Weekend Reading: Midsummer Edition

ProfHacker 2018-08-02

For those of us on a May-August academic calendar, summer is quickly vanishing: I for one cannot believe July is nearly upon us. This time of year is a great opportunity to reflect on the spring semester at a comfortable distance, and start ramping up for next year. If you’re contemplating changes in your work, profession, or policy in the coming term, here’s a few recent articles that might be of interest:

  • A series of guests posts from Dr. Terri Givens on The Professor Is In addresses her experience leaving academia, and particularly some of the challenges she observed when operating within academic and administrative spaces: “It is true that the opportunities for public scholarship have improved greatly, but I will feel much more comfortable about being outspoken regarding current issues when I’m no longer in an institution that frowns on such actions. I have felt even more constrained when I have been in administrative positions where the things that I say may be construed as official positions of the college. It will take me a while to develop the muscles that will allow me to be more vocal, and to figure out how I want to use the platform that I have in a positive way.”

  • An article by Stephen Noonoo at EdSurge looks at recent research on Makerspaces, and particularly the lack of diversity and challenges these spaces face for meaningful success: “In general, the most successful makerspaces were the ones that approached these topics intentionally and had a plan in place that takes into account realities around funding and physical space. Kim likens the process to building a house from scratch and knowing where to start. ‘If you don’t think about culture when you’re building a makerspace, you’re forgetting the foundation,’ he says. ‘You might have something that’s visible but not very solid.’”

  • Alexandra Witze’s article in Nature on recent research on sexual harassment in academic science department includes many suggestions for moving forward: “The report’s many recommendations include: that research institutions should act to reduce the power differential between students and faculty members, perhaps by introducing group-based advising; that the government should prohibit confidentiality in settlement agreements, so that harassers cannot switch jobs without their new employer knowing about past behaviour; and that research organizations should treat sexual harassment at least as seriously as research misconduct.”

  • In an article in The Atlanic, Carolina A. Miranda examines the transformative consequences of automated labor: “Sometimes, this can result in an awkward dance between the human world and the automated one. At many supermarkets and big box stores, for example, space once allotted to a checkout station has been replaced by a row of self-checkout systems. The cashier, who previously had a designated spot behind the counter, now stands at the end of this row, ready to assist when customers get confused or if the machines fail. At stores such as Target, the staffer often has no dedicated workstation. A position once tied to a physical location has become unmoored.”

Have a favorite recent academic read? Share it in the comments!

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