starting off

I’ve been preoccupied with work and haven’t had a blogging groove this week, but The Colonel’s last post about students giving gifts has led to a thread about students bringing smorgasbordly food-spreads to their thesis and dissertation defenses. If Scatterplot contributes to reducing this practice, I would feel like this blog had made a worthy contribution to academickind. (Bringing cookies is fine but not obliged; donuts instead of cookies, even better.)

But: regarding thesis or dissertation defenses, what about the practice Continue reading “starting off”

’tis the season

You don’t have to be an economic sociologist to understand that as a professor, it is not straight forward to get gifts from students. It’s that time of the year (or maybe one of those times in addition to the end of the academic year) when gifts might appear. What to do? I haven’t developed a formal policy about this, but maybe I should.

My preference is for students not to give me gifts. And if it were to come up, I would say no ahead of time. But it doesn’t usually come up (people don’t usually say: “I’ll be stopping by to give you a gift.”) and it’s awkward and rude to reject something when someone’s already giving it to you. So what to do? Continue reading “’tis the season”

without reservation

How to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds is something about which I think (and worry and strategize) a great deal.  I’m happy that this has emerged as a topic on this site and look forward to learning from your experiences and suggestions.

In the meanwhile, here’s something incredibly easy that we can all do:

Continue reading “without reservation”


I’ve been working with an undergraduate, a senior.  She is African American, from a poor family.  None of her elders went to college, although a few cousins are doing it.  She graduated at the top of her class in an inner-city high school, where she says she never had to do any work to make As.  Her writing is markedly deficient compared to the predominantly-affluent predominantly-privileged students here, and she struggles academically.  Continue reading “disadvantage”

sociology in the news!

There is an interesting article in the NYTimes on sociologists using facebook for data. None other than one of the nominees for “best of 2007” Nicholas Christakis.

A few things strike me as interesting. First, they’re using Simmel, “triadic closure” thesis – whether your friends are also friends. Go Simmel! He’s been primed for a comeback for years now. Soon, lots of papers on sociability. Later, sociologists challenge economics with The Philosophy of Money (and fail). But back to traidic closure…

Continue reading “sociology in the news!”

digging out

Like many, we were hit with a lot of fluffy, soft snow yesterday. Although it was the idyllic childhood scene, it took all day to convince Kid that going outside would be fun. Once he got out there, he complained about being cold and refused to get out of his toboggan. Husband and I each took a turn pulling him around the block like we were sled dogs while the other shoveled. Then, we went inside for hot chocolate (“soy milk and no marshmallows, mom!”).

We’re almost dug out now, with one car out and one still buried. It’s snowing again, so it seems a bit futile, but the only choice is to shovel, shovel, shovel.