Category: teaching

Essay on study-abroad teaching forthcoming in Engaging the Age of Jane Austen (University of Iowa Press, 2019)

I couldn’t be happier that my essay “Gain Experience!: Literature, Travel, and Life” (echoing Mary Wollstonecraft’s famous advice) is forthcoming in Engaging the Age of Jane Austen, edited by Bridget Draxler and Danielle Spratt (University of Iowa Press, 2019). I’m so grateful to Bridget and Danielle for this opportunity. In the essay, I share particular […]

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The men at the wall.

Two men in tunics and hose, their backs to me, lean on the wall of a castle balcony and look down at something happening on the other side. A slim tree leafs out elegantly to the left. They’re relaxed, intent, faces totally hidden. What’s going on down there, in this picture’s entirely private world? Framed […]

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Shadow work and academia.

Reading Craig Lambert’s new book Shadow Work for research on my own manuscript, my thoughts went immediately to faculty, at my college and elsewhere. “We are living in the most prosperous era in human history,” Lambert writes, “and prosperity supposedly brings leisure. Yet, quietly, subtly, even furtively, new tasks have infiltrated our days, nibbling off […]

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Parents, college, and the student self.

The recent controversies about “free-range parenting” have me thinking about something every college professor deals with: the relationship between parents and their college-age children, which is often very different from what we experienced with our own parents when we left home.  Recently a prospective student’s parents asked me, “So, everything you are saying about self-motivation […]

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Dandelion wars.

It’s that time again: the latest round of the anti-weed, lawn-spraying wars.  In our town, this plays out not only in individual lawns but on the campus of our college, which routinely comes under fire from lots in the community and some on the faculty for its annual spraying (usually around Memorial Day.)  I am […]

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The triggering town: some thoughts on pedagogy, warnings, and experience.

Sitting in my backyard on the first warm day of the year, I’m reading my first-year college students’ last papers: personal reflections on Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” and its application to education as they want to continue to experience it. Emphasis on experience. One after another, they return to Plato’s central image: a […]

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