Long Live The English Major—If It’s Paired With An Industry-Recognized Credential

What does this simple question and its results tell us? It’s not the English major that’s the problem. It’s an industry-recognized skill attached to the English major that’s the opportunity. I’ve long advocated for a rebranding of the term liberal arts. Americans generally and employers more specifically value the elements of a liberal arts degree such as critical thinking and skilled communication. But the words “liberal” and “arts” get in the…

My Freshman Comp Student Didn’t Recognize the Term ‘Word Processor’

Most of my students use MS-Word, but maybe a third use Google Docs (that’s a big increase lately) and a handful (but a bigger handful) use Pages. Today during a writing conference, a freshman comp student blinked in confusion when I asked her to “take me to your word processor.” I tried again. “Open up a blank page so I can write something.” That made perfect sense to her, and…

Empathy in a Downtown Sub Shop

Sitting in a downtown sub shop. A half dozen 40yo dudes — boots & jeans & beards & tattoos — pile in, trash-talking each other. “I don’t wanna sit next to *that* retard!” says a guy in a knit cap. “You gotta pick your ‘tards!” I take a deep breath. Almost immediately, the dude with the biggest beard and most visible tattoos lowers his voice and murmurs something to Guy…

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In October, 1999 I was blogging about college application essays, Willie Crowther, and Elizabethan English for RenFest workers

Jessica found herself wishing that somebody — anybody — in her family had died: ”Because then I could write about it.” — College application essays. >As a young man I needed someone to look up to, someone to emulate. I was something of a nerd: I needed someone who’d integrated highly technical talents with the basic social graces. —Tribute to Willie Crowther, by Martin Heller Proper Elizabethan is more akin…

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Loud as a Whisper (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 5)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. A mediator who communicates via a telepathic chorus is a warring planet’s only hope for peace. While the episode isn’t perfect, nothing made me want to facepalm. I cared about Riva (the mediator) and his romantic (but at the same time respectful and professionally empathetic) interest in Troi. Her fascination with his methods, the shocking plot twist that shakes his confidence,…