Posts Tagged ‘academy’


Many faculty members in Texas are opposed to SB 11, also known as the “campus carry” law [ht: sm]. The law, which was signed in June by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, provides that license holders may carry concealed handguns in university buildings and classrooms, extending the reach of a previous law that allowed concealed handguns on university grounds.

One of them has now taken his opposition to the law a step further.

A longtime economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin is leaving the school, saying  the state’s new campus carry law — which makes it legal for some Texans to carry concealed handguns into college classrooms beginning next August — has “substantially enhanced” the chances of a shooting.

“With a huge group of students my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law,” economics professor emeritus Daniel Hamermesh, who has been at UT since the mid-90s, wrote in a letter announcing his departure. “Out of self-protection I have chosen to spend part of next Fall at the University of Sydney, where, among other things, this risk seems lower.”


According to a new report by the Education Trust, the national graduation rate for Pell Grant recipients attending public and nonprofit private colleges and universities is considerably lower than the completion rate of non-Pell recipients: while almost 65 percent of non-Pell recipients graduate in six years, only half of Pell students leave with a bachelor’s degree in the same time frame.

This 14-point gap (which can be seen in Figure 1 above) is much larger than the average gap (of 5.7 percent) between Pell and non-Pell students who attend the same institution (see Figure 2).

How is this possible? This occurs because the national gap is more than the product of all the individual completion gaps between Pell and non-Pell students at colleges and universities. The national gap is also a byproduct of which institutions students attend, with Pell students much more likely to attend institutions with lower graduation rates for all students, and much less likely to attend institutions that graduate most of their students.


The Education Trust refers to the university where I teach as “an ‘engine of inequality’ because very few students come from working-class and low-income family backgrounds, and it falls in the bottom 5% of all four-year colleges nationwide for its extraordinarily low enrollment of freshmen who receive Pell Grants, a type of federal financial aid for low-income students. This college is not very socioeconomically diverse.”


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Devil’s dung

Posted: 10 July 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,


Pope Francis’s recent references to money as the “dung of the devil” (or, alternatively, the “devil’s dung“) brought to mind lots of different references (from the etymology of dung in terms of different classes of workers to Freud’s tale of the devil whose gifts of money turn to excrement upon his leaving).

But, at the suggestion of a friend [ht: ja], I also began to imagine how we might retitle basic economics courses in a Catholic university. Consider the following:

Econ 101—Mephistopheles’ Market Manure

Econ 102:—Satanic Sewers of National Economies

or just get right to the point,

all intro-level courses—Beezelbub’s Bourgeois Bullshit

Any other suggestions?


The American Association of University Professors voted overwhelmingly Saturday to censure the administration of the University of Southern Maine for the Draconian budget cuts it imposed this past year.

Summarizing an earlier report on the ongoing academic shakeup at Southern Maine, Committee A’s censure recommendation accused the university of disregarding both AAUP and its own policies regarding circumstances under which programs can be closed down. The university slashed four academic programs — several of which AAUP and local businesses argued were key to the area’s culture and economy — and eliminated more than 50 tenured and nontenured faculty positions without declaring financial exigency.

“Also striking was the fact that these programs were canceled in midyear and that no provisions were made for students remaining in the programs to complete their courses of study,” in violation of standards set by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the university’s accrediting body, Committee A said in its censure recommendation.

No one defended Southern Maine’s actions — which the university has attributed to its desire to become a “metropolitan university” and to significant budget cuts — and the motion passed nearly unanimously.


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