A Brief History of the Study of Religion at the University of Tennessee

I wrote this history of changes in the academic study of religion at the University of Tennessee: both macro changes in the climate where we worked and internal transformations within that climate.   The department faculty voted not to publish it, so I am posting it here.  I do so primarily to share the fruits of my labor with … Continue reading A Brief History of the Study of Religion at the University of Tennessee

Dog Park Sex and the Bankruptcy of “Refereed versus Non-Refereed” for Measuring Value

In my last post, I argued that “refereed” does not equal good, nor “non-refereed” bad—but rather the continuum “refereed or not” and the continuum “quality scholarship or not” (alongside other continua) are independent variables with approximately random correlation, at least in the scholarly networks where I work. I did not expect slam dunk support from … Continue reading Dog Park Sex and the Bankruptcy of “Refereed versus Non-Refereed” for Measuring Value

Why Measures of Scholarly Work are Anti-Intellectual and Basically Random With Respect to Incentivizing Quality

I should not be writing this! I absolutely have better things to do, by almost any measure. Yet I have been asked to clarify which of my publications are “refereed” and which not. Unless I decide simply to resign, which among other things would entail leaving my current students in the lurch, I cannot entirely … Continue reading Why Measures of Scholarly Work are Anti-Intellectual and Basically Random With Respect to Incentivizing Quality

“Assessment” Continued: Academic Success Vs. Health and Well-Being

This is day 40 or more (depending on how one counts) of a major strike in British universities, which has been nearly ignored by the news. (This and this are exceptions to the rule.) It is also day four or more (depending on how one counts) in the aftermath of an attack on tenure at my … Continue reading “Assessment” Continued: Academic Success Vs. Health and Well-Being

Assessment Part II: Drones Vs. Teachers, Prisons Vs. Students, and Universities Vs. Another Tax Subsidized Hockey Stadium

I hope I was clear in my last post, and in any case it bears repeating, that the logic of “assessment” is not tied narrowly to “student outcomes.” There are many levels: Teaching—not just classroom dynamics and teaching evaluations, but also determining curricula. This includes balancing resources across departments. levels (undergraduate vs. graduate), and colleges … Continue reading Assessment Part II: Drones Vs. Teachers, Prisons Vs. Students, and Universities Vs. Another Tax Subsidized Hockey Stadium

“Assessment”: Turning the Precious Public Resource of a University Into a Second-Rate High School

Yesterday I read this piece in the New York Times by Molly Worthen. Then I made the mistake of reading the comments thread, which included a fair amount of vitriol against supposedly lazy and irresponsible college teachers. Overall the comments were a mixed bag of support and critique—understandably, since questions about the purposes and standards … Continue reading “Assessment”: Turning the Precious Public Resource of a University Into a Second-Rate High School

Why are Religious Leftists Building Luxury Condominiums Outside My Window, and How Can I Be Defending Them?

The flagship institution of politically righteous left-wing Protestants is building luxury condominiums on the Upper West Side of Manhattan! It sounds like a bad joke—or at least a perfect opening for haters to recycle their repertoire of insults. And on top of this they are working on the construction directly outside my window. Literally, workers … Continue reading Why are Religious Leftists Building Luxury Condominiums Outside My Window, and How Can I Be Defending Them?