Speculative Diction: Perishable Goods – Universities and the measurement of educational quality [October 11 2011]

I responded in this blog post to an article in the Globe & Mail, regarding the splitting of funding for teaching and research in universities. My piece refers to the lack of adequate measures for teaching “quality” and student learning, and how this makes it impractical to attempt to link government funding to those factors, as well as the trouble with assessing “outcomes” of education in the short-term.


University of Venus: First Year Focus – Understanding Student Choices [September 13, 2011]

A conversation in a second-hand clothing shop provoked me to write this post, which is about the ways in which undergraduates experience the university environment when they’ve arrived right from high school. I was reminded of how easy it is to take things for granted when we’ve been working in an institution for a long time.

Speculative Diction: Future Tense [March 24 2011]

This post addresses how students are often preoccupied with the future because they’re insecure in the present (particularly financially, but in other ways too). No-one can really blame them from wanting to know where university will take them, since after all, they were told they had to go to university in order to get work later. If you don’t know much else about it, it’s hard to comprehend what else education might be for. Ironically, this means it can be harder to tap into the desire that’s needed in order to excel at university learning.

University of Venus: Places of Learning [October 5 2010]

I’ve always been very picky about physical spaces, so it’s no surprise my first post for University of Venus¬†at Inside Higher Ed was about the architecture and spatial arrangements in universities, and what they tell us about how we believe education should happen. It’s important to pay attention to the ways that such spaces allow some modes of exchange and communication, and make other modes difficult – including (for example) the informal interactions between faculty and students that promote integration of PhD students, which is crucial in facilitating their degree completion.

Speculative Diction: Writing It Out [October 4 2010]

Writer’s block may not be the most interesting topic, but it’s something most of us have dealt with at one time or another. How much formal and informal help with writing do graduate students find available, and how do they learn the process of writing as opposed to merely mimicking a particular (desired) outcome? In this post I looked at my own experiences with (lack of) writing assistance and how helping others to write can help bring one’s own process to light.