Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope you had a great end of the semester and are looking forward to an exciting new year.  Today, as is our tradition here at Higher Ed Professor, we’re taking a break from discussing the current issues facing higher education and tips for how to be more productive.

Instead, as my present to you, I want to share my three favorite Christmas music videos.

Take some time to relax and enjoy your family and friends.

Merry Christmas!

The Grinch

Charlie Brown Christmas Dance

John Denver and the Muppets sing 12 Days of Christmas

Why I assign term papers

In an essay for InsideHigherEd, Deborah Cohan, an associate professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina at Beaufort, makes the case for why she does not assign term papers to her students. Cohan contends that the term or research paper does not allow students to sufficiently develop their own voice or connect ideas. I found myself agreeing with her stated goals for writing assignments, but coming to dramatically different conclusions. In fact, in my own classes, I only assign research papers in an attempt to meet the goals Cohan seeks. In today’s post, I want to discuss why I assign term papers, my take on Cohan’s essay, and why I believe her goals of writing are right although her conclusions on research papers are wrong.

Photo credit: Suzy Hazelwood

The tenure decision process

The tenure decision process varies across institutions. All colleges and universities value teaching, scholarship, and service in slightly different ways and the tenure decision process is built upon institutional culture, nuance, and sheer historical quirks. While there is no way to fully describe all of the variations that exist in the tenure decision process, today’s post will describe the broad parameters and levels of review that exist at most colleges and universities.

Photo credit: UConn

At most institutions, there are three basic levels of review:  department, college/school, and institution. Again, each institution is different, but I suspect these 3 levels exist at the vast majority of colleges and universities in the United States.

Involuntary presidential turnover in American higher education

In higher education, we tend to want to study successful leaders. However, we can also learn a great deal from those leaders that end up not succeeding for whatever reason. Recently, my research assistant, Molly Ellis, and I published an article in the Journal of Higher Education on involuntary turnover among college presidents. In today’s post, I want to share the key conclusions and implications from our work.

Photo credit: Associated Press