Unleashed

As international mobility increases, competition for the best academic and professional staff will also intensify. This is why we’re unleashing our staff’s performance, reducing complexity and optimising professional achievements. This week the university that employs me released its new Strategic Plan with accompanying changes to our brand identity, vocabulary and collateral. Tucked into this bundle is a video that I can’t stop watching. There are images and sounds I genuinely don’t understand, and a faintly audible sigh about halfway through. (What…

Continue Reading

In Palo Alto

1. I’m still in Palo Alto, and I’m none the wiser about the street sign program that asks locals to look up and think about the meaning of their city.*  I’ve now found eight different examples, and they’ve started to take on an anxious tone. The whole place feels like it’s worrying about something. Would you say that things in your city are better or worse than they used to be? Do you ever find yourself longing for “the good…

Continue Reading

The stitches of the day

I sewed once a day, keeping a record of when I worked and marking the breaks between each session. While it is evident where one session ends and another begins, I took care to tie the thread or hair from the stitches of one day to the stitches of the next, so that the line is continuous. The result is an image of my commitment and the time that has passed. Maria T D Inocencio, ‘In and out of time’…

Continue Reading

Making change

So why are most universities monolithic, conservative, bureaucratic and resistant to change? F. M. Cornford’s splendid little monograph Microcosmographia Academica (1908) examines the “enemy of inertia” and finds that “there is only one argument for doing something; the rest are arguments for doing nothing”. While change is theoretically deemed to be a “good thing” by “change managers” – commonly known as vice-chancellors and deputy vice-chancellors – those managers often encounter resistance from ordinary academics. Steve Olivier, ‘How to manage rapid change‘ Ordinary…

Continue Reading

Access to care

The Site is owned, operated and/or provided by RateMyProfessors.com LLC (“RMP”), a subsidiary of Viacom International Inc., which offers television channel or programming services (such as Internet websites, applications or other interactive services) and offers other products and services under various brands, such as those Viacom Media Networks brands listed here. RateMyProfessors.Com LLC Terms and Conditions He always has a piece of paper in front of his mouth when he talks which makes it hard to hear. He also hisses like…

Continue Reading

Service as a Service

There is a lot of activity that an academic undertakes that acts as ‘glue’ holding together the whole scholarly practice. Martin Weller, Scholarship Can’t Afford Itself, July 2015 But after what happened at the Tour, I need to prove myself on a bigger scale. Tejay van Garderen, 2015 Two stories about the glue that holds together the whole scholarly practice. 1. It’s 2007. I’m in my office. I’m always in my office. Looking back, I don’t remember much else about that…

Continue Reading

Gratis

Oh, the gratis.  There is always some contest or another available to the cast members to earn gratis, and even working part time I was able to earn soooooooo much.  For those who don’t know, gratis means “free, or complimentary” and is provided by the company or a brand.  …  Also, if you are a holiday hire, gaining gratis also means you are showing your worth, so not only did I get lots of makeup goodies, they also kept me…

Continue Reading

Stones only

The purpose of Stonehenge is lost to us. There will always be debate about its meaning. Stonehenge Visitor Centre, Wiltshire I grew up in England, although I wasn’t born here. Here. I’m not in Australia, I’m visiting the country that isn’t quite home, with my Australian teenage daughter who isn’t quite at home here either, while we both try to make sense of the weave of family (her) and familiar landscapes (me) that make England part of who we are. Or…

Continue Reading

With our own meaning

I met for the first time the essential questions of my own mortality … None of us have 300 years. The terror that I conquered in those three weeks left me with a determination and freedom to speak as I needed, and to enjoy and live my life as I needed to for my own meaning. Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals Short version: it’s about this. Please donate. Long version Last week was national Go Home on Time Day, and for…

Continue Reading

Calling it out

Many academics in their 50s might feel that they’re not ready to retire yet – but should they be forced out early? Well, of course, not all of them should. Anonymous, ‘Should Older Academics Be Forced To Retire?‘,  The Thesis Whisperer Bullshit. Is this really the world we choose to live in? Is this a system that works? John Warner, ‘Calling BS … BS‘, Inside Higher Education I’m a fan of The Thesis Whisperer (“just like the horse whisperer—but with more…

Continue Reading