Tagfaculty

The NFL player moonlighting as an Ivy League professor

Brandon Copeland is not a typical Ivy League professor. He packs 263 pounds of lean muscle onto a 6-foot-3 frame, doesn’t wear much tweed and moonlights as starting linebacker in the National Football League. Nor is Copeland a typical NFL player. A 2013 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, he signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent after graduation...

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 to...

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 January or another sabbatical for two...

He’s a Professor of Bhang, not a drug dealer!

Why, oh why, won’t the cops leave us alone? The life of an academic is tough enough already. I’m curious where he received his PhD. Are they hiring? A 46 -year-old man was arraigned in court after he was allegedly found with 25 rolls of bhang. Police said they arrested Ibrahim Mutuku with bhang valued at Sh500 on September 5 in Nairobi’s Highrise estate. The suspect however stunned...

Academics are nasty: dinosaur edition

The author seems surprised at how nasty academics are; clearly she has never worked with faculty. Good read about a scientist’s persistence with her research: Keller’s resistance has put her at the core of one of the most rancorous and longest-running controversies in science. “It’s like the Thirty Years’ War,” says Kirk Johnson, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural...

Why faculty are so miserable

Raj Raghunathan: If you take the need for mastery—the need for competence—there are two broad approaches that one can take to becoming very good at something. One approach is to engage in what people call social comparisons. That is, wanting to be the best at doing something: “I want to be the best professor there is,” or something like that. There are many problems with that, but one big problem...

Why are professors “poorly paid”?

As an aside, his analysis of American Time Use Survey diary data demonstrates those lazy professors work almost 50 hours a week during the academic year, and 40 hours a week during the summer (see his Table 2). I have documented a large pay disadvantage of academics behind otherwise identical doctorate-holders. Part of this disadvantage is a compensating pay differential arising from the more...

The political affiliation of college faculty

This guy actually tracked down the party registrations of almost 9,000 faculty members! Interestingly, he finds almost a quarter of faculty at liberal arts colleges aren’t registered to vote. If you assume these individuals are relatively apolitical, then the numbers would look quite a bit different. These are ratios of registered Democrats to Republicans: According to this graph, if you...

Why everyone hates faculty meetings (except dept. heads and lickspittles)

One eternal problem has been their inefficiency. In 1957, C. Northcote Parkinson, an academic and legendary writer on management, came up with the law of triviality, that “the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum [of money] involved.” In that same spirit, this columnist would like to propose an even broader principle, applying to gatherings of ten people...

Faculty respond to incentives; who would have guessed?

National policies take varied approaches to encouraging university-based innovation. This paper studies a natural experiment: the end of the “professor’s privilege” in Norway, where university researchers previously enjoyed full rights to their innovations. Upon the reform, Norway moved toward the typical US model, where the university holds majority rights. Using comprehensive data on Norwegian...

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Stephen

Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

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