Tag Archives: Graduate Students

Disruptive Innovation: Prophetic Vision or Belabored Buzzword?

The rhetoric surrounding “disruptive innovation,” first theorized by Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen, has caused anxiety among many in higher education who worry that universities will soon join the ranks of Borders bookstores and the VHS.  According to Christensen, disruptive innovations are marked by four factors: 1) simplicity, 2) affordability, 3) convenience, and 4) the […]

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When Entrepreneurialism “Disrupts” Academic and Artistic Rigor

Imagine, for a moment, the following scenario: A department of economics, with an internationally-respected, highly-selective graduate program that provides full funding for PhD students, receives a $70 million donation from a capital venture fund.  The donation, introduced by prominent figures from the financial investment world (perhaps Robert Kraft or James Dimon), is earmarked for the […]

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Using Qualitative Research to Contest Stereotypes

How are black men portrayed? After Freddie Gray’s death due to the brutality of six Baltimore police officers, newscasts focused on Gray’s criminal record and suspect behavior. When city residents protested, the media became more interested. Reporters searched for provocative stories and trolled for increased viewership. They showed dehumanizing videos of wild mobs looting and […]

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Why Qualitative Research?

Recently, many researchers of higher education (like me) scrambled to complete their proposals for the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.  While completing my proposals, I found myself thinking about the circumstances that caused me to become a qualitative researcher. When I was in fifth grade, few things fascinated me […]

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On Academic Life: The End of the Circle

It was not long ago (in my mind, anyway) that I entered graduate school, earned my doctorate, and began a career as an academic. I did not have a clue as to where the journey would take me…and I suddenly find myself nearing the end of that journey. In previous posts I tried to point […]

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On Academic Life: For Those Starting Out

This post is aimed at those who want to pursue an academic career. Most likely, that decision will be an intentional and well thought-out move, unlike the more or less random way that I fell in to academia. In any case, at this point, nearing the end of my academic career, there are some things […]

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The Student Loan Crisis: Up Close and Personal

Two concerns I have with the current discussion about the student loan crisis is that it is increasingly ideological in nature, and quantitative in the manner in which student financial needs are analyzed: Ideological: Students have too much debt/no they don’t.  More students should to go college/no they shouldn’t.  It’s not the government’s role to […]

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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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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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What’s in a Name?

Professor? Dr.? Bill? Since the first day of my Ph.D. program I consistently called all of my instructors Dr. So and So. This was against the norm of most students; students called the faculty members by their first names both to their face and behind closed doors. Along the way I have received some pushback […]

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