The academic life

Gnostic utterings for academics

For a period of years, my friend Gwen Knighton had entries in her blog she called gnostic utterings, which were comments about the world prompted by some-distance-removed events, and to which she appended the warning, “If you think this is about you, you are probably wrong.” Each entry was a collection of statements she did not utter […]

Steal my job (or part of it)

This semester I am serving as interim associate dean for the Office of Scholarship at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. This is in addition to my more persistent role as a division director, and my interim role is to start implementing the recommendations of a task force — creating a more connected structure to support […]

“Weeks/days of learning” is well-intended bad interpretative factoid

The Institute of Education Sciences has released a new Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund, or TIF, (after two years), which is generally solid research by Mathematica Policy Research, at least at a quick first read today. The main findings: Most of the experimental part of TIF was implemented by the schools. Some parts of the program […]

Who will tell you that your utopian school-improvement gambit has been tried before?

Jack Schneider is the star of Amy Scott’s Marketplace piece last Friday on the XQ competition to redesign high schools: [P]eople have tried to reinvent high school before. “That idea is as old as students sitting in desks and a teacher lecturing at the front of the classroom,” said education historian Jack Schneider, an assistant professor at […]

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 […]