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Indiana, Duke, Yik Yak, and the purpose of Education

The news has been full of lamentable examples of bigotry and discrimination. The governor of Indiana signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, legislation that permits businesses to discriminate on the basis of religion—a restaurant, for instance, could refuse service to a gay couple. The politician posed the law as a moral argument; and yet, any […]

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So You Want to be a Qualitative Researcher in the 21st Century

A tension exists between old and new. In The Anxiety of Influence, Harold Bloom explains the generational process among writers: Old poets inspire young poets. The apprentice learns to love form by reading the work of a skilled master. The beginner writes derivative verse. Anxiety stirs as she realizes the only way to establish a […]

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Tom Hanks Loves #FreeCommunityCollege and So Do I

Is it possible for Tom Hanks to be any more lovable? Apparently, yes. Last week, the actor who made such endearing classics as “Big,” “The ‘Burbs,” and “Turner & Hooch” published an editorial about his time at Chabot Community College. After discussing his experiences, he concluded, “That place made me what I am today.” Hanks […]

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Ferguson, Ethics, and the Public Intellectual

During the 1890s, newspaper publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst competed against each other to sell more papers. They printed sensationalist stories accompanied with fear-inducing headlines and vivid, provocative pictures. Journalists eschewed facts for melodrama. At the height of yellow journalism, the two newspaper tycoons published stories that contributed to the United States’ involvement […]

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Friends, Lovers, and Social Media Experimentation: The Need for New Ethical Guidelines

This summer, Facebook released findings from a controversial study. I blogged about my concerns. Less than a month later, OKCupid’s co-founder publicized his own company’s unethical experiments. What timing. The last six months, in fact, have been filled with troubling examples of data misuse and security leaks—think about it: Facebook, OKCupid, Heartbleed, Bash, and the […]

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Facebook Doesn’t Care About Ethics, So Why Should You?

The internet nearly broke when researchers published a new study, “Experimental Evidence of Massive-scale Emotional Contagion through Social Networks.” Scientists, conducting a psychological experiment including approximately 700,000 Facebook users, manipulated news feeds to examine the effects of positive and negative posts. Researchers found that Facebook posts influence users’ moods; the general public and research community […]

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Stats, Stories, and Policy Design

In my last post, I mentioned Illinois’ new testing plan, which sets different testing standards based on student demographics including race and class. The policy oozes the flawed logic that has defined the accountability era: Statistics—and experimental and quasi-experimental studies, in particular—represent the gold standard of educational research. Before you either tune me in or […]

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Social Justice and Policy Design

Social Justice and Policy Design

A few weeks ago, I read about Illinois’ new testing plan. It includes a number of points. The most notable is the state’s decision to use different standards to measure achievement among student groups. By 2019, Illinois expects 85% of white students—compared to 73% of Latino students and 70% of black students—to pass the state […]

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Mentoring Graduate Students, Part 2

Discovery is central to graduate education. Students explore new ideas and challenge old beliefs. They practice complex skills and interact with an array of scholars. But, from reading a professor’s trenchant feedback to narrowing your dissertation focus, the process is not always glamorous. Here are a few resources to ease the journey: Purdue Owl APA […]

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Mentoring Graduate Students Part 1

I love Shakespeare. No. Wait. That’s not quite right. I really love Shakespeare. As an undergrad student, I read most of his plays and all of his sonnets. I visited the Folger Shakespeare Library. I studied literary criticisms. I enrolled in as many Brit Lit classes as possible. And, I constantly thought about his lines […]

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