Welcome back! With the new semester underway, check out “The Coddling of the American Mind,” the new Atlantic cover story that’s been generating plenty of buzz, along with some helpful tips to get your school year off to a great start.
Have students gone too far in their demands to be protected from offensive or emotionally troubling speech? The authors of the essay on this hotly debated topic believe so. Citing a rash of incidents in which students have insisted that “offensive” books, ideas, and speakers be banned from campus, they argue that, in caving to students’ demands, universities are curbing academic freedom. What’s more, they say, such sheltering is detrimental to students’ thought patterns and mental health.
The Atlantic, September 2015 issue.
Academic committee meetings often aren’t very effective. But by borrowing a few ideas from the corporate world, you can make meetings far less painful. Some things to try include: keeping committees small and streamlined; having “working meetings” instead of meetings whose purpose is just to distribute information; and not letting anyone leave a meeting without action items to work on.
Inside Higher Ed, Aug. 14.
Frustrated by the way students kept arriving late to her classes, one professor asked them what would convince them to get to class on time. They recommended calling out late students, giving surprise extra credit assignments in the first few minutes of the period, and making class more entertaining, but said they resented surprise quizzes. Here’s how she used their feedback to encourage punctuality.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 5.
Many people still picture professors as 60-something white men with glasses, typically bearded and wearing tweed. As a result, professors who don’t conform to this image are often mistaken for students or staff. But, as the pictures accompanying the Twitter hashtag #ILookLikeAProfessor prove, faculty are a diverse bunch—and some even prefer silver shoes and heavy metal T-shirts to tweed.
Mashable, Aug. 11.
It’s no secret that college administrators are typically well paid, but their benefits are also pretty plush. As a recent survey found, more than 70% of college presidents get free cars or car allowances. Other common perks include housing allowances, free country club dues, bonuses, and severance pay. These benefits have come under greater scrutiny lately given the focus on rising college costs and student loan debt.
The Hechinger Report, Aug. 5.