Category Archives: academics

Caturday felid trifecta: a cat of negotiable affections, cat cafe closes because it ran out of cats, and cats in academia

I was going to call this cat, Nala, a “whorecat,” but then I realized I’d be cat-shaming, so I will call her “a cat of negotiable affections”: According to Distractify, Nala came home bearing this note: Transcript: I don’t know who this cat belongs to, but she comes visits us every few weeks. She’ll meow outside […]

Kevin J Connolly (1936-2015)

by Matthew Cobb One of the key relationships in academic life is that between a PhD student and their supervisor. If everything goes well, the supervisor is part mentor, part in loco parentis, and by the end of the process, when the thesis is written up and passed, supervisor and student have learned as much […]

Peter Boghossian on “the regressive left”

“The regressive left” is a term coined by Maajid Nawaz to refer to those leftists in bed with extreme Islamists. In this week’s “The Humanist Hour,” presented by the American Humanist Hour, philosopher Peter Boghossian talks, eloquently, about the regressive left and its attendant tropes (denigration of free speech, concepts of safe spaces, etc).  If […]

More fragile student feelings: Christian students refuse to read Duke’s summer-assignment novel because (horrors) it deals with lesbians and other touchy subjects

Well, here we have another ludicrous reaction of college students to their academic assignments, refusing to engage because the assignment might bruise their tender feelings. It so happens that Duke University assigns first-year students a book to read in the summer before they begin college. It’s a common practice in U.S. universities, and a good […]

On the hair-trigger sensitivity of today’s college students, and how to fix it

The cover story for the September issue of The Atlantic is a curious one, a long one, and well worth a read. “The coddling of the American mind” has two authors, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. Lukianoff is president of FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), and has done great work trying to […]

Dissertations for sale!

Being in academics all my life, I’ve of course heard of people who would, for a fee, do research for your undergraduate papers, or even write them for you. In fact, there are even sleazy online companies that sell pre-written papers on a diversity of topics. Pay your money, do no work, and you might […]

The University of Wisconsin: now with less truth seeking, more “workforce needs”

by Greg Mayer The University of Wisconsin—including the great “public ivy” research campus in Madison, the second doctoral campus in Milwaukee, and eleven comprehensive baccalaureate-masters campuses around the state—has long been inspired by the “Wisconsin Idea“, the notion that higher education exists to serve the public, improve the human condition, and seek the truth. This […]

Tanya Luhrmann and the decline of the New York Times

As newspapers throughout the U.S. go belly up, there are only a few—actually one—that still represent high-quality journalism. And that one is The New York Times. Yes, it is still the go-to paper if you want substance and intellectual viands, but it seems to me to be on the decline as well. The science pages […]

King’s College London comes to its senses, deep-sixes postgraduate theology curriculum

What a good feeling it is to see a university get rid of its theology courses! Religious history or comparative religion is fine; theology, not so much. If you want to teach about the properties of nonexistent objects, do it in a private divinity school or seminary. There’s simply no excuse for a public university […]

The 50 Smartest “People of faith”?

The Best Schools website, which I think is fairly well known for telling people where to study in a given area, has produced a list and description of “The 50 smartest people of faith.” And it’s dire. I’m not sure whether they simply haven’t looked hard enough to find smart religious people (they choose folks who […]

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