Frank Donoghue, The Last Professors. The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities. New York: Fordham University Press, 2008.
A number of books have come out in the last decade addressing the current state of our profession and prophesying about its future. Rarely is the foreseen future an encouraging one, especially for those of us who do our professing in the humanities. Reading The Last Professors, one of the more influential of the recent crop, was like jumping into a cold pond on a morning in late October—bracing enough to wake you up fast, but not shocking enough to kill your spirit completely.
According to Donoghue—and, unfortunately, this book’s claims are well documented—things look grim out there for the future of Ph.D.’s in traditional humanities departments. The tenure system is eroding quickly; for-profit universities, which rarely offer their clients a non-technical course beyond English 101, are on the rise; only 16% of today’s students fall into the traditional age bracket (18-22 years old); less than 10% of undergraduates today major in any of the humanities.
Head over to the Office of Community-Based Learning’s blog to see posts by students in Prof. Angela Paradise’s Mediated Communication Theory course.
The students in this senior capstone course are working at the Davis Commons to teach the kids there about media literacy. Different students from the class have been posting to the CBL blog about their experiences:
We sparked more conversation as we showed other clips; these discussions were based on the research we covered in our CO419 class about “high risk” and “low risk” depictions of media violence. Such high-risk depictions of media violence can potentially lead to three negative outcomes (the learning of aggression, desensitization, and fear) among audience members. We showed clips where violence was rewarded and where it was punished. By the end of the lesson, the kids were telling us about desensitization (one of the three documented effects of media violence exposure) and how they see it in their schools and communities. At this point, it was clear to us that they not only understood what we were conveying but they completely comprehended and were then able to apply the lesson to their own lives. Another successful day at Davis Commons!
Read the full blog posts at the Office of Community-Based Learning blog.
Thanks to Professor Sue Mooney for pointing out this recent posting by Rick Reis to the Tomorrow’s Professor Mailing List that challenges some of our “Dysfunctional Illusions of Rigor” that we bring to the classroom.
The three primary “illusions” about rigor that Reis identifies are:
- Hard courses weed out weak students. When students fail it is primarily due to inability, weak preparation, or lack of effort.
- Traditional methods of instruction offer effective ways of teaching content to undergraduates. Modes that pamper students teach less.
- Massive grade inflation is a corruption of standards. Unusually high average grades are the result of faculty giving unjustified grades.
Read the full post here.
Join Jan Harrison, Manager of Instructional Technology, for our third “Faculty Showcase” on Wednesday, December 15 from 9:00 – 11:30 am in Duffy 214. Continental breakfast will be served.
The morning will feature presentations by Stonehill faculty on the creative and innovative ways they are using technology to further their teaching and learning goals:
- Brian Glibkowski- Learning Theories and Technology
- Lincoln Craton- Online Assessment Success
- Jack Jackson- Student Videos in eLearn
- Chris Poirier- Student Response Systems
- Dick Gariepy- Sharing Course Information
Contact Jan for more information.