Speculative Diction: Shameful Self-Promotion vs. Meritocracy [August 16, 2011]

Meritocracy is a theme to which I keep returning in my blog, mostly because as a core feature of academic culture it never seems to lose relevance. In this post I discuss the relationship between the academic disdain for (certain forms of) self-promotion, particularly social media, and how this is related to assumptions about “merit” and the intrinsic worth of one’s research.

Conference Presentation: Minding the Gaps – PhD Students and Social Media [April 27 2013]

For HASTAC I participated by helping to create a panel with Bonnie Stewart, sava saheli singh, and Trent M. Kays. The panel was titled “Cohorts without borders: New doctoral subjects”.

I have the basic outline of my talk in a set of PowerPoint slides (I’ll possibly turn it into a better version on Prezi later on): Minding the Gaps: PhD Students & Social Media.

Speculative Diction: Know Your Value [July 19, 2011]

In this post I addressed the idea of the “academic economy” (and culture) being one in which we’re required to offer up our time without compensation, a holdover from a past time when more elite students would be attending (and would have more resources at their disposal).

In my opinion, this post never seems to lose its relevance; I see the issues I raised here being discussed and re-discussed regularly on Twitter and in other blogs. I’m raising the issue of a part of the “hidden curriculum” of graduate education, which is that we learn not only to work for free but also to de-value our own labour – within academe but also if we choose to leave and work elsewhere.

The changing demographics in graduate education over the past 30 years should be reason enough to question these assumptions. As it is, those with privilege will always find it easier to get ahead in an environment where not only do we have to work for free to earn the right of recognition, but we’re even expected to pay for the opportunity of sharing what we’ve done (i.e. the conference model). This long-standing arrangement is not one that supports inclusion, and I think that point should be made more often and more loudly, since graduate enrollments are expanding and the amount of financial support for their academic participation is diminishing.

University of Venus: Refusing to be Silent [June & July, 2011]

When UBC graduate student Rumana Manzur was attacked by her husband, several of the writers (Afshan Jafar, Lee Skallerup Bessette, and myself) at University of Venus blog on Inside Higher Ed felt compelled to write responses. These were combined into a collaborative post, which appeared on June 28, 2011.

The post was republished on the University Affairs website on June 29, 2011.

On July 13 2011, my section of the post appeared in the Guardian UK under the title, “HE internationalization: Why awareness of cultural conflict matters.

I thought some of the comments on these posts were sadly predictable. For my part, I wanted to bring attention to the fact that internationalization of higher education is not a simple process in which people move around the planet, magically unhindered/unaffected by the constraints of things like gender, class, race, and cultural norms. These challenges can’t be reduced to a two-sided debate, and yet I find they’re often ignored altogether (or radically simplified) in accounts of international education.

Speculative Diction: Universities and the Media [June 22 & 23, 2011]

Following the first Worldviews conference in June 2011, I wrote two posts that take up the issue of media coverage of universities and postsecondary education. This is a topic that interests me partly because it beings together two areas that I’ve been looking at for some time – media studies (and discourse analysis), and PSE.

Universities and the media, part 1: What they say about us.

Universities and the media, part 2: Why the media matter.

Another angle that I haven’t been able to dig into very much is the influence of media coverage on policy-making in higher education. I did do a presentation on the 2008-2009 CUPE strike at York University and how this was discussed/debated in public and in the news, but I haven’t yet done an in-depth piece about coverage of universities in the long term, which would  really have to be a book-length project. However, I have been able to use some of this kind of analysis as part of my dissertation research.