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Consulting Costs: The “Other Kind” of Administrative Bloat

dlattanzi:

On administrative bloat in universities.

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Although the number of administrators and of administrative staff, as well as the levels of administrative compensation, have continued to increase inexorably, those are hardly the only elements of administrative bloat. Paradoxically, although one would think that, at some point, there would be enough administrators to cover almost any administrative need, the “need” to contract with outside consultants seems to have more than kept pace with the growth of other administrative costs.

At my own institution, we have now allocated $2.3 million to hire a consultant with expertise in institutional branding. I believe that the budget allocation is for the consulting work: that is, it seems to be covering the cost of a plan and not any implementation of the plan.

But a group of universities in Iowa seems to have done us one better. In a recent article for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Vanessa Miller reports that three…

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The 2014 Field School: The Alexandria Waterfront

The 2014 Field School: The Alexandria Waterfront

The 2014 Field School for Cultural Documentation will take place May 19-June 27. Students will document the Alexandria, VA waterfront before the institution of the new waterfront revitalization plan. I will be blogging regularly about the project and teaching ethnography throughout May and June.

A Survey of University Presses

dlattanzi:

An insightful exploration of University Presses.

Originally posted on The Scholarly Kitchen:

Surveying

Surveying (Photo credit: Wessex Archaeology)

As I announced on the Kitchen a while back, I have been working on a research project in the university press area. Specifically, I have been trying to determine how university presses could sell more books, both print and electronic, directly from their Web sites. There may be several posts to come from this research, but for now I want simply to report what the participating presses had to say about their operations and their aspirations for direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales.

The survey was put into a Web form, which the presses were invited to fill out. Sixty-nine did so, which is a considerable portion of the total press community. The aim of the online survey was to capture specific data; I have been following up with telephone interviews with many of the respondents in order to get at more qualitative information. On the forms…

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Rick Anderson at the Smithsonian: “Is a Rational Discussion of Open Access Possible?”

Originally posted on The Scholarly Kitchen:

I was recently invited to give a talk as part of a lecture series titled The Open Access Future, sponsored by the Smithsonian Libraries, the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and the Smithsonian’s Office of the Chief Information Officer. I decided to focus on the issue that has been troubling me most lately: why is it so hard to have conversations about OA that don’t devolve into shouting matches and accusations of bad faith? What has led to this state of affairs, how bad is the problem now, and what can we do to create a more open, inclusive, and reasonable environment for discussion of the complex issues surrounding OA and the economics of scholarly communication generally? I came up with a provocative title (“Is a Rational Discussion of Open Access Possible?”) and delivered the lecture on March 10, 2014. Here’s the archived video of the lecture and of the discussion that…

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Judith Butler Explained with Cats

dlattanzi:

Awesomeness

Originally posted on BINARYTHIS:

Following hot on the heels of Foucault Explained with Hipsters, here’s JB’s Gender Trouble  explained in Socratic dialogue style. With cats.

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All page references from Butler, J. (1990 [2008: 1999]). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York; London: Routledge.

Got any more ideas for philosophy/sociology/gender theory you’d like to see explained in comic form? Let me know in the comments below.

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The Academic Writing Thing

dlattanzi:

I understand Matthew Pratt Guterl’s argument: academic writing should be deep, complex and nuanced. But he misses an important point about critiques of academic writing: it is frequently laden with jargon and faulty sentence structure. To write about complex issues and ideas does not leave academics with the choice of prose that is either indecipherable or suitable for Twitter. This is the main issue that the critics of “academic writing” is not its complexity, but that is is poorly executed.

Originally posted on matthew pratt guterl:

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When Nicholas Kristof, the soft-hearted liberal on the New York Times op-ed page, decided that political scientists had given up on writing for a broader public, a digital avalanche of blog posts, letters to the editor, and tweets, followed. The APSA, Corey Robin, Claire Potter, and basically the entire editorial collective of Jacobin took the man to task for, basically, channeling the laziest version of Tom Friedman. Why, Kristof seemed to be asking, casually leafing through the past few issues of the New Yorker, can’t more people write like Jill Lepore? This is a fine question, but – as Robin points out – it isn’t the right question at all, and it probably isn’t an honest question, either.

Now, just as Kristof’s more recent and weak apologia has been begrudgingly accepted, here comes Joshua Rothman, writing in the New Yorker itself, and asking, with an eye on…

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adjunct community, “Lucy Snowe,” and the trap of adjunct work

Originally posted on professor never:

A vibrant on-line community has erupted around contingent faculty in the last five years. Articles about adjuncts and the atrophied job market have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Slate and beyond. When you add the blogs and Twitter accounts that have popped up everywhere regarding adjuncting, unionization efforts and transition from academic life, it seems a massive snowball has formed over the much troubled village of academe.

Real change may still be far out, so far that I have trouble imagining what it will look like when it finally comes, but the potential for graduate students and adjuncts to build community and organize exists on a large scale.

I am so happy to see this community form. When I worked as an adjunct from 2004 to 2006, I didn’t even know the other contingent laborers at the university where I worked, let alone…

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