Recognizing Advisors

Advisors empower students to make life-altering decisions for themselves, armed with the best possible information. On Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 I had the opportunity to speak at the first annual MSU Advisor Recognition Ceremony. Advising is a unique academic role on campus: in this role, advisors need to carefully balance giving students accurate and realistic …

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MSU Students Do Microfinance

Several years ago, I found out about Kiva.org, an online “microfinance” site where individuals can make small loans ($25 is the standard increment at Kiva) to entrepreneurs in low income settings. The entrepreneurs actually apply for larger amounts, which they typically receive from third-party “field partners”. The entrepreneurs repay the loans with interest to the …

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Research Proposal Season

It is definitely true that proposal writing, editing, and evaluation are skills that can be developed over time. I say that with just a N=1 (me), but I’ve seen it amongst others, too, and several mentors have suggested as much. So how do you advise a student writing their first research proposal, particularly if they’re …

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When “Wee” Present

It’s enough to prepare your own presentation for conferences, but it’s another to help students prepare. In addition to the normal mechanics of what a presentation should look/sound like, there are also conference jitters. This can affect how strongly students ‘engage’ and what they take away from the conference experience. To help your students have …

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Free Harvard, Fair Harvard: Harvard Magazine and CNN coverage

We are rapidly approaching the February 1 deadline for petition signatures supporting our Free Harvard, Fair Harvard (FHFH) campaign. Two articles just appeared concerning the campaign. Harvard Magazine’s Overseers Petitioners Challenge Harvard Policies contains a thorough and lengthy review of the issues. After a quick read, I have two specific comments. 1. The author seems unaware …

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Free Harvard, Fair Harvard

As described in the NYTimes article below, I am part of a five person slate running for Harvard’s Board of Overseers. The main organizer is Ron Unz, and the best known individual on our team is Ralph Nader. The others are Lee C. Cheng, chief legal counsel for the online electronics retailer Newegg.com, and Stuart …

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Microaggressions, Moral Cultures, and the Culture of Victimhood

Two sociologists theorize the campus culture of victimhood as a transition to a third moral culture, supplanting earlier cultures centered around honor and dignity. Their theory gives a possible explanation for why a well-meaning liberal like Yale Professor Christakis has such difficulty communicating with protestors in the videos above. Christakis is focused on logic, rationality, …

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Badges Redux

It’s 5:37 as I write this. Getting late in the day for a blog this Sunday in May. And I’m tired. … Tired of playing the game… Ain’t it a shame? I’m soo tired….Dammit I’m exhausted! Those are about the only lyrics I feel good about quoting from Madeline Kahn’s send-up of Marlene Dietrich. I’ve …

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Rigorous inequalities

  The Effects of an Anti-grade-Inflation Policy at Wellesley College Journal of Economic Perspectives, 28(3): 189-204 (2014) DOI: 10.1257/jep.28.3.189 Average grades in colleges and universities have risen markedly since the 1960s. Critics express concern that grade inflation erodes incentives for students to learn; gives students, employers, and graduate schools poor information on absolute and relative …

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Seasons and Veritas

Harvard graduates explain why we have seasons. If only their understanding matched their confidence. See also Why is it dark at night?  ,  Inside HBS: “kill, f^^k or marry”  ,  Frauds!  and High V, Low M: … high verbal ability is useful for appearing to be smart, or for winning arguments and impressing other people, …

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JSTOR Daily and Hookups

Looks like an interesting new magazine: JSTOR Daily provides insight, commentary, and analysis of ideas, research, and current events, tapping into the rich library of scholarship on JSTOR. (For non-academics, JSTOR is an online journal repository.) Here’s an article from the new magazine: JSTOR Daily: CAMPUS HOOKUP CULTURE: MYTH VS. REALTY The out-of-control hookup culture on …

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Excellent Sheep and Chinese Americans

Two recent podcasts I recommend. I disagree with Deresiewicz on many points (see my comments on Steve Pinker’s response here and here), but the discussion is worth a listen. Do the Best Colleges Produce the Worst Students? As schools shift focus from the humanities to “practical” subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think …

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Harvard admissions and meritocracy

Motivated by Steve Pinker’s recent article The Trouble With Harvard (see my comments here), Ephblog drills down on Harvard admissions. The question is just how far Harvard deviates from Pinker’s ideal of selecting the entire class based on intellectual ability. Others raised similar questions, as evidenced by, e.g., the very first comment that appeared on …

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What is best for Harvard

If you haven’t read Steve Pinker’s The Trouble With Harvard in The New Republic, I highly recommend it. … Like many observers of American universities, I used to believe the following story. Once upon a time Harvard was a finishing school for the plutocracy, where preppies and Kennedy scions earned gentleman’s Cs while playing football, …

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Back to school . . .

It’s back-to-school time for approximately 55 million children and 20 million college students around the country.  For those of us who are educators, it’s an exhilarating – and at times exhausting – time of the year.  Teachers have been busy getting their classrooms ready for the new school year, and college faculty have been working …

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On information seeking report

The Project Information Literacy released their research report titled “Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age” in 2009.  The PDF report can be found at http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_Fall2009_Year1Report_12_2009.pdf. What makes this report interesting is that the group also try to dig deeper on how students developed their strategy in their information needs both …

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How to Lead as a Follower

  I know there’s always a lot of talk about leadership. But I’ve always been enamored with people who seem to be great followers. And I’m not talking about the folks who just say “Yes, sir” and “Yes, m’am” to their boss at every turn. I’m talking about the middle-management employees, young professionals, and the …

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Intervention and Replication

This article describes surprisingly effective interventions that improve college success rates for low SES/SAT students. Let’s hope they can be broadly replicated. NYTimes: … Laude was hopeful that the small classes would make a difference, but he recognized that small classes alone wouldn’t overcome that 200-point SAT gap. “We weren’t naïve enough to think they …

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A Celebratory Weekend

This past weekend marked MSU’s commencement ceremonies, with over 9,000 students across the university receiving degrees (including those graduating both this spring and summer).  There are a number of different ceremonies, and the College of Education was well represented across many of them. The weekend started on Friday morning when we held the college’s Doctoral …

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Student Referrals: How and When

Many of us regularly refer students to different university services. Without batting an eye, I’ve encouraged students to visit the University Writing Center, to set up a meeting with a subject librarian, or to see a tutor in the English Language Center. These fantastic services can offer more specialized attention than I am able to give, …

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