Happy Black Friday, folks. Our fridge is now stuffed with leftover turkey and side dishes, and we’ll be warming up those leftovers for meals and snacks throughout the holiday weekend and into Monday’s lunchboxes. Turkey salad, anyone?
Speaking of things we’ll soon be sick of, here are five leftovers from the recent news cycle:
- Higher education is awash with hysteria. That might have helped elect trump. This is Washington Post columnist George Will’s latest screed against higher education and how academia’s presumed emphasis on political correctness over academic rigor has resulted in a backlash that helped pave the way for a Donald Trump presidency. “Academia should consider how it contributed to, and reflects Americans’ judgments pertinent to, Donald Trump’s election,” Will writes. “The compound of childishness and condescension radiating from campuses is a reminder to normal Americans of the decay of protected classes — in this case, tenured faculty and cosseted students.” There’s much to not like in this op-ed, but it’s classic George Will, cherry-picking the worst examples from headlines over the past several months to reinforce his scornful argument. After you read Will’s jeremiad, be sure to read this excellent response from an English professor at the University of Maryland.
- Meanwhile, over at The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jack Stripling addressed the higher ed-election connection in a more objective fashion. In A Humbling of Higher Ed (subscription required), Stripling analyzes how Trump “rode a rising wave of resentment toward the elitism and insularity that higher education is often thought to represent. … Trump’s call to ‘Make America Great Again’ was just vague enough to invite interpretation. But many scholars heard it as a summons to turn back the clock to a time before their ideas about diversity and inclusivity were cemented into the policies and strategic plans of universities across the nation.”
- 5 Things to Know about Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Pick for Education Secretary — via The Atlantic — tells us something about the billionaire philanthropist’s views on school choice at the pre-college level, but nothing about higher education. Once again, we must turn to The Chronicle of Higher Education for any read. The Chronicle (in a story that is, unfortunately, still behind a paywall) does share some speculation about what the DeVos appointment could mean for higher education. Essentially, there isn’t much to report because she has expressed little interest in higher education. In her new role, however, she will “be taking over a hugely bureaucratic lending company — with lots of regulatory power — that on a day-to-day basis could prove to be a far greater burden than she expected.” (By the way, I can’t recall so much buzz about an education secretary nominee since Bill Bennett, who served under President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.)
- What Is Faculty Diversity Worth to a University? A good question posed by Patricia A. Matthew, a professor of color, in The Atlantic. In the wake of racial tensions on campuses after the presidential elections, students again are calling for more racial diversity among the faculty. In this essay, Matthew examines the value of faculty members’ “diversity work” to college administrators. She writes: “Those like me who pay attention to diversity in higher education call this work “invisible labor” — not because no one sees it but because institutions don’t value it with the currency they typically use to reward faculty work: reappointment, tenure, and promotion. Chances are a faculty member of color is not going to get a sabbatical or a grant from her institution because she contributes to the diversity mission her university probably has posted somewhere on its website. She certainly isn’t going to get tenure for it.”
- Media rankings don’t address crucial qualities of universities. This op-ed by Kim A. Wilcox, chancellor of the University of California Riverside, appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune and urges students (as if any of them are reading a newspaper) to “not to look at higher education rankings systems that emphasize reputation, acceptance rates and alumni giving.” Instead, Wilcox writes, “keep your eye on rankings that rely upon a different set of numbers: Namely, graduation and retention rates. That’s because the current trends in enrolling and graduating low-income and minority students threaten social justice in higher education.”
Bonus link: 8 creative ways to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers — for all you pragmatists out there.
Enjoy the leftovers!
Image via Flickr.