The academic life

The arcane art of writing review letters for tenure/promotion

A colleague recently asked me how to write external review letters. These are letters written by nationally-known scholars who are asked to provide an independent outsider view of a faculty member who is up for tenure and/or promotion in rank. My first thought: Thank goodness there still are tenure-track positions, so view this as a […]

After a year at ASU…

Yesterday was the first day of classes at Arizona State, and the start of my second year here. For the most part, my job has been as expected, with the bonus surprise of an incredible supporting group of staff and academic professionals. In addition to orienting myself to a large college as quickly as I […]

What do doctoral admissions committees look for?

Last week, I was in Portland with a chance to rub elbows with some very important people–no, not anyone who is likely to attend Davos next year but Gates Millennium Scholars. These students are on an alternative-spring break week engaged in service in Oregon. Most are undergraduates, with a sprinkling of masters and doctoral students. It’s a great […]

Developing courses for others

Yesterday, I found myself hip-deep in course planning at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral level. The doctoral course is for a major initiative that is on my plate this year, the undergraduate course helps the Division of Teacher Preparation with one of their curriculum initiatives, and the third is from a very clear need for redevelopment of the masters-level […]

Fragmentary thoughts at the start of a semester

The semester break at Arizona State University is over. My grand designs to write the Great American Novel during the break never existed, probably a good idea. In the meantime… Stephanie Simon had the most provocative article title of the last week, accusing Obama’s education program of being “pomp and fizzle.” Simon is missing a lot of […]