‘that’s not what I thought he/she looked like!’”
- I like to go swimmin’ with bare-naked women and swim between their legs. True! (And that naked woman will apparently be me this weekend, because I foolishly left my brand-new bathing suit in the hotel bathroom. Oh well–I didn’t like the bottoms, although the top was super-cute–see photo below.) And it’s also true that you can have substantial intellectual conversations and engage in serious problem-solving while swimming in the ocean or pool, and while sitting around afterwards in your bathing suit or sundress. I think this might be due to the fact that it’s difficult to be pretentious or cagey when you’re only half-dressed (or worse.) Continue Reading »
Hilarious unsourced post at the National Review Online: no names, no actual evidence that any of this is true, but dark warnings about the tidal wave of unemployment that’s about to be unleashed across the country because the so-called “job creators” are pi$$ed off that their candidate didn’t win. Here’s allegedly one for you:
I explained to [my employees] a month ago that if Obama gets in office that the regulations for Obamacare are gonna hurt our business, and I’m gonna have to make provisions to make sure I have enough money to cover the payroll taxes, the additional health care I’m gonna have to do, and I explained that to them and I said you do what you feel like in your heart you need to do, but I’m just letting you know as a warning this is things I have to think of as a business owner.
Well unfortunately, and most of my employees are Hispanic — I’m not gonna go into what kind of company I have, but I have mostly Hispanic employees — well unfortunately we know what happened and I can’t wait around anymore, I have to be proactive. I had to lay off 22 people today to make sure that my business is gonna thrive and I’m gonna be around for years to come. I have to build up that nest egg now for the taxes and regulations that are coming my way.
Right. Because a President Romney would magically have been granted the power to issue a retroactive veto for a bill passed 3 years before his inauguration, and none of those “taxes and regulations” would be coming your way, ever, guaranteed. Continue Reading »
A history Master’s student from outside the U.S. has a question about the GREs as he readies his applications for Ph.D. programs. Can you help him understand how GRE scores are used in your graduate program admissions, especially those of you who teach in History departments? To the mailbag, friends!
As a student looking to apply to Ph.D. programs next year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the GRE (which my Canadian M.A. program luckily doesn’t require). It seems to me even more absurd than the SAT, and I can’t help but think that admissions committees weight it very highly relative to grades, recommendations, writing sample, etc.. Am I correct in this assumption, or should I go on an anti-standardized testing rant?
With All Due Respect,
GRE-phobic Gordon from Guelph
I know–taking a mass-produced, mass-administered test seems like the height of idiocy, but never underestimate the degree to which history departments in U.S. universities (and probably elsewhere) desperately want to outsource their major decisions to others. Since against all reason and good judgment, you appear to yearn to follow in the footsteps the embittered and frequently underemployed commenters on this blog, I should warn you that taking the GRE is merely the first time that your fate will be (in a small way, to be sure) outsourced to someone outside of the admissions committees who are tasked with reading and evaluating your application. Continue Reading »
I always thought this was a particularly good one, and not just because I grew up at the intersection of I-75 and the Ohio Turnpike. I know a lot of you on the East and Best Coasts probably like to make fun of us yokels from Ohio, but like it or not, friends–those yokels will be picking your next president for you! (And this yokel, now living in another swing state, has already cast her vote by mail, helping to pick your president too.)
It’s interesting to note (based on this trip down memory lane) that President Obama’s insular tendencies–and even his isolationism from powerful people in the Democratic Party–were clearly evident more than four years ago. I know people don’t like it when I say this, but the President’s isolation, stemming from his refusal to use a great deal of the “soft power” tools of the presidency, is a political problem. (And doesn’t the debate debacle in Denver earlier this month look different, having re-read that post?) Continue Reading »
Did anyone else read this provocative nothingburger of an essay? Michael Bérubé on “Why I Resigned the Paterno Chair:”
I read the Freeh report the morning it was released and proceeded to ignore every news-media outlet’s request to comment. A producer for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered called my English-department office, my office at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, my cellphone, and my home phone. For good measure, she e-mailed and tweeted me. That afternoon, I saw a cloud formation that pretty clearly seemed to be a smoke signal—”Professor Bérubé, this is NPR. Please call us RIGHT THIS SECOND.” Radio, TV, newsmagazines, and newspapers called and wrote. But I had nothing to say that day, and I have had nothing to say since. Until now.
If only he had clung to his original instincts! Continue Reading »
Today’s example comes from Katherine Kersten, a fellow at something called the Center for the American Experiment in Crappy History. It’s a twist on the “Obama is not an American” theme so popular with anti-Obamaniacs these days. Big news, kids: President Barack Obama’s agenda is not rooted in Kenyan anti-colonialism. Instead, it’s rooted in Kaiserreich Germany! Behold:
Progressivism views the roles of citizen and state very differently than our founding fathers did. The founders anchored the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in three principles. They believed that human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inherent in nature and human dignity, and preexist the state. They believed that government should be limited, and that its primary purpose is to protect these rights. Finally, they crafted our Constitution to disperse power and curb its abuse through mechanisms such as checks and balances, and federalism.
As the 20th century opened, progressives like Woodrow Wilson — a former president of Princeton University — dismissed the Declaration and Constitution as outmoded. They insisted that America’s archaic political system was unsuited to solving the problems of a new industrial age. Ironically, however, they drew their own vision for perfecting democracy from a very undemocratic place: the imperial Germany of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.
Dun-dun-dunnnnnnnnn! Now, forget about some American intellectuals’ fascination with German education back in the 1870s for just a moment, a phenomenon to which Obama is only very, very distantly attached, to say the least. Did you see what she did with the so-called “Founding Fathers?” Continue Reading »
Nicoleandmaggie from Grumpy Rumblings of the Untenured left a very smart comment in the peanut gallery of the last post that I thought deserved highlighting and discussing. They write:
My department has had huge success hiring high quality women and minorities. (We’re almost all women and minority assistants and associates, in fact.) How do we do it? Well, we recruit widely and we pretty much just use rubrics to hire advanced assistants and new associates. We initially cut the pool by number of publications in a specific tier of journals. We look through the rest and rate on specific things in a grid using numbers. Then we compare people at the top with numbers that are above a certain threshhold. Then we double check all the women and minorities. We’re also good about policing potentially sexist and racist language and we almost completely ignore letters of recommendation.
We don’t assume that the woman or minority is the trailing spouse. And we end up with really strong final candidates even though our teaching load is a bit higher than average and we’re in the middle of nowhere. And then they accept the job. (Turns out hubby or partner is willing to be a trailing spouse and single women actually will take jobs in the middle of nowhere.) Continue Reading »
Sad, but true. Here’s an excerpt from the Archaeology department’s T & P committee letter to Dr. Jones (h/t Monocle Man for this one):
January 22, 1939
Assistant Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr.
Department of Anthropology
Chapman Hall 227B
As chairman of the Committee on Promotion and Tenure, I regret to inform you that your recent application for tenure has been denied by a vote of 6 to 1. Following past policies and procedures, proceedings from the committee’s deliberations that were pertinent to our decision have been summarized below according to the assessment criteria.
Demonstrates suitable experience and expertise in chosen field:
The committee concurred that Dr. Jones does seem to possess a nearly superhuman breadth of linguistic knowledge and an uncanny familiarity with the history and material culture of the occult. However, his understanding and practice of archaeology gave the committee the greatest cause for alarm. Criticisms of Dr. Jones ranged from “possessing a perceptible methodological deficiency” to “practicing archaeology with a complete lack of, disregard for, and colossal ignorance of current methodology, theory, and ethics” to “unabashed grave-robbing.” Given such appraisals, perhaps it isn’t surprising to learn that several Central and South American countries recently assembled to enact legislation aimed at permanently prohibiting his entry.
Moreover, no one on the committee can identify who or what instilled Dr. Jones with the belief that an archaeologist’s tool kit should consist solely of a bullwhip and a revolver. Continue Reading »
FYI, from the h-net job advertisement:
The Department of History at Colorado State University invites applications for the position of Assistant Professor of History, with a concentration in modern Britain (c. 1700 through the twentieth century, including the British Empire). This is an entry-level tenure-track position, beginning August 16, 2013. The successful candidate will be appointed untenured and at the rank of Assistant Professor. Required qualifications include Ph.D. in History at time of appointment; a demonstrated record of scholarship and promise of publication in area of concentration; a demonstrated record of teaching excellence; and a demonstrated ability to work effectively with faculty, students, and the public. Preferred qualifications include ability to place the history of the British Isles into a European and wider world context. Responsibilities include teaching undergraduate courses in the area of concentration and graduate courses in European history, as well as introductory-level survey course in Western Civilization or World History; pursuing research and publication projects; providing academic advising to undergraduate and graduate students; and fulfilling appropriate service assignments for the department, college, and university. Continue Reading »