Geoffrey Miller, a psychology professor, has been censured by the University of New Mexico, two months after he sent out a fat-shaming Twitter post that caused an angry Internet uproar.
It may have taken Miller less than a minute to write out this message and hit the “Tweet” button: “Dear obese Ph.D. applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation #truth.” But the consequences of that tweet will last much longer.
According to a university memo released on Tuesday, Miller — who has tenure at the University of New Mexico and was a visiting professor at New York University this summer — will be required to:
- Not serve on any committee involving the admission of graduate students to the psychology department for the duration of his time as a faculty member at the university.
- Work with the faculty co-advisers of the psychology department’s diversity organization to develop a plan for sensitivity training on obesity (for himself to undergo, said a university spokeswoman). The plan must be approved by a co-adviser or by the chair of the department.
- Be assigned a faculty mentor for three years with whom he will meet on a regular basis to discuss potential problems.
- Have his work monitored by the chair of the department.
- Apologize to the department and his colleagues for his behavior.
Miller did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Continue Reading »
Archive for the 'jobs' Category
Some of you may have read about the recent call from the American Historical Association to Ph.D.-granting universities to permit their recently credentialed historians to leave their dissertations off-line for six years in order to give the junior scholar time to revise the dissertation for publication. The AHA’s reasoning?
History has been and remains a book-based discipline, and the requirement that dissertations be published online poses a tangible threat to the interests and careers of junior scholars in particular. Many universities award tenure only to those junior faculty who have published a monograph within six years of receiving the PhD. With the online publication of dissertations, historians will find it increasingly difficult to persuade publishers to make the considerable capital investments necessary to the production of scholarly monographs.
I read through the AHA statement, the New York Times article on the subject, and a blog post by Berkeley biologist and open access advocate Michael Eisen (courtesy of Comradde PhysioProffe). I agree entirely with Eisen. The AHA position is wrongheaded, although I’ve got some different reasons to disagree with the call to embargo disseratations than Eisen has. Let me explain: Continue Reading »
I’ve got a friend who is struggling this summer with her university press publisher’s demand that she cut 20,000 words from her 142,000 word book. She’s doing interesting work pulling together the relevant strands of scholarship from many different fields, and as most of you humanists can probably guess, this means that her footnotes are pretty crunchy and dense. She added a great deal more to her first draft of the manuscript to respond to the suggestions and concerns of the press reviewers, and now the press itself is demanding that she cut-cut-cut, and she’s understandably frustrated.
As a first-time author, she feels obligated to demonstrate quite clearly her scholarly debt to others, so her footnotes and bibliography comprise 36,000 of the total. At this point, she has already cut 12,000 words from the manuscript and doesn’t think she can go further without undermining her contribution to the existing literature. Continue Reading »
Reza Aslan defends himself against charges of “bias” in his new book on Fox News by pointing out that he is a prominent scholar who writes about many religions. Slate says that “this may just be the single most cringe-worthy, embarrassing interview on Fox News:”
Fox News anchor Lauren Green had religious scholar Reza Aslan on her FoxNews.com show Friday to talk about Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, his book that has been stirring up some online controversy recently. And right off the bat, Green gets to what is important: “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” Aslan seemed a little flabbergasted: “Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”*
But Green just wouldn’t let it go: “It still begs the question though, why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?” Aslan then starts talking to Green slowly, as if she were a child: “Because it’s my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That’s what I do for a living, actually.” But Green insisted, accusing him of failing to “disclose” that he’s a Muslim and at one point asking him about a stupefying claim on whether a Muslim writing a book on Jesus isn’t sort of like a Democrat writing a book on former president Ronald Reagan. Continue Reading »
Does this read like a Coursera or Udacity press realease to you, too?
Whether for good or ill, MOOCs augur a disruption of the relationships among students, colleges and trade schools, and the credentials those schools offer — a relationship that has stabilized higher education for at least a century. Yet if done right — a big if, as recent events at San Jose State and Colorado State universities have shown — they may help address the quality and cost of higher education.
What’s the nature of the disruption?
For the moment, providers of MOOCs make their courses available to anyone. There is no admissions process. As in a video game, anyone can start, but you have to master levels that can include very difficult work. For the 10 percent who get to the end, the learning is real.
What about that experiment to offer dramatically reduced tuition for MOOCwork courses at Baa Ram U.? It’s even more hilarious than you can guess: Continue Reading »
- Mitch Daniels is a micromanaging creep, a bully, and a liar who has no business being president of Purdue.
- MOOCs are inferior to actual college classes.
- “Gun rights” pushers are sociopaths.
On the Mitch Daniels/Howard Zinn issue: a commenter on the linked Inside Higher Ed story wrote that “Zinn basically saw American democracy and capitalistic economy as a sham while . . . he made a good living tucked in the loving bosom [of] its higher education institutions.” I happen to know exactly how much money Zinn made back in the late 1980s, and it was far from “a good living.” Here’s the comment I wrote in response to this classic right-wing diversionary tactic. (It’s a shorter version of the story I shared about Zinn when he died three and a half years ago.): Continue Reading »
But to me, at least — and, yes, I acknowledge I’m at the age where I’m losing the battle to keep up with technology — the negatives outweigh the positives. So much on Twitter is frivolous or self-promotional. It can bury you in information. Because people often use Twitter to react to events instantly, they can say some awfully stupid things, as Roddy White, the Atlanta Falcons receiver, did after the George Zimmerman verdict, suggesting in a tweet that the jurors “should go home and kill themselves.”
With its 140-character limit, Twitter exacerbates our society-wide attention deficit disorder: Nothing can be allowed to take more than a few seconds to write or read. [Paul] Kedrosky may prefer Twitter, but I really miss his thoughtful blog. I recently heard Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive, bragging that the pope now has a Twitter account. Once, popes wrote encyclicals; now they tweet.
What I object to most of all is that, like other forms of social media, Twitter can be so hateful. It can bring out the worst in people, giving them license to tweet things they would never say in real life. Continue Reading »
Thanks to your many fantastic suggestions way back at the beginning of the summer, I’ve finally made some decisions (and perhaps more importantly, submitted my book orders) for my fall 2013 Introduction to Historical Practice, which all of our incoming M.A. students must take. Here’s the book list I’ve settled on for my focus on “history scandals:”
- Michael Bellesiles, Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture (2000), either the Knopf original hardcover or paper editions or the 2003 Soft Skull Press edition.
- Contesting Archives: Finding Women in the Sources, eds. Nupur Chaudhuri, Sherry J. Katz, and Mary Elizabeth Perry (2010)
- Shelley Ruth Butler, Contested Representations: Revisiting Into the Heart of Africa (1999; 2007)
- Anthony Grafton, The Footnote: A Curious History (1997)
- Saidiya Hartman. Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (2008)
- Peter Hoffer, Past Imperfect: Facts, Fiction, Fraud—American History from Bancroft and Parkman to Ambrose, Bellesiles, Ellis, and Goodwin (2004)
- NEW–Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek (2013)
- Bonnie G. Smith, The Gender of History: Men, Women, & Historical Practice, 2nd edition (2000)
- Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1997)
- Deborah Gray White, Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower (2008) Continue Reading »
The Assistant to the Associate Provost for Educational Attainment is a high-level, limited-term administrative assistant position that offers an opportunity for the right person to play an essential role in supporting educational innovation. The ideal candidate will value this unique opportunity for professional growth and development within a dynamic time and context, as the University focuses on student success initiatives and serves as the host campus for the Reinvention Center, a national consortium of research universities focused on supporting excellence and innovation in higher education.
Translation, anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Continue Reading »
File this post under reader and commenter Indyanna‘s notion that effective teaching can only be measured in the obituaries of our students. Via Echidne, we learn that in 1961, Phyllis Richman, writer and longtime restaurant critic at the Washington Post, applied to the graduate program in City and Regional Planning at Harvard’s School of Design . She received the following letter from Assistant Professor William A. Doebele, Jr., which read in part:
[O]ur experience, even with brilliant students, has been that married women find it difficult to carry out worthwhile careers in planning, and hence have a feeling of waste about the time and effort spent in professional education. (This is, of course, true of almost all graduate professional studies.)
Therefore, for your own benefit, and to aid us in coming to a decision [on your application], could you kindly write a page or two at your earliest convenience indicating specifically how you might plan to combine a professional life in city planning with your responsibilities to your husband and a possible future family?
I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your letter from June 1961. As you predicted, I have been very busy. Recently, as I was cleaning out boxes of mementos, I came across your letter and realized that, even though we discussed it in person 52 years ago, I had never responded in writing.
In 1961 your letter left me down but not out. While women of my era had significant careers, many of them had to break through barriers to do so. Before your letter, it hadn’t occurred to me that marriage could hinder my acceptance at Harvard or my career. I was so discouraged by it that I don’t think I ever completed the application, yet I was too intimidated to contradict you when we met face to face.
At the time, I didn’t know how to begin writing the essay you requested. But now, two marriages, three children and a successful writing career allow me to, as you put it, “speak directly” to the concerns in your letter. Continue Reading »