Teachers don’t find educational research relevant

Depressing but not surprising. From the Director of IES: For starters, many teachers view research as a search for bright shiny objects pushed by administrators without adequate attention to the needs and skills of teachers. Many told us they felt that their professional knowledge is all too often neglected in education research and, to use…

Academia is a cult

I “blew out” of the cult — to use its own lingo for leaving — after my senior year to attend a Catholic university 20 miles away. I still read the Apostle Paul, but Jane Austen and James Joyce, too. Then I earned a PhD in English at the University of Minnesota, where I rehearsed…

Sarah Lawrence students demand professor be stripped of tenure and fired for writing a NYT op-ed

Here is the horrifying op-ed: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/opinion/liberal-college-administrators.html After penning an op-ed for The New York Times decrying the ideological homogeneity of his campus administration, a conservative-leaning professor at Sarah Lawrence College discovered intimidating messages—including demands that he quit his job—on the door of his office. […] In the two weeks since the incident, Samuel Abrams, a…

How academic mobbing works

Kenneth Westhues, professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo, himself a victim of such a campaign, devoted himself to the topic for decades. In his 2006 book, The Envy of Excellence: Administrative Mobbing of High-Achieving Professors, Westhues developed a list of criteria to identify true mobbing. Amongst them: The target is popular and high-achieving. Mediocre performers tend not…

Professor disciplined because he didn’t write a reference letter!

So what happens if he agrees to write a letter, but the language is less-than-stellar? Is that verboten? And what about getting in trouble for writing a reference letter? John Cheney-Lippold, a tenured American and digital studies associate professor, will not get a merit raise during the 2018-19 academic year and can’t go on his upcoming sabbatical in…

Can we make fair algorithms?

In some ways, artificial intelligence acts like a mirror. Machine learning tools are designed to detect patterns, and they often reflect back the same biases we already know exist in our culture. Algorithms can be sexist, racist, and perpetuate other structural inequalities found in society. But unlike humans, algorithms aren’t under any obligation to explain…

Are there too many PhDs?

Apparently, 90% of all scientists that ever lived are alive today. And many of them need jobs! https://futureoflife.org/2015/11/05/90-of-all-the-scientists-that-ever-lived-are-alive-today      

Uber is an economics research powerhouse

Like Yahoo and Google, Uber offers access to the kind of data that, as recently as 10 years ago, an economist could only dream of. Uber’s more than 3 million drivers provide roughly 15 million trips, globally, every day. Uber’s researchers can test vital questions about driver pay, customer satisfaction, and urban transit with tiny…

Amazon’s AI recruiting tool discriminated against women

The explanation for what happened seems odd; a preponderance of males in a field would not necessarily result in an algorithm that discriminates against women. This is the problem with machine learning; it really can be a black box. Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) machine-learning specialists uncovered a big problem: their new recruiting engine did not like…