staying on

So, one sometimes hears the statement that a student should not go to graduate school at the same school where s/he  went to undergrad. I’ve heard that at least one top 15 sociology department has a policy against admitting its own students (I’m not sure whether it is just students who were soc majors or all students). I would strongly disagree with such a policy because I believe that, if the argument is that it’s bad for the intellectual development of the student to attend the same place for undergrad and grad school, then this should be up to the student rather than the admitting department.  My dominant metaphor for graduate admissions is “graduate programs are like an employer” and not “graduate programs are like your mom.”

But is this even good advice from the perspective of the student? It feels like the kind of advice that may have made more sense in the past than it does anymore, and it just gets repeated across academic generations. For one thing, perhaps the division between undergraduate and graduate study was less than it is now. It seems to me like grad school is still a whole ‘nuther thing even if you do it at the same place. For another, universities themselves might have been more cloistered from one another in the past than they are now. Certainly, the students are less cloistered, as so many students study abroad, take time off before going to graduate school, and do internships and otherwise do things that take them outside any particular university.

ron amundson is my hero.

You know how as you teach a class there’s a tendency for your syllabus to get longer and longer? This isn’t because you’re teaching more material (probably) but because you’re slipping in additional notes for your students. Fun things like, “Late work will be accepted only with an adequate excuse. Being a member of the football team and playing an away game on the due date is an adequate excuse. Playing football on the game cube is not.” Well, I now have a new goal in my life that is related to this tendency.

Somehow, someway, I want to find an excuse to include a disclaimer as cool at the one Ronald Amundson uses:
Continue reading “ron amundson is my hero.”

two adventures

So, I’ve been absent. In part it’s been because I can’t really see. Allow me to report two adventures: one happy, one not so much. So to start with the happy:

The food collective I founded with four other people while in graduate school was reviewed by the NYTimes and Gourmet magazine!

I guess if sociology doesn’t work out…

Continue reading “two adventures”

going and stopping

Almost everyone agrees — and this is supported by my own many years of observation of colleagues — that the  most productive scholars have regular schedules of writing a few hours every day.  We binge writers can be intensely productive when we are working and can get a lot done in a short time, but over the long haul we are simply less productive than the “write every day” people.  A big reason for this is that if you have been away from the writing for more than two days, you forget what you were doing and have to invest a lot of time in start up and remembering where you were. The turtle beats the hare every time. I have known this for years and “write every day” is the advice I give students, even though I have never successfully followed that advice for an extended period.

Today I figured out the other half of the problem. It isn’t just a problem with self-discipline.  Continue reading “going and stopping”