Each Against All: Neoliberalism and Higher Education, Part 2

[Click here to read Part One]

In the 1970s, neoliberalism came into its own as a coherent ideological platform and political-economic policy toolkit. As politicians, economists, and intellectuals struggled to explain both the causes of their present crisis and propose solutions for it, “an entirely new breed of liberals sought a way forward by reviving the old doctrine of classical liberalism under the novel conditions of globalization.”[1] The emergence of neoliberalism and its rapid ascent to hegemonic status in the 1970s, then, represents a watershed historical moment, the significance of which we are only now really beginning to grasp. Continue reading “Each Against All: Neoliberalism and Higher Education, Part 2”

  1. [1] Manfred B. Steger and Ravi K. Roy, Neoliberalism: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 9

How Is It “Being Silenced” When You Won’t Shut Up About It?

A pernicious conspiracy against The Truth™ exists in higher education, riddled as it is with politically-correct snowflakes unable to reckon with the cold hard facts of science.  If it weren’t for the Leftist-Socialist-Cultural Marxist-SJW frauds masquerading as “experts,” our students would be learning the true and actual nature of geophysics, beginning with the reality that our world is flat. Big Globe has infected our physics, geology, and geography departments with the idea that the Earth is a sphere, hurtling through space alongside other round objects, somehow tethered to the Sun. That’s only what They want you to believe, though. Those of us brave truth-tellers whom The Academy is trying to suppress can prove that the Earth is actually a disc, hurtling upwards through the cosmos, propelled by Dark Matter energy.  The peer-review process has been thoroughly corrupted by these charlatans, the professoriate is stacked against us, and Clinton Foundation money fuels these purportedly “scientific” journals claiming to “debunk” our work. What higher education needs, then, is a Revolution! We need laws to guarantee Flat-Earth teaching is part of the curriculum, and mandates to ensure our students receive a thorough grounding in Flat-Eartherism so they can reason for themselves in the Marketplace of Ideas—which is a Free Market, by god.

Well, except for the whole curricular-mandate thing. Continue reading “How Is It “Being Silenced” When You Won’t Shut Up About It?”

Pedagogy is not a Weapon: Defending Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces

[CW: discussion of sexual assault, trauma]

Ever since Socrates upbraided his followers in the Agora, there has been a strong tradition among educators to bitch about students and/or their various foibles. We all do it, and there’s no denying that this type of venting can serve a valuable purpose, if kept to the private and confidential realm of office talks or water-cooler chatter with colleagues. But student-shaming has moved beyond the confines of faculty lounge venting and become a cottage industry of sorts, as the past few years have shown that it can pay to be an educator with pissed-off hot takes about Kids These Days™.

Continue reading “Pedagogy is not a Weapon: Defending Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces”

Flashback: Let Them Eat (Unbundled) Cake!

Oh, look–the “unbundling” folks are back at it, with a spate of recent articles in edtech and “edupreneur” sites dredging up the idea of finding “efficiencies” by stripping off certain components from the “process” of college/university education to make learning (which they define exclusively as degree completion, which should tell you something) more “streamlined.” Josh Kim has a good piece up today on Inside Higher Ed that pushes back against this “unbundling” fetish, rightly suggesting that it will do no more than exacerbate the divide between the privileged and everyone else. But this isn’t a new criticism of “unbundling.” We rail against Bryan Caplan’s blithe lack of self-awareness and is wrongheaded screeds “Against Education,” but let’s not forget that the disruption crowd has been riding this unbundling horse for a while. In fact, yours truly railed against this very trend three years ago, so instead of writing another rage-blog, I’ve decided to repost the original essay. The fact that it is still relevant today is a gloomy reflection on the state of higher education reformism. Continue reading “Flashback: Let Them Eat (Unbundled) Cake!”

Lecture-Based Pedagogy and the Pitfalls of Expertise

Every few months, higher education is witness to a curious ritual where one’s stance on particular pedagogical issues assumes an affect of Calvinist-style salvation or damnation. You can set your watch by the recurring debate over laptops in the classroom. And when that particular vein of argument is exhausted for the time being, the blood feud between the proponents of lecture-based pedagogy and active learning rears up to keep the sharks-and-jets mood alive. Continue reading “Lecture-Based Pedagogy and the Pitfalls of Expertise”

Who Chose to Fail?

There are two articles in the most recent issue of the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History that clearly demonstrate that we academic historians have failed-consistently and spectacularly-in one of our most essential undertakings. For all the talk about making History accessible to a broader public, the value of historical literacy for an educated citizenry and the health of a democracy, we have failed, and seem determined to continue that failure, to provide an adequate grounding in History to one of our main constituencies: college students. Continue reading “Who Chose to Fail?”