Summer update

(I was away so long this time that I forgot my password…)

Yes, it’s that time of year to feel bad about not getting enough accomplished as time inexorably rushes towards the start of another academic year. This time, I really haven’t accomplished much over the summer. I’ve managed to help out a colleague on a project for which I’ll get no credit (not his fault; he probably won’t get much credit either). It may provide some nice student opportunities, if anyone cares. Continue reading


The semester, a big object rolling down an incline

As we rapidly plow through the semester, the awards are starting to come out of their boxes. One of my students won one of those “female” awards and it’s all my fault. Continue reading

Life on a silver platter

When I wrote this in my previous post:

After all, 6 times as many people who grow up in the top quartile by household income in the U.S. graduate from college as compared to those of us who are [sic; should have been “were”] bottom feeders in the bottom quartile.

I had been looking at data from the 1979-1982 birth cohort in the National Longitudinal Study of Youth from a couple years ago that indicated that 54% of children growing up in the top quartile of family income had graduated from college as opposed to 9% in the bottom quartile. Considerably later than my birth cohort, but more appropriate for recent trends. In any case, six times nine is fifty-four. Except that the true number may be even worse! Right on the cover of this just released report from those commies at the Pell Institute, they quote numbers of 73% and 8%! (The 2013 numbers they quote later in the report are actually 77% and 9%; I think the cover figure is for 2012.) Either way, it’s about a factor of 9. Although my institution skews to the high side of the income spectrum, at least I don’t see very many overprivileged rich snots – outside of the professorate anyway.

College means not being…

…a fuck up.  (At least I left the profanity out of the title.  I found this one in my drafts folder from several months ago, so I decided I might as well post it.)

One of the problems with growing up poor and with relatively few opportunities is that you really can’t fuck up anywhere along the line.  If I ever have the guts, I’m going to post a more TMI description of my childhood, but the reasons I was able to go to college were:
Continue reading