Academic Bombast: A Little Bit of Cis and That

Academics can be full of surprises. Just when you are about to write off the lot of them as pompous and often criminally inclined boors whose bloated prose only a Judith Butler could love, they redeem themselves with a bit of self-aware mockery. Wags at the University of Chicago have come up with a nifty […]

Diversity for Me but Not for Thee: Crystal Dixon, the University of Toledo, and the Hierarchy Civil Rights

It all started way back in 2008, when a self-described “middle-aged, overweight white guy with graying facial hair” wrote an op-ed that played fast and loose with the truth about health care benefits at the University of Toledo. Michael Miller, editor-in-chief of the Toledo Free Press, fresh from a town hall meeting sponsored by Equality […]

Leadership in Action: President Farahi Blames His Staff

Not yet 10:00 a.m., and already I have had my laugh of the day. From NJ.com: While the governing board at Kean University has launched an investigation about false claims on his resume, university president Dawood Farahi has acknowledged for the first time that some mistakes were made. In a recent interview, Farahi said even […]

Should the Nanny State Intervene to Fix Commencement?

Remember the “African proverb,” “it takes a village to raise a child,” Hillary Clinton borrowed for a book title? One would think this month that the village wise men and women would be out in force to congratulate the children they have nurtured with their tutelage. One would think. But one would be wrong. My […]

Robert Harlan Puts the “I Owe” in Iowa!

SEPTEMBER 26, 2011 UPDATE! Drake University embezzler agrees to plead guilty after charges consolidated. This sad, sad story began in April… Another week, another academic arrested for embezzling from an institution of higher learning. Ho-hum. The miscreant du jour is one Robert Harlan, late of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Iowa educators have been […]

This is Getting Serious, Folks! Vassar’s Short $1.9 Million–More Academic Embezzlers Out on Bond!

Every year about this time, the competition within the academic world revs into high gear.  High school seniors are frantic to know if they made the cut at their first-choice institution. Admissions officers are holding their collective breath in the hopes that their offers of admission will yield the perfect class: students whose parents can […]

Administer with Care

Every enterprise has its own in-jokes, I suppose. In academic circles, and by that I mean in ballrooms of tony convention hotels in Washington, San Francisco, Miami, or San Diego where porcine college presidents, vice presidents and deans gather for top-level meetings on issues of national importance. In academic circles you are guaranteed a chuckle […]

Plus ca Change : Transitional Analysis

A former boss of mine was fond of needling me and various colleagues with a constant reminder that “change is hard.” He chose his words carefully, not so much to point out the obvious (although he did a lot of that, too), but to let us know directly how much pleasure he was taking in […]

Forget about Killing All the Lawyers; First Let’s Call the Consultants!

What comes to mind when you hear the word “consulting”? The folks at McKinsey who brought you Enron? Bob Shrum, who ignited the dynamite Kerry-Edwards campaign? Or perhaps that unfortunate laid-off fellow next door, who has added “consultant” to his resume in a futile effort to conceal his unemployment. When I see the words “consulting” […]

A Faculty (Almost) in Revolt: Institutional Loyalty, Acts of Conscience and Votes of No Confidence

When the temperature hovers in the upper 90’s for weeks on end, not much stirs in Collegetown, USA. Most of the underpaid, underappreciated faculty have shipped their kids off to lacrosse or computer camp, or are busy packing for the Vineyard or Prince Edward Island. It’s a tough life. So I was mildly surprised when […]