Tag Archives: Academe

On Academic Life: You Didn’t Really Do It On Your Own

I often wonder how fate has intervened at various times in my career to lead me to where I am today. For example, I often think about the possibility that I might have ended up working in the mines of northern Mexico in the state of Durango, where my father was born sometime around 1917. […]

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On Academic Life: A Time To Look Back

I am currently a professor at USC, where I have worked for a bit over thirty years now. I grew up only a couple of miles from Keck Medical Center, which used to be known to everyone in the surrounding community as LAC/USC Medical Center – or County Hospital. It is only a few miles […]

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Thoughts on Vocational Education in Japan

A few nights ago, a program on NHK (Japan’s public television station) profiled several young Japanese students in a school-sponsored apprenticeship program.  I immediately became engrossed by the show, as it was another demonstration of the methods through which Japanese industries elevate seemingly mundane tasks into art.  Anyone who has ever seen how soba noodles […]

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In Reponse to Paul Krugman

Today I want to talk about power, or more specifically, the role of power in perpetuating and increasing inequality in the United States. I wasn’t planning on talking about this topic, well not so directly anyway. When I started this series of posts my intention was to limit my musings to the way we collectively […]

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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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(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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Considering the German Vocational Model

Proponents of vocational education often point to Germany as a model.  Germany certainly has an enviable unemployment rate (4.8% in December 2014), and its apprenticeship programs, conducted in tandem with vocational colleges, are often credited with this success.  As a result, influential business commentators like Harold Sirkin argue that the United States should emulate Germany’s […]

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Because It Is Where the Books Are

A University should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning.  Benjamin Disraeli, House of Commons, 11 March 1873 In order to truly understand the role of faculty in the modern University, one must have a feel for the roots from which this role has developed.    In a world that has evolved at […]

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On the Purpose of Education – Part 2

In my last post, I asked if the primary purpose of education is to find a job.  Since then, at least two developments have engendered a considerable amount of discussion around that very topic.  On January 26, an article entitled “The Day the Purpose of College Changed” by Dan Barrett from the Chronicle of Higher […]

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