Bach and before, Ives and after

by Kieran Healy on October 19, 2009

From a 1949 issue of Life Magazine, your guide to the “three basic categories of a new U.S. social structure — and the high brows have the whip hand”. With the rise of the cultural omnivore still well off in the distance, this is your must-have guide for the vagaries of mainstream culture in postwar America. Click for a larger version.

The path to tenure begins in the first year of graduate school

by Eszter Hargittai on October 19, 2009

It’s good if people ask for advice, but it’s not ideal if they ask for it too late. For example, when students ask me the year they are going on the job market how they should start thinking about the process, my first reaction (although I don’t say it since there is no point in stressing out the person at that stage) is that they should have started preparing years ago. Similarly, the year one is going up for tenure is not the right time to start wondering who could be on one’s list of tenure letter writers. Yet all too often this is precisely what happens, people don’t realize that some preparation over the years would have been extremely valuable if not crucial when approaching such important milestones in one’s academic career.

To help academics think about some of these matters, I have started a career advice column called Ph.Do over at Inside Higher Ed. In the first piece, More than Merit, I explain the reasons for the column. In the second, The Conference Scene, I discuss how to think about when and which conferences to attend. In the third, Conference Do’s and Don’t’s, I talk about how to maximize going to meetings without derailing one’s career. Any guesses as to which friend I refer to regarding the advice about dinners?

Future pieces will cover lots of topics ranging from collaborative work to making oneself marketable in several disciplines, applying for awards and fellowships and more. I welcome suggestions for what to address in upcoming pieces. Some of the ideas I have for future writing is already very much inspired by conversations we’ve had here on CT in the past.

I don’t think IHE has RSS feeds for specific columns, but for Twitter users, I’ve set up an account here and I’m also keeping this page updated with links although I haven’t set up a feed for it yet.

Privatisation and education

by John Quiggin on October 19, 2009

My still-in-progress book (outline here) will have a chapter on privatisation. That reminded me of some thoughts on school privatisation and for-profit education that I thought might be of interest here. The near-total failure of the for-profit education ventures that proliferated in the 1990s is striking and to some extent mysterious. In part, I suspect that the whole enterprise (at least as regards school education) was based on a misdiagnosis of the problems of the public school system, focusing on organizational factors, rather than the more intractable effects of steadily growing inequality. The limited success of the charter schools movement would point in that direction. But I argue below (from a piece I wrote for Campus Review in Australia a couple of years ago) that there are more fundamental problems with the for-profit approach. Your thoughts appreciated.

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