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That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket

What kind of boss hires a thwarted actress for a business-to-business software startup? Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s 42-year-old cofounder and CEO, whose estimated double-digit stake in the company could be worth $300 million or more. He’s the proud holder of an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Canada’s University of Victoria and a master’s degree from Cambridge in philosophy and the history of science.“Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfield, sitting…

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The Importance of Writing Skills in Tech-Related Fields

Good writing skills are valuable, even in the world of STEM. How is it that students interested in careers in technology don’t understand that writing skills are a crucial part of their future success? What’s more, in my life as a writing coach, I’ve noticed that this aversion sometimes extends well past the undergraduate years and into the master’s and Ph.D. levels. In an effort to underscore the importance of effective…

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The Better Angels of Our Writing

Copy editors are to the world of publishing what the stage manager is to the world of theater. I love copy editors and I love stage managers. When the copy editor for my latest book placed a little check mark over the name of a computer game, Snood, and then wrote in the margin (“snood.en.softonic.com”), I knew that her fact-checking was protecting me, and I felt grateful. When I dashed…

Understanding Sonnet 130 (Preview)
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Close Reading of Sonnet 130: Form, Theme, and Cultural Context (and a Rage Comic)

I’m preparing to teach Shakespeare again this fall. Seton Hill offers the course every other year, so each time it comes around, it feels new.  The course will focus on plays, but I do like starting out with a brief unit on the sonnet in order to help my students get accustomed to the language. It occurred to me that a lecture on the sonnet would be a good place to start…

Oh No You Didn't
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Misleading Publisher Email Promises Paid Stipend, Delivers Lottery

An email from a reputable higher education publisher just landed in my inbox. “Paid Invitation to Review Digital, Print Products.” But the actually messages says “If you complete the survey by July 21st, 2015, your name will be entered into a drawing to receive one of three $50 Visa Gift Cards.” Hm… how would Reputable Academic Publisher like it if I “paid” for their products by taking dozens of titles from their…

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Journalism academics: mocked by the media and stifled by universities

  [T]he traditional consensus is that journalism education should be focused on practical vocational skills including shorthand, news gathering and news writing and yet it is situated within an academic environment, whose core business is research.Although the practitioner academic is fairly common in universities today, due to the huge rise in converted polytechnics teaching vocational courses, a big divide still exists between practitioners and researchers. |  I recently decided that…

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Why Love Lyrics Last

I am inclined to agree with the “favorite scholarly idea” that is here criticized, if only to offer a counterpoint to the notion that the “I” who speaks in each Shakespeare sonnet is a coherent and consistent stand-in for Shakespeare himself, and that the proper way to understand a poem is to imagine a situation that might have motivated the poet to write this poem. In order to teach literary…