The Chattering Classes 2012

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Often we find that what is most revealing in covering the higher education beat is what academics reveal about themselves. What follows are vignettes and observations from the Ivory Tower this year:

Agents of Inaccuracy

November 27, 2012

“Despite the fact that more than half of faculty members say on surveys that an important goal for undergraduate instruction is to ‘encourage students to become agents of social change,’ colleges don’t have much of an effect on student political participation.” —Canadian sociologist Neil Gross

The Road to Self-Esteem…

November 14, 2012

“It’s healthy to make God look like you. It’s a good self-esteem move.”—Monica A. Coleman, associate professor at the Claremont School of Theology, as quoted in Faith & Freedom magazine

That’s Kind Of Huge

November 2, 2012

“One of the lone drawbacks of affirmative action is that mediocrity can become an expectation.”— Khadijah Davis is a sophomore in the School of Nursing and Health Studies at Georgetown University.

Not Ready For College

October 16, 2012

“Given the choice between losing their jobs or keeping the full 4 hours on instruction for students who enter the college with English as their second language and with significant lack of preparation for college level work, English faculty chose to act on behalf of their students and their colleagues have supported them”.—the Academic Senate of Queensborough Community College in Bayside, N. Y.

Elementary Role Play Pitfalls

October 9, 2012

“There are so many ways a role play about racism can go wrong in a room full of 6-, 7-, and 8-year-olds.”—elementary school teacher Katharine Johnson

Ersatz Promise Keepers

September 6, 2012

“Educational establishments have been making promises to students they cannot keep.” –Aaron Barlow, New York City College of Technology (CUNY).

Rotten Science?

August 23, 2012

“With the exception of a few areas — specifically, climate and the environment, certain fields within biology and medicine, history of science and the interaction between science and public policy — the rot that infects the rest of academia has been averted in science and engineering schools.”—Ron Lipsman, professor emeritus of mathematics and former senior associate dean of the College of Computer, Math & Physical Sciences, University of Maryland.

LA Story

Unified School District is being sued by 14 mothers whose children were allegedly sexually abused by a former district elementary school teacher, who is being held on a $23-milion-bond and has been charged with 23 counts of lewd acts on children.”—CNN by way of the American School Board Journal

Not A Doctor Joke

In a jaw-dropping story in the  New York Times, the Association of American Medical Colleges warns that ObamaCare is squeezing doctors out of practice–just in time for the swell in Baby Boomer patients.—the Family Research Council

Suspending Tolerance

July 24, 2012

Georgetown suspends student who would not attend sensitivity training.

Ethnic Studies 2.0

July 6, 2012

“In the surreal world of student loans, the brilliant student completing an electrical engineering degree at M.I.T. pays the same interest rate as the student majoring in ethnic studies at a state university who has a GPA below 2.0.”—Ohio University economist Richard Vedder

Air Force & Just War

June 25, 2012

“The Air Force suspended a 20-year-old class on ‘Just War Theory’ because it included scriptural references”—Tony Perkins, the Family Research Council.

Message In A Bottle

May 25, 2012

“So the question is, Can the ideas stand on their own merit regardless of who said them? It could be Kaczynski, it could be Mother Teresa, it could be Mr. Anonymous—the ideas are what they are, and the arguments are what they are. So I think from a rational standpoint we should say we can treat the ideas in abstraction from the circumstances in which they appear.”—David F. Skrbina, a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Michigan

Wrong Side of Charles

May 2, 2012

Mitt Romney also went to Harvard, though he spent most of his time on what the intellectuals consider to be the wrong side of the Charles, where the business school is found.—UVA historian James Ceaser

Level Playing Field

April 30, 2012

Student cell phones and cars are indistinguishable from those of the faculty.—Victor Davis Hansen

Harvard Hates Substance

April 12, 2012

Based on my experience as a graduate of Harvard Law School, much of what law schools teach their students is useless drivel, as some law professors themselves have conceded.—Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Professors in real time

April 5, 2012

“It is becoming nearly impossible for professors to teach enough to satisfy the demands of career administrators … Unless we’re in the classroom for thirty-five or forty hours per week—the equivalent of a full-time job in the corporate world.”—Michael DeCesare, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Merrimack College.

Back to Downhill Slide

March 12, 2012

“Welcome back from spring break students. Can’t believe we’re on the downhill slide to graduation!”—tweet from the UVA School of Education.

Federal subsidies=high tuition

March 6, 2012

“By the way, government subsidies have impacted upon rising tuition costs,” Vice President Joe Biden admitted last month at Florida State University.

Montgomery College offers summer course on Occupy Wall Street.February 21, 2012

Rethinking Occupation

February 3, 2012

“In New Mexico, student and other activists in Alburquerque decided to alter the ‘occupy’ name out of respect for the area’s indigenous communities, which have been forcibly occupied for centuries.”—Rethinking Schools magazine, Winter 2011-2012

Great Academic Gender Dilemma

January 10, 2012

“Though we consider ourselves to have made progress about gender and sexuality, there are still only two public categories to which one can belong”.—Jeffrey J. Williams, professor of English and literary and cultural studies at Carnegie Mellon University.

Moving Off Campus

January 10, 2012

“I did not understand—and failed to do the necessary research on—how the nonacademic work force operated, what its expectations were, and most important, how I could persuade nonacademic employers to hire me, a historian of 18th-century Britain with an expertise in early modern medical theories about menstruation (not, I will admit, the most useful background to have).”—Historian Alexandra M. Lord on making the jump from academia.


Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

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