The 5 Paths To Greatness: Which One Are You Called To? – Forbes

“But the most visible role isn’t the best role—and for most of us, it’s not authentically our role. Let’s think of life—and the workplace—as a party, say, like the Super Bowl party you may have attended yesterday. There are five major roles played to make a party a success:”   — more—

via The 5 Paths To Greatness: Which One Are You Called To? – Forbes.

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If You Think Like an Imposter, You’ll Be an Imposter

Most of us have a tendency to compare our talents and abilities to others, and get down on ourselves when we don’t measure up. While striving to be better is a good thing, it’s also important to be proud of our abilities and achievements, and not get discouraged by unrealistic expectations.Nicole Antoinette at A Life Less Bullshit breaks it down:

via If You Think Like an Imposter, You’ll Be an Imposter.

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Why Overthinking Is Holding You Back

The slow learners kept two “cognitive control centers” — the frontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex — active longer than participants who learned more quickly. These parts of the brain, which are usually used for devising and carrying out plans, high-level thinking and avoiding of errors, can be helpful when tackling complex tasks. But they can be hurdles to completing very basic ones.

Scientists aren’t yet sure how people can shut down these strategic brain regions when they don’t need them, but further research into this phenomenon may yield benefits for natural chronic overthinkers.

via Why Overthinking Is Holding You Back.

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Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

dreamstime_8445313testIt starts with recognising it in yourself and others. Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. They seem unable to internalize their accomplishments, however successful they are in their field. High achieving, highly successful people often suffer, so imposter syndrome doesn’t equate with low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence. In fact, some researchers have linked it with perfectionism, especially in women and among academics.

via Overcoming Imposter Syndrome.

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Don’t forget regional state schools when it comes to higher ed and tech.

“When we talk about the future of higher education in the United States, let’s please focus our attention on where most higher ed happens. It’s not in Cambridge or South Bend or Ann Arbor. It’s in Kirksville, Mo.; Emporia, Kan.; Lafayette, La.; and Bridgewater, Mass.”

via Don’t forget regional state schools when it comes to higher ed and tech..

My alma mater is Ohio State and I dearly love her.  However, after those initial four years, I attended Idaho State, Kansas State, University of Missouri Kansas City, and Cal State Hayward.  There is a lot of attention being given to world class this and world class that.  I welcome this article about the also runs.  The Tortoise would see things that way.  One day a tortoise will learn to fly.


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Civility & Diversity | Advocacy, Legislation & Issues

So what’s the relationship between civility and diversity? If we really think about the goals of diversity, we are seeking a workplace where different perspectives and experiences can be mutually respected and fostered for the betterment of the organization. If we can create a civil environment, we will be better able to cultivate a diverse environment. And if we fail to cultivate a civil environment, all of our diversity efforts will be for naught. To put it simply, a polite, courteous and welcoming work environment furthers diversity efforts by creating a workplace where people—all kinds of people—want to contribute to their fullest potential.

via Civility & Diversity | Advocacy, Legislation & Issues.

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Quitting the academic job market: Should I give up on trying to be a professor and go into government or the private sector instead?

“Yet of all the machines that humanity has created, few seem more precisely calibrated to the destruction of hope than the academic job market.”

via Quitting the academic job market: Should I give up on trying to be a professor and go into government or the private sector instead?.

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7 Things to Remember When People Don’t Support You

lonesome george 0625-world-ogeorge_full_380“I’m currently doing the whole “quit my job to pursue a dream” thing. I left the security and stability of having a salary along with a supposed career.

Back then, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had no experience in blogging, plus I didn’t exactly have the confidence to market and start running a business.

Sounds crazy, right?”  — more —

via 7 Things to Remember When People Don’t Support You.

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College papers: Students hate writing them. Professors hate grading them. Let’s stop assigning them.

Mom, friends, educators, students: We don’t have to assign papers, and we should stop. We need to admit that the required-course college essay is a failure. The baccalaureate is the new high-school diploma: abjectly necessary for any decent job in the cosmos. As such, students and their parents view college as professional training, an unpleasant necessity en route to that all-important “piece of paper.” Today’s vocationally minded students view World Lit 101 as forced labor, an utter waste of their time that deserves neither engagement nor effort. So you know what else is a waste of time? Grading these students’ effing papers. It’s time to declare unconditional defeat.

Most students enter college barely able to string three sentences together—and they leave it that way, too. With protracted effort and a rhapsodically engaged instructor, some may learn to craft a clunky but competent essay somewhere along the way. But who cares? My fellow humanists insist valiantly that (among other more elevated reasons) writing humanities papers leads to the crafting of sharp argumentative skills, and thus a lifetime of success in a number of fields in which we have no relevant experience. But my friends who actually work in such fields assure me that most of their colleagues are borderline-illiterate. After all, Mark Zuckerberg’s pre-Facebook Friendster profile bragged “i don’t read” (sic), and look at him. — MORE —


via College papers: Students hate writing them. Professors hate grading them. Let’s stop assigning them..


A long time ago I used to sit and grade  “essays” in English comp.  I looked forward to reading the work of maybe 10% of my students.  Then there were the ones with promise and commensurate willingness to improve.  They were welcome challenges. The rest I dreaded.  As a teaching assistant I dreaded the rest of the hopeless ones.  But I slogged on through twenty or so papers because I believed that English composition was important and fundamental to making logical minds. The ability to write even the five paragraph essay, an extended definition or a cause-effect exposition seemed important to preserve civility and good citizenship in a democratic republic.  How can you vote if you don’t know when a politician bombards you with oversimplified causes and argumentum ad hominem.

Truth is you know and “argument to the man” when someone attacks the person instead of his mistaken ideas.  It seems natural to know it.  Who cares what it’s called?

I do, but that is me.  I also believe life is richer having read a little  Shakespeare.  In the case of The Bard,  I have no doubt that millions can live beautiful, productive lives without ever having met Hamlet.  My thing is not for everyone.

I have also known high school friends who never darkened an English professor’s office and can apply fine logic to life and letters.  It seems a natural act to sense the illogical.  Or they had excellent high school teachers.

At the same time it is a very sad day when college students debunk the essay and surf the Internet to plagiarize and thus circumvent  essential mental discipline.  But I guess no one misses what he has never known — the delight of learning, often just for the hell of it.

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The American Scholar: The Decline of the English Department – William M. Chace

“I still teach, and do so with a veteran’s pride in what I know and what I hope I can give. My classrooms are, I hope, bright and sunny places where we can spend good time with Joyce’s Ulysses or Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. But I know what some of my students sense, that what we do now faces an array of problems, any one of which might prove surmountable, but which together amount to an enervating spectacle. Fewer and fewer undergraduates are showing up in classrooms, mine and everyone else’s; the pleasure of undergraduate reading is everywhere blighted by worries about money and career; university administrators are more likely to classify “literary types” as budgetary liabilities than as assets; the disciplines we teach are in a free fall, as ideology, ethnicity, theory, gender, sexuality, and old-fashioned “close reading” spin away from any center of professional consensus about joint purposes; and the youngest would-be professionals, shrinking in number, stare at diminished job prospects.

It would be a pleasure to map a way out of this academic dead end. First, several of my colleagues around the country have called for a return to the aesthetic wellsprings of literature, the rock-solid fact, often neglected, that it can indeed amuse, delight, and educate. They urge the teaching of English, or French, or Russian literature, and the like, in terms of the intrinsic value of the works themselves, in all their range and multiplicity, as well-crafted and appealing artifacts of human wisdom. Second, we should redefine our own standards for granting tenure, placing more emphasis on the classroom and less on published research, and we should prepare to contest our decisions with administrators whose science-based model is not an appropriate means of evaluation. Released from the obligation to deliver research results in the form of little-read monographs and articles, humanists could then resolve to spend their time teaching what they love to students glad to learn. If they wanted to publish, they could do so—at almost no cost—on the Internet, and like-minded colleagues could rapidly share the results of such research and speculation. Most important, the luxury of reading could be welcomed back. I want to believe in what they say.

I have also wanted to believe that English and American literature constitutes a subject of study that is historically coherent and shaped by the intrinsic design of its own making. The causes giving it that shape can be analyzed, as can the merit and integrity of each of the achievements within it. And students, without whose energetic presence the study will wither, can be attracted to an activity—partly aesthetic and partly detective-like—in which they can participate along with teachers who bring enthusiasm to the work at hand. Like young scientists teaming together with older scientists at the same workbench, they can be made to feel that what they are doing makes sense, is shared by others, and will result in knowledge worth having. Perhaps they, the youngest generation, can labor with their teachers in putting together the house that has forfeited its sense of order. If they do, they can graduate with the knowledge that they possess something: a fundamental awareness of how a certain powerful literature was created over time, how its parts fit together, and how the process of creation has been renewed and changed through the centuries.

Some of their detective work could involve topics of great current interest—the role of race or gender or sexuality in the making of a work. But the focus would or should be on the books, not on the theories they can be made to support. English departments need not refight the Western culture wars. But they need to fight their own book wars. They must agree on which texts to teach and argue out the choices and the principles of making them if they are to claim the respect due a department of study.”  — more —

via The American Scholar: The Decline of the English Department – William M. Chace.

My time in graduate school and the  “profession of English literature” ended in 1973  — during the peak years of English departments.  I had left business.  At three universities I made up an English major, earned my M.A., and  completed course work for the Ph.D.   (See “Ph.D. -R.I.P” ) in The Tortoise Factor.    I have not found a better summary of the context of my days  in the humanities than Chace’s essay — nor the passion of a more committed professor.  So much of what he says, I felt in those days — particularly the degradation of the teaching of English composition.    Over forty years there has been no appreciable change in the “profession of English.”   Something precious is being lost with the decline of the humanities in the University —, much of it explainable in the passage of time for the reasons Chace cites.  But much of it is due to the dereliction of duty by a self-serving profession that let the precious slide away. Even a Graduate Teaching Assistant could see it then and many of us did.  There were of course a few like Professor Chace.  I just never met any.

I will just refer to the film, “The Paper Chase” to capture the essence of the time and Chace’s essay.  Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr., a law professor played by John Houseman told his first year law students, “You teach yourselves the law, but I train your minds.  You come in here with a skull full of mush and ;  if you survive, leave, thinking like a lawyer.”

In all those six years as a striker in the “profession of English literature,” I never heard nor met a professor who felt any obligation to train the mind.  They were dedicated to their own minds and careers. There was no effort to teach or even mentor “thinking like a professor.”  And, of course, there was nothing like the bar exam for assessing one’s knowledge in breadth and depth.  But then the law is a profession.  Undoubtedly we were expected to teach ourselves literature and criticism.  Indeed, it was sink or swim.  And every teacher had his own swimming pool. The Sixties and Seventies were anarchic.   Many of our heads were full of mush; indeed, it was the style.  Universities could not control it all.   There was no center to hold.  There still isn’t. Thank you Professor Chace.

David Milliken


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