Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Higher Ed Briefs

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* The U.S. Army announced Friday that it will freeze all new applications for service members’ tuition assistance, temporarily eliminating a much relied-on program for soldiers and sending universities scrambling to identify alternative sources of funding for their students.

* How much does it cost to do an academic job search? This one seems to be behind a paywall, alas.

Ms. Finn first went on the market in 2009, a year before defending her dissertation, which she published as a book with Palgrave Macmillan last year. She has now been looking for a tenure-track job for four years. In that time she has applied for a total of 75 academic positions and spent more than $2,000. She has paid for postage, transcripts, several years of graduate-student membership in the Modern Language Association, and costs associated with attending the group’s conferences four times. Her tab also includes $39.90 to set up a three-year account with Interfolio, a popular online dossier-management service. To date, she has spent $365 for the service to transmit her application materials to scores of institutions.

There has been no payoff in terms of offers of a tenure-track job, visiting-professor position, or postdoctoral fellowship. Instead, Ms. Finn, who has taught as an adjunct at three universities, is unemployed, still on the job market, and trying to keep up with her research.

“I feel exhausted,” she says, “and as though I am throwing money into a gigantic hole.” She doesn’t regret graduate school, she adds, but “my wallet and credit score regret it.”

* Pop goes the law school bubble.

Who’s Assessing the Assessors’ Assessors?

Yet the mavens of outcomes assessment do exactly the wrong thing—they pretend to have some other method that is the royal road to truth when, prey to the same doubts, it is no more than the path to ignorance.

By sophomore year Evan was sleeping on a blowup mattress in an empty house off campus. He had no bed. No furniture. No posters or mini-fridge or shelf fraught with textbooks. He had no friends. He had sold the former, severed ties with latter, and now spent his hours curled up on an Aerobed until his dealer came through. The Existential Pain of Being Young, White, and Affluent.

* Harvard Search of E-Mail Stuns Its Faculty Members. Every aspect of this Harvard cheating scandal is so bizarre. Is there any reason to think such a high percentage of students—much less high-achieving Ivy Leaguers—would have cheated on a well-designed assignment with clear rules? Just call it even and be done with it.

* And UW admits by the numbers. Interesting to see how much has changed since 2000.

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