Education Has a Glock to Its Head

The immediate furor over Glock-gate at Mount St. Mary's University has died down, so it's an opportune moment to take the focus off this particular bunny-drowning president (who resigned as I was writing this), and to consider what's at stake at MSMU and beyond. The plight of the small liberal-arts college is well known. Hundreds of these colleges dot the map of America (at least its eastern half). Most of them are far more expensive »

Unjust Firings at Mount Saint Mary's

The president of Mount Saint Mary's University in Maryland made headlines recently when he used metaphors of drowning and execution to explain a new policy of culling academically weaker students from the first-year herd. "You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads." When faculty objected to this policy and this rhetoric, university president and former hedge fund manager Simon Newman summarily fired them, ignoring due process and tenure protections. Please »

Academic Freedom, Except When I Disagree

Former AAUP president Cary Nelson had some things to say about the case of Steven Salaita, recently fired from UIUC for criticizing Israel on social media. Since Nelson is known as one of the staunchest defenders of academic freedom against right-wing bogeymen like David Horowitz, one might have expected him to rush to Salaita’s defense. Alas, the mask has slipped, as Nelson’s commitment to academic freedom has proven less strong than his desire »

MOOCs and the Masses: Big Data and the Question of Access in Online Teaching

Much of the heat and light generated by recent conversations about the crisis in higher education has been forced through the prism of the “MOOC” (Massively Open Online Course). This has been especially the case during the last year, as the trade press has provided daily click bait to MOOC proponents and opponents alike. Rather than restate the various arguments for and against MOOCs, I want to focus on the Utopian claims made by the »

Critical Theory and the Current Crisis in Education

This is an English version of a paper presented in Portuguese in Campinas, Brazil, on September 16, 2010. Introduction Occupy everything! Dieser Hörshaal ist besetzt! ¡Huelga! Greve! These and many other slogans have been shouted on university campuses during this last year, a tumultuous one for many universities throughout the world, as students, workers, and professors have come together to protest the state of affairs in higher education. Although grounded in global economic tendencies, the »