Archive by Author

The Purpose of Research: On ROI and DARPA

I have had funded research throughout my academic career.  Even when I worked at Fort Berthold Community College, and long before my doctorate, I wrote grants that advanced the mission of the tribally controlled college.  As a postdoc at the National Center we survived on federal funding by what is now called the Institute of […]

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(Re)constructing USC’s Campus

I have been in the same office in the same building for a generation.  My office has recently gone through a reconfiguration when I took out the bookshelves and replaced them with paintings that I had bought in Santa Fe.  Rather than the off-yellow that punctuates the rest of the building my office is now […]

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The Experience Economy: On Leadership

Amy Gutmann, President of Penn, accumulated all sorts of flack when she followed her students by  falling to the floor at a die-in at her Christmas party this past December. The students were demonstrating in support of those who have been murdered by police in the last several years, and Gutmann supported their protest.  I […]

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The Experience Economy: The Ugly

Pine and Gilmore’s book is predicated on the idea that a business has a priority in knowing as much as possible about the consumer.  Privacy is a virtue of the past.  Dave Eggers has written a funny, superb, novel about the future, The Circle, which I discussed last month. Let’s acknowledge that part of the […]

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The Experience Economy: The Bad

“Professor” Harold Hill decided to fleece the good citizens of River City by making them think that they needed music in their high school “right here in River City.”  “The Music Man” was one of the most popular musicals of the 1950s and highlights how people can be screwed over by con men. The Experience […]

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The Experience Economy: The Good

A book by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, The Experience Economy, is the most recent text to sweep the business world and make its way into higher education.   The authors make the very admirable point that the consumer wants more than a ‘good.’  Consumers want experiences.   An obvious example is the shopping mall.  We created […]

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The Social Construction of Geography

I appreciate that geography can be an iffy matter.  The way we look at the world changes the way we look at the world.  Who owns those rocky islands between Japan and China?  Do we really have to list Crimea as part of Russia now? But some things are settled, even if we don’t like […]

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On Bargaining

Over the years lots of individuals have asked me how to negotiate for a new faculty position, a new job, a raise, or a promotion.  There are three basic rules to follow: Don’t be a doormat:  Rarely do I hear of positions where there is zero negotiation.  I know it’s nice to have a job, […]

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Why Free College Tuition is a Bad Idea: Water and College

President Obama has come out for what Tennessee has put forward, which is free college tuition at the community college level.  If we skim over the idea, it sounds terrific – go to college for free.  Who can be against that? Let’s recognize nothing is free.  Colleges have to get money from somewhere, so all […]

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The Small Liberal Arts, and Not-So-Liberal Arts, College: RIP

A conundrum exists in postsecondary enrollment. I have written repeatedly that we need more students participating in the post-secondary sector. At the same time, most of public higher education seems reluctant to consider alternative models of offering degrees that would be cheaper and of consequence. This would likely involve fewer tenure track faculty. The bloom […]

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