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Category: Academia

Still Plan B

Anthony T. Grafton and Jim Grossman published No More Plan B which ostensibly called upon historians to open their perspectives about graduate education in October 2011. In July 2013, the AHA Council approved a statement discouraging participation in Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs). I’ve cherry picked some quotes and mashed them up in conversation with each other to demonstrate the deeply conflicting stances of an organization that proclaims non-tenure track scholarly activities to no longer be a second tier while also recommending a policy in regards to graduate education supported only by their assumptions of the impact on… Read Still Plan B

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HIMYM: A sitcom for historians

Nobody takes an intro class to get on any other path but the path to not being hungover anymore -Marshall Eriksen While How I Met Your Mother‘s stance on 100-level classes might not please academics, it is the ultimate sitcom for historians. The entire show is an oral history of a father’s life up until meeting his children’s mother. The show takes advantage of this format for comedic and occasionally dramatic effect, in the process revealing several fundamentals of the craft of history. Memory and Unreliable Narrators One of my favorite gags in the show is the narrator’s inability to… Read HIMYM: A sitcom for historians

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Finding Contentment

I was recently thinking about the rhetoric of love within academia that William Pannapacker describes while I was reading Leo Babauta’s The Little Book of Contentment (it’s free online). It’s a nice easy read and some of its main points are particularly useful for academics to keep in mind: The key problems associated with discontent: 1. An ideal/fantasy we are holding onto. 2. Unhappiness with who we are. 3. Lack of trust/confidence in ourselves. 4. Seeking happiness externally. Adopting a rhetoric of love makes academics much more disposed to fall victim to discontent associated with holding onto an ideal/fantasy and… Read Finding Contentment

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Steve Nash’s MOOC

I’m a mediocre pick up basketball player that is in below average to poor shape. I’m not the first pick in the draft or even the first pick on the playground. Steve Nash is a two time MVP of the NBA. Steve Nash can teach you basketball better than I can……all things being equal. But things aren’t equal. Steve Nash will sell you this instructional DVD while I will walk out on a court and interact with you in person. Now if you think this is an unfair comparison, consider how many youth coaches there are teaching kids how to… Read Steve Nash’s MOOC

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UNL Job Data

Ask and ye shall receive Dr. Pannapacker: Okay, it might not be exactly what he asked for, but I took the titles on the history department’s placement data provided for 2003-2004 through 2011-2012 graduation classes and the Proquest database of dissertations (for the listed advisor) to examine the placement of UNL’s recent PhD graduates (You can check my work here). What I found was that there were almost equal numbers of tenure-track placements as non-tenure track academic (14 assistant/associate professors vs 15 adjunct/lecturer/visiting assistant professor/resident assistant professor at Creighton). In addition to these placements, three graduates work in government positions,… Read UNL Job Data


Value of the Humanities

I’m glad to see the AHA has taken to rounding up links to articles that defend the humanities. As budgets get crunched, humanists must assert their position and reaffirm their importance in modern society. It’s a work in progress, so I hope this blog post looks laughably outdated in a short amount of time. But what struck me was the disproportionate amount of works in higher ed news sources. Yes, we should defend the humanities to our peers and administrators, but don’t we have an obligation, if the humanities truly are a benefit to society, to make sure all of… Read Value of the Humanities

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The Art and Craft of History

A while back, probably months at this point, I tore a bit of an article out about the artist Ken Price. What struck me was his quote, “A craftsman knows what he’s going to make, and an artist doesn’t know what he’s going to make.” The craftsman part of the quote stuck with me because I read The Historian’s Toolbox: A Student’s Guide to the Theory and Craft of History as an undergrad. The image of history as a craft has appealed to me since then. Historians hone and perfect historical thinking and writing. Graduate school even functions, in part,… Read The Art and Craft of History

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Saying Goodbye to Facebook

About a month ago I shut down my Facebook account after over six years of use. Before doing so, I downloaded all my posts and had to smile when I read my first post on Facebook, given I had just shut the account down. happy fuckers? i’ve conformed to a necessary evil. (Apologies for the profanity, I was young) However, the fact was that as a college freshmen before the social media explosion, Facebook was a bit of a social necessity. A few year later though, I can tweet, text, email, or god-forbid call, one of my family members or… Read Saying Goodbye to Facebook


New Academic Year’s Resolution

Much like my New Year’s resolutions, I don’t achieve most of my New Academic Year resolutions. The hope is that something good comes out of having goals even if the goals are not achieved. Well many of last year‘s goals were not achieved, but I did have a productive year in terms of presenting at conferences. I gave two conference papers, a conference poster, applied to two others (one rejection and the UHA which I’ll attend this October). With the understanding that most goals won’t be individual success but the hope that they’ll be an overall success similar to last… Read New Academic Year’s Resolution

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The Stupid Student Problem Part I

Undergraduates taking survey courses are stupid. Well, when compared to their instructors (professors, grad students, people who already have BAs, Mas, and PhDs). As teachers, we devote our professional lives to our subject area, but this one class students take freshman or sophomore year might be the only exposure they get to it. We know this. We know novices aren’t as skilled as experts and we say we adjust our expectations. We also like to complain about our students. They sleep in class. They skip class. They don’t do the readying. They don’t study. They don’t pay attention. They don’t… Read The Stupid Student Problem Part I