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Combat Philosopher comes out shooting

May 11, 2006

“Combat Philosopher” comes out shooting

Yes, I accused professor zero of attacking me instead of giving credence to my ideas.  I stand by that.  If you disagree, then illustrate your reasons (ENG101).  In fact, I too was engaged in pz’s scholarly investigation.  In fact, my questions were not intended to be belligerent at all, but more inclined to offer some help in exploring the methods of identifying/quantifying “scholarlyness.”  His/her examples, up to that point, were anecdotal, and the story of going to a prof’s office with whom she had no classes and getting assistance, as I pointed out, showed more of a “teachingness” than a “scholarlyness” (albeit the prof seems to have been both).  I then gave my own anecdotal account of an interaction between two scholars (leaders in their fields, published and respected) who demonstrated that one can be a scholar and not a teacher.  One illumed his ideas, the other (taking a decent amount of time to do so) pushed off the inquiry dismissively.  

In reviewing the original post, I see that pz initially welcomed comments.  You, cp, launched an anti-reduction-of-ideas-into-data (one can’t reduce IQ to a number sort of thing) tirade to which pz initially countered (“Thanks CP! Still, I think it must be possible to articulate the value set.”), then took up.  Why the discussion then went into an interrogation of my worthiness to even comment, I don’t know.  You and pz can speak to that.

Now, to answer your question: would I have made it into college before the land-grant movement?  We will never know.  I chose my undergrad for very specific reasons.  I had no problems getting in nor any problems excelling in a rigorous and scholarly set of degrees.  I then chose my graduate school for a specific reason as well.  I was, ultimately, disappointed in the program, but I can’t say that I left with no ability to continue to learn on my own.  In fact, auto-didacticism probably comes to fore more than not.  

I believe your question, again, seeks to determine my worthiness to participate in the discussion (even to the point of my ability to participate in any discussion).  Smacking of eliticism and classism, I leave it.

I can well imagine the burden you must be under, dealing with lesser faculty who have neither the experience or range of reading that you imply you have.  These “oxygen thieves” must surely be adjuncts, better suited for freshman, cattle-call courses.  Or, perhaps the OTs are junior faculty scrapping to find their way.  Either way, the burden is certainly onerous.  You have my sympathies.

I wonder…what non-vita line choices do you consider when hiring?  It seems that this hasn’t worked out so well for you.

I appreciate you holding back personal judgment on me.  I choose to see no implied references.

Ta-ta.

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3 Comments
  1. Professor Zero permalink
    May 20, 2006 6:01 am

    But PPP, a lot of these land grant institutions are really good, and many have been around since the mid to late 19th century. Do you think a private school would have done you more good?

    From what I’ve seen, which is a fair amount, private schools don’t actually do more good than public ones _except_ for students who are already members of the elite, have money, and network with each other there. Everyone else doesn’t really get more out of going to those schools than they would have going to, say, Bloomington or Urbana-Champaign.

    You seem to make a lot of assumptions.
    The thing is that if you haven’t sat on
    the committees that generate the kinds of statistics you’re talking about, or gone to the meetings in which these are discussed seriously, you just won’t know what’s tracked, what isn’t, how it’s interpreted, what specifically is wrong with it, and so on. That’s not a statement about class, but about type of work experience and level of information.

    It sounds to me as though you liked your undergraduate experience but might
    have been happier going for a professional degree, e.g. law, business, medicine, than for the research degree you pursued. These are things we don’t always know before we try them. It’s never too late.

    On hiring, you know, by law we’re not supposed to hire on non-vita line issues; this really is best practice, too. I can really only consider vita and professional issues, because I’m short staffed and need people in specific areas with specific skills. I don’t have a lot of room for experimentation in hiring. Life is a lot easier if you just hire someone with the skills you need, and don’t concern yourself with ‘non-vita line issues’.

  2. Professor Zero permalink
    May 20, 2006 6:22 am

    P.S. – on research queries by e-mail from people one doesn’t know:

    It is one thing to have someone show up at your scheduled office hour with a quick question such as, ‘do you consider your book on topic X still to be current’? It is quite another to get a much more complicated question from a confused student you don’t know, by e-mail. There just isn’t time, once one has dealt with one’s own students, and requests for information from the community at large, etc., etc., to also engage with that person.

    I dunno, PPP, it sounds as though your graduate program was pretty weird. I’ve seen some weird ones in the places I’ve worked, too. If you ask me, some of these PhD programs should revert to just giving the MA, do that well, and then let the students move on to better places. Faculty who teach in such programs, though, would say I’m being terribly critical and mean to suggest this–and it’s an idea that could have more than one ‘downside’.

  3. Piss Poor Prof permalink
    May 21, 2006 3:48 am

    Professor Zero, good to see you again.

    I actually don’t know whether a private graduate school (my undergrad was private) would have made a difference or not. I can’t predict what might have happened if only if…

    I initially shot off some ideas about definiProfessor Zero, good to see you again.

    I actually don’t know whether a private graduate school (my undergrad was private) would have made a difference or not. I can’t predict what might have happened if only if…

    I initially shot off some ideas about defining scholarly metrics (which you point out a few would have been known to be readily available if I had the committee experience) to see if you had considered and of which type you would use in your scholar paper. I still am curious about this. I mentioned quite a few items, only a few of which seems to have elicited comment. What about the ratio of peer-reviewed journals to tenured faculty? To the proportion of student body (more students=more instructors/professionals=?). I still see these as more suggestions than assumptions.

    So, since you still feel I am making assumptions, I will attempt to tease those out. Am I assuming when I post a comment to your publicly open blog? Should I refrain from reading/posting comments? I don’t think this is where you are going, so I move on.

    Was my anecdote about a good-scholar—good-teacher: good-scholar—bad-teacher the assuming part? It seemed to have struck a nerve as you reference it a couple of times. (BTW, it was not the brush off that was annoying—which it was—but the cursory manner. And I still maintain that it illustrated poor teaching, even from a respected scholar).

    The non-vita line items came directly from Combat Philosopher. You should take those up with him.

    Was my graduate program weird? I think it was incomplete. I have fleshed out various reasons throughout the blog, and I will, no doubt, continue to do so as I go forward. Was it a waste? I think I will take that up with a comment posted above.

    Hope this helps.

    ng sch

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