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Academic Rules 4: Hegelian Mutual Recognition

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 5, 2012 - 5:53pm

I entered graduate school in COMM in the fall of 1975. I had a vague sense that there was a split between the social science and humanities wings of the field formerly known as speech. The instant I entered grad school I discovered a battle was going on for my soul. I had (he said immodestly) astronomically high GRE's and a nearly 4.0 (3.93 to be precise) GPA from a then-good liberal arts college (don't get me started on what it's like now). At that time one had to take both rhetorical methods and social science methods as an MA student, and I did rather well at both.


Academic Rules 3: Peak Email

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 4, 2012 - 10:09pm

A generalization: as syllabi have become more detailed, undergraduates pay no attention to them. As library searches have become easier, neither undergraduates nor graduate students know how to use the library. As emails from administrators like myself become more frequent, faculty pay no attention either. Discuss. You will get a Nobel Prize in Something if you solve the problem that email has created.


Academic Norms 2

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 3, 2012 - 1:14pm

I spent roughly half my professional life in the small liberal arts college setting. There the norm was: be in the office 9-5 five days a week. Since moving to a PHD program, I have continued to prefer to teach MWF. For about half my time here, I was a 5 day a week in the office person, although I cut back on that to 3 days a week a few years ago. There appears to an explicit principle in my department, as well as in others across campus, that especially junior faculty should be given T-Th schedules and stay home and write for the other three days.



Submitted by Jim Aune on April 1, 2012 - 9:49am


Implicit Rules in Academe

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 1, 2012 - 7:17am

Following up on syntaxfactory's posting of the Chronicle article earlier today about class and higher ed: if we adopt the lens of Kenneth Burke's "socio-anagogic" criticism and examine the sources of "social mystery" carefully, Briallen Hopper and Johanna Hopper's poignant story illustrates how crossing various social boundaries often results in situations where you only discover the presence of a Rule after you violate it. (I think of the perhaps true story about Allan Bloom in Bellow's Ravelstein when Bloom/Ravelstein offends Mrs. T.S.


The Rise of Tenureless Programs

Submitted by syntaxfactory on February 9, 2012 - 2:38pm

Below, see a job ad for the University of Denver, where several quality colleagues of mine teach quite happily.

I'm interested in the rise of programs like these -- tenureless except for the administrator, but incredibly humane teaching conditions that still make possible research and disciplinary service.


What can a department do to support research?

Submitted by syntaxfactory on February 7, 2012 - 8:11pm

So my department is in the middle of its first ever external review. As part of the review, we are supposed to come up with a five-year plan. We have statements about wanting new hires, about reviewing graduate and undergraduate, major and non-major curricula. We have statements about wanting nicer machines and cooperating with assessment.


The State of Things....

Submitted by John W. Pell on January 26, 2012 - 12:52pm

I write this post having just completed reading the transcript of The State of the Union Address and an assessment of undergraduate education, specifically writing instruction, sent to me by a colleague at another institution. In both texts I found an interesting refrain: teachers and teaching are crucial to student success, but evaluating successful teaching is best done by external entities, which more often than not, are unfamiliar with either the profession of teaching or the discipline of rhetoric and writing studies.


Footnotes for the Illiterate

Submitted by Jim Aune on January 8, 2012 - 12:57am

Jameson on Mao:

"Mao Zedong himself drew back from the ultimate consequnces of the movement he had set in motion, when, at the supreme moment of the Cultural Revolution, that of the founding of the Shanghai Commune, he called a halt to the dissolution of the party apparatus and effectively reversed the direction of this collective experiment as a whole (with consequences only too obvious at the present time" Ideologies of Theory, 207-8.


The Moral Stench of the MLA

Submitted by Jim Aune on January 7, 2012 - 10:57pm

The MLA just gave its lifetime achievement award to a man who defended Mao's murder of millions (forty? sixty? one loses count) in China, proclaimed Cuba as the "only liberated zone in the Western hemisphere" at the time that Castro was piling GLBT people into concentration camps, and praised Black September. Oh, and he also wrote that Heidegger's Nazism was "still preferable" to liberalism. Liberalism is looking pretty good right now. Too bad the MLA doesn't believe in the only ideology that has ever protected it.