Two Tracks for the PhD?

Around this time in 2012, the Chronicle of Higher Education posted a piece criticizing those who make arguments to reduce the number of PhDs in the Humanities. It was an interesting argument about which I had a good deal to say (thanks, Facebook "On This Day" feature!), so I thought I'd reproduce my thoughts here for those who aren't (or weren't yet) Facebook friends.

What is the Point of a Teacher?

If one thing unites Molly Worthen, Damon Linker, and my colleagues in SoTL, it is the view that teachers--whatever we are doing in the classroom--are a central component of what makes the collegiate experience worth more than four years of trips to the public library. But why? What is it that makes a teacher valuable in a way that books are not? In this post, I propose that how we answer this question--that is, how we conceptualize the value of the teacher--is likely to be the best predictor of whether and how we use the lecture within our pedagogical repertoire. 

Do Student Evaluations of Teaching Really Get an "F?"

It's been a bad year for student evaluations. In the space of two weeks in October, both NPR and the Harvard Business Review published pieces summarizing studies that were critical of their use. With provocative titles like "Student Course Evaluations Get an F" and "Better Teachers Receive Worse Student Evaluations," these pieces were (and continue to be) widely shared and much discussed among academics.