toil over projects that have little consequence

11/21/2011: From a Kevin Kiley story in IHE, based on a paper released Friday by the Emory University English professor Mark Bauerlein:

“Many professors enjoy their work, finding it rewarding and helpful to their other professional duties, but if their books and essays do not find readers sufficient to justify the effort, the publication mandate falls short of its rationale, namely, to promote scholarly communication and the advancement of knowledge,” Bauerlein wrote in the report. “To put it bluntly, universities ask English professors to labor upon projects of little value to others, incurring significant opportunity costs.”…

The problem is that most of the research is not advancing scholarly communication, because most works are not cited enough to justify the amount of time and money that goes into producing them. 

Paper citations fell into patterns. Most papers received only a handful of citations. Of the 17 articles published by the University of Illinois English department, 11 garnered between zero and two citations and four garnered between three and six citations. Two received more than 20 citations. Books followed a similar pattern.

University 0-2 Citations 3-6 Citations >6 Citations
University of Georgia 16 4 3
SUNY-Buffalo 11 0 2
University of Vermont 11 3 2
University of Illinois 11 4 2

Bauerlein puts the blame on institutions for crafting positions that emphasize research that, in the end, is not being read. “There is a glaring mismatch between the resources these universities and faculty members invest and the impact of most published scholarship,” he wrote. “Despite scant attention paid to scholarship, a faculty member’s promotion and annual review depends heavily on the professor’s published work. A university’s resources and human capital is thereby squandered as highly trained and intelligent professionals to toil over projects that have little consequence.”

A sportswriter friend once compared our jobs: “I spend 30 minutes writing an article 30,000 people will read. You professors spend 5 years writing an article 25 people will read.”

Stereotype threat

11/3/2011: I’m no psychology professor but Claude Steele is, and he has done some fascinating work on “stereotype threat”. The classic experiment is to tell women everyone knows women are bad at math, just before they take a math quiz. They do worse. It works in reverse too. Or so I’m told. He’s speaking today on campus, courtesy of CODAC:

The Center on Diversity and Community is turning 10 and it¹s time to celebrate! To mark the occasion we have  organized a series of special events and talks throughout the academic year,  all guided by the theme of “Unscripting Diversity: Celebrating 10 years of  Engaging Challenge, Building Community.” Our inaugural event takes place on Thursday November 3 at 4:00pm (EMU Ballroom) with a  keynote address by esteemed social psychologist, Dr. Claude Steele, author of  the book, ‘Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do.’  

Occupy Eugene to move in with Pernsteiner at Treetops Mansion

11/1/2011: Word down by the Duck Pond is that the Occupy Eugene folks are going to take Chancellor Pernsteiner up on his gracious offer to host the whole movement at his official state owned mansion, Treetops, at 2237 Spring Blvd. Dr. Pernsteiner is quoted in a flyer making the rounds:

“Not many of those of us in the elite 1% can say that they get every dime of it from taxpayers and student tuition money. And of course on top of that fat $280,900 salary I get a housing allowance to pay the mortgage at my other house in Portland, extra retirement money, $23,120 for professional expenses, travel money, and a car. Treetops has a lovely lawn, 3000 square feet of verandas, and 9000 square feet of living space. It’s the second largest house in the county. It’s almost too much – even for a man as important as I am – so I welcome these visitors. I do feel obligated to warn them that thanks to UO Matters and those vengeful bastards at the DOJ the university system has cut my maid service to every other week.”

Turn-by-turn walking directions here.

Ex-PSU Official Mike Burton Under Criminal Investigation

10/31/2011: For expense account fraud. From Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week:

Burton, a former longtime lawmaker and Metro chair, abruptly left the university last summer ahead of a damning audit, first reported in August by WW, that found he took an 11-day European junket on PSU’s dime under highly questionable circumstances. Burton claimed he was going to attend professional conferences but the conferences either did not take place or took place when he was not present.

Burton subsequently repaid $4,500 and PSU referred his case to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. But WW has learned Burton is now under criminal investigation. …

Provost Open Forum

Sorry for the late posting:

To: UO Deans and Directors

From:    Robert Kyr
                President, University Senate

Re: First Provost’s Forum
This Wednesday, October 19, 2011
4:00-6:00 pm, Beall Concert Hall
University of Oregon School of Music & Dance  (Please see the map attached.)

As President as the University Senate, I am writing to you to ask you to please forward this message to everyone in your department (or unit) as soon as you receive it. Thank you for helping us to encourage the largest possible turnout for this important event, the first of our Provost’s Forums for 2011-2012.

This year, the University Senate is hosting three Provost’s Forums  to give the entire university community an opportunity to have an  open dialogue with Interim Provost Davis. The first Provost’s Forum  will be given on Wednesday, October 19 at 4:00-6:00 pm at Beall  Concert Hall, University of Oregon School of Music & Dance. (Please  see the map attached.)

This Wednesday’s Forum will begin with a brief presentation by Interim Provost Davis followed by an “open mike,” during which attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions in open  dialogue with the Interim Provost. As President of the Senate, I will be serving as the moderator for the forum.

We look forward to seeing you at this important event which is  being offered in the spirit of shared governance, one of the core  principles of our university. I strongly encourage you to participate.

Robert Kyr
President, University Senate

Libel suit against blogger dismissed

10/13/2011: From Kara Hansen Murphey in the Lake Oswego Review. The blogger posted some information about a doctor’s disciplinary records and her opinion. He sued her for $1 million in damages. She went to the Electronic Freedom Foundation, got some advice and an attorney and filed an “anti-SLAPP” suit against the doctor.

On Sept. 30, Multnomah County Judge Jerome LaBarre concluded Craig was not only speaking about a matter of public interest but within a public forum when she tweeted about Darm’s disciplinary record. That could make it easier for lawyers to defend Oregon bloggers and tweeters facing libel charges in the future.

They’ve settled out of court. Presumably the doctor paid the blogger’s legal fees. The blog post is still up.