Clueless in Academe

Larry Summers is no more free to pop off at the mouth about a vexed academic question than George Bush is free to wander around the country dropping off-the-cuff remarks about Social Security or Islam. Of course both men are free in the First Amendment sense to say anything that comes into their pretty little heads; but the constitutional freedom they enjoy is freedom from legal consequences, not from consequences…

Life-Changing Experiences

I‘m very much in agreement with the reservations Joe Harris has expressed about the personal essay – the worry that grading, in some ways, becomes an evaluation of the self that the student represents on the page – but after reading the MetaFilter thread, one of my responses to the Personal Essay assignment has become a recognition of and revulsion at my own voyeurism. –Mike Vitia –Life-Changing Experiences (Vitia.org) Vitia is…

Boys, girls fare equally in U.S.

“If you’re on one side or the other of the gender-wars debate, you could pick a specific indicator to buttress your case,” said Kenneth C. Land, a professor of demographic studies and sociology at Duke University, senior author of the study. “But if we take a step back a little and look at what the data say overall, we find that the two genders have tracked pretty closely.” The study…

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Superheated 'Steem Can Burn You

Here’s an example. A professor was asked to send weekly e-mail messages to students who had done poorly on their first exam for the class. These students were divided into three groups. The mail to one group of students included only a review question. A second group received the review question plus some advice–along the lines of “study harder.” The third group received (in addition to the review question) a…