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Critical Media Practice
"a secondary field for Harvard University graduate students

The Graduate School in Arts and Sciences offers a secondary field in Critical Media Practice (CMP) for Harvard PhD students who wish to integrate media creation into their academic work. CMP reflects changing patterns of knowledge dissemination, especially innovative research that is often conducted or presented using media practices in which written language may only play a part. Audiovisual media have relationships to the world that are distinct from exclusively verbal sign systems and are able to reveal different dimensions of understanding.  They are inherently interdisciplinary and frequently engage a broader audience than the academy alone.

Students interested in creating original interpretive projects in still or moving images, sound, installation, internet applications, or other media in conjunction with their written scholarship may apply to pursue the CMP secondary field. It connects students with courses, workshops, and advising on production of media in different formats. Critical Media Practice is overseen by the Film Study Center."



"In areas across the disciplinary map — from Anthropology to Science Studies, from Sociology, Psychology, and Government to Architecture, Literature, Engineering, and Public Health — a growing number of students and faculty are seeking to integrate media creation into their academic work. The goal of the interdepartmental GSAS secondary field in Critical Media Practice is to offer graduate students across Harvard’s various schools the opportunity to make original interpretive, creative projects in image, sound, and interactive technologies in tandem with their written scholarship.

Our students work across many disciplines and in a variety of media. They span a continuum from those using artistic practices to conduct or present their scholarly research to those whose work finds its place in the art world itself. All share an excitement for art as research. They are furthering Harvard’s prominence as a place where academic inquiry can take compelling forms beyond the written word.

The human subject is constituted by imaging as well as by language and – as C.S. Peirce, Nelson Goodman, and others have demonstrated – language alone cannot be taken as paradigmatic for meaning. Aural and visual experience is as integral to culture and social relations as is language. Recent developments in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology have emphasized that consciousness itself consists of multi-stranded networks of signification that combine fragments of imagery, sensation, and memory alongside language, both propositional and non-propositional in form.

The Critical Media Practice secondary field is designed to take advantage of the fact that audiovisual media have a distinct, unique relationship to the world than exclusively verbal sign systems. It also exploits their inherent interdisciplinarity and their broader reach beyond the academy into the public intellectual sphere.

From stunning anthropological films documenting cultural traditions to interactive databases to installations exploring engineering and design, CMP projects push the boundaries of scholarship.

CMP integrates art-making within the cognitive life of the university, and specifically the graduate curriculum. Because media practice is the central component of CMP, it is distinct from a Ph.D. program in film studies, cultural studies, or any of the particular humanities or social sciences. Instead, CMP is intended to complement — to broaden and enrich — the teaching and research being undertaken in our graduate degree programs."
harvard  criticalmediapractice  sensoryethnographylab  film  interdisciplinary  media  mediacreation  cspeirce  nelsongoodman  meaning  audio  aural  visual  multisensory  multiliteracies  consciousness  sensation  memory  language  audiovisual  srg  luciencastaing-taylor  jeffreyschnapp 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
Evaluating scholarship, or why I won’t be teaching Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism | Blayne Haggart's Orangespace
"In his review, which is a wonder of careful thinking and contextualization, Morozov performs a couple of useful services. First, he highlights the extent to which Zuboff’s argument about how surveillance capitalism works rests on a tautology – “surveillance capitalists engage in surveillance capitalism because this is what the imperatives of surveillance capitalism demand” – that leaves they why of the matter unexamined. Second, he places her squarely within an intellectual tradition of “managerial capitalism” and a wider functionalist tradition in sociology associated with Talcott Parsons. Morozov argues that partly as a result of this (unacknowledged) mindset, Zuboff fails to understand the extent to which her critique of surveillance capitalism is actually a critique of capitalism, full stop. This inability to see anything outside the mindset of capitalism accounts for the way the book just kind of finishes without suggesting any real possible paths forward other than, we need a new social movement, and surveillance capitalism must be destroyed and replaced with a better form of (digital?) capitalism.

I hadn’t made those exact connections, and Morozov’s review does a great job in concisely summing up these intellectual frameworks. And if you didn’t know anything about managerial capitalism and Alfred Chandler, or the Italian Autonomists, you could also be forgiven for not making those connections either. I knew very little about managerial capitalism, nothing of Alfred Chandler. I am familiar with Parsons and my only exposure to the Italian Autonomists was by reading Hardt and Negri’s Empire during my PhD, which was enough to convince me that I wanted nothing to do with them.

Morozov’s final conclusion is both persuasive and damning from an academic perspective. The book, he says, could be politically powerful because it is a sharp broadside against two companies – Google and Facebook – that represent a clear and present danger to society. However, it “is a step backward in our understanding of the dynamics of the digital economy.”

I think that’s about right.

I am also pretty sure that, despite the acclaim it’s getting in non-Baffler circles, I’m not going to be teaching The Age of Surveillance Capitalism in my Global Political Economy of Knowledge course, but not because I disagree with Zuboff’s argument or feel threatened by her analysis. To the contrary, she’s pretty much telling me exactly what I want to hear. Or more to the point, what I want to believe.

I’m not going to be teaching it because as an academic work, it falls far short of the standards to which we should hold ourselves. It may be a politically effective polemic, but as scholarship that advances our understanding of the world, it is sorely lacking."



"Four tells of poor academic scholarship

1. Exaggerated claims to novelty"



"2. Absence of relevant literatures"



"So. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a study of the messy interactions between economic and social imperatives. (Actually, I’d argue it’s really two linked business case studies of Facebook and Google that wants to be a study of a larger system, but that’s another matter entirely.) This means that it is a study of political economy. Which means it has to engage with the political economy literature on surveillance (a specialized literature, but it does exist) and capitalism (its entire raison d’être). I expect it to engage with particular sources, like Srnicek, like Shawn Powers and Michael Jablonski’s The Real Cyber War. With, in other words, the books that can provide context and support for, and pushback against, its argument.

And if you’re talking about big trends in capitalism and society from a critical perspective, Hannah Arendt is not your go-to. You also need to go beyond the social-science founders – Durkheim, Marx, Weber. You need to engage with the likes of Susan Strange. Or Robert Cox. Or Michael Mann, people who are interested in exactly the same issues that you are dealing with. Karl Polanyi is great, and Zuboff grabs just the right concepts from him. But He. Is. Not. Enough.

(Polanyi was also much more than an “historian,” as Zuboff identifies him. As his Wikipedia entry makes clear, he was an “economic historian, economic anthropologist, economic sociologist, political economist, historical sociologist and social philosopher. Then again, the phrase “political economy” appears only four times in this book, and exclusively in the titles of cited books and articles in the endnotes.)

Finally, if one is talking about the dangers involved in a form of power that “knows and shapes human behaviour toward others’ ends” (page 8) and Antonio Gramsci’s conception of hegemony doesn’t rate a mention, I don’t even know. Especially if it’s presented as a completely new idea (in this case “instrumentarian power” – see: Exaggerated claims of novelty). The Gramscian concept of hegemony is all about how the powerful can get other groups to buy into ideologies that may not be in their best interests.

Much of the book is about how surveillance capitalists are working to change human nature so that human thinking more closely resembles that of machine learning. Absolutely correct, but not only is this not the first time that the powers that be have worked to reshape what we think of as human nature, it’s also kind of what it means to rule a society, any society. That’s what the whole concept of hegemony is all about, as any student of Gramscian thought could tell you. Or what someone like Susan Strange or Robert Cox (the two thinkers I’m using in my own work on these very subjects) would note. Knowing that this type of activity is simply how power works in human society puts a different spin on what Zuboff is arguing. It’s not so much that surveillance capitalists are rewiring human nature, but that their ideology is antithetical to a particular type of human nature, namely one in the liberal-democratic vein. Actually engaging with the voluminous work on hegemony and the social construction of knowledge, however, would have challenged Zuboff’s argument that the knowing and shaping of “human behavior toward others’ ends” is unique to surveillance capitalism.

(Maybe the problem is with capitalism itself? As Morozov noted in a follow-up tweet, “My critique of Zuboff’s new book boils down to a paraphrase of Horkheimer: ‘If you don’t want to talk about capitalism then you’d better keep quiet about surveillance capitalism’.”)

And it’s just a bit odd that Michel Foucault doesn’t get so much as a mention beyond a reference in a footnoted title about neoliberalism. In a book that’s all about the relationship between power and knowledge."



"3. Unclear framework"



"4. Use of hyperbole: These go to eleven"



"The final verdict: No go

To be honest, before reading Morozov’s critique, watching the glowing reviews come in, I started questioning my judgment. Sure, there were flaws in the book, some of which I would have called out immediately if committed by an undergraduate, but how much did they really matter?

Part of me, I’m embarrassed to say, was swayed by the identity of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’s author. A professor emerita. From Harvard. Who had done important previous work in the field. Even though I know better, I got inside my own head, internalizing the academic class system that places certain schools and scholars above others. The “important voices” whose work is guaranteed a respectful hearing merely by virtue of their pedigree or institution.

The saddest thing is, my receptiveness to this argument from authority says as much about where I see myself in the academic food chain as it does about a Harvard professor. Even though I have witnessed the most idiotic arguments and proposals made by scholars from top-ranked universities, endured recycled banalities from leading lights with nothing to say, and read the most embarrassing articles by celebrated Ivy-league academics. Even though I will put my Canadian Carleton University education up against anyone’s from Oxford or Yale or Harvard. I know this.

And yet, there was that part of me, whispering, But look at who she is. She’s an Authority. Look at all the praise she’s getting, the panels she’s on. Maybe you’re just being judgmental. Maybe you’re being too critical. Maybe you’re wrong.

Well, maybe I am wrong, but a failure to produce an honest critique because of our respective places in the academic food chain is the absolutely worst reason not to make the critique. One of my proudest moments as a teacher was when I heard that a second-year student had written a fantastic, well-researched and impeccably argued paper about how I’d been wrong about something I’d claimed in my Introduction to International Relations class. (And she was right.) We should expect all academics to live up to the same standards we set for our students.

So, no. After spending an entire work week reading this book, after taking over 100 pages of notes and thinking about it constantly for far too long afterwards, I do not believe that The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a good piece of scholarship. It is not careful in its presentation of evidence. It chooses hyperbole over accuracy. It fails to engage with the relevant literatures and critical voices that would challenge what ends up being a one-sided, almost existentially bleak argument.

Its lack of engagement with the relevant literatures makes possible the blind spots, trenchantly catalogued by Morozov, regarding surveillance capitalism’s relationship to capitalism, as well as those regarding the role of the state as something more than a bit player in this epic story. These impair the book’s value in terms of its analysis and, as Morozov’s comments about Zuboff’s failure to consider the “capitalism” part of “surveillance capitalism” suggest, its prescriptions. Why the book … [more]
blaynehaggart  shoshanazuboff  evgneymorozov  criticsm  surveillancecapitalism  mnagerialism  harvard  pedigree  academia  hierarchy  criticism  robertcox  highered  highereducation  michelfoucault  hannaharendt  hyperbole  2019  hegemony  technology  economics  politics  policy  scholarship  authority  elitism 
march 2019 by robertogreco
“When You Get That Wealthy, You Start to Buy Your Own Bullshit”: The Miseducation of Sheryl Sandberg | Vanity Fair
"Harvard Business School invented the “leadership” industry—and produced a generation of corporate monsters. No wonder Sandberg, one of the school’s most prominent graduates, lacks a functioning moral compass."



"The truth is, Harvard Business School, like much of the M.B.A. universe in which Sandberg was reared, has always cared less about moral leadership than career advancement and financial performance. The roots of the problem can be found in the School’s vaunted “Case Method,” a discussion-based pedagogy that asks students to put themselves in the role of corporate Übermensch. At the start of each class, one unlucky soul is put in the hot seat, presented with a “what would you do” scenario, and then subjected to the ruthless interrogation of their peers. Graded on a curve, the intramural competition can be intense—M.B.A.s are super-competitive, after all.

Let’s be clear about this: in business, as in life, there isn’t always one correct answer. So the teaching of a decision-making philosophy that is deliberate and systematic, but still open-minded, is hardly controversial on its face. But to help students overcome the fear of sounding stupid and being remorselessly critiqued, they are reminded, in case after case—and with emphasis—that there are no right answers. And that has had the unfortunate effect of opening up a chasm of moral equivalence in too many of their graduates.

And yet, there are obviously many situations where some answers are more right than others. Especially when it comes to moral issues like privacy, around which both Sandberg and Facebook have a history of demonstrating poor judgment. While H.B.S. is correct in its assertion that it produces people who can make decisions, the fact of the matter is that they have never emphasized how to make the right ones.

Consider investment banker Bowen McCoy’s “The Parable of the Sadhu,” published in Harvard Business Review in 1977, and again 20 years later. It addressed what seemed, at least to the H.B.S. crowd, to be an ethical dilemma. McCoy was on a trip to the Himalayas when his expedition encountered a sadhu, or holy man, near death from hypothermia and exposure. Their compassion extended only to clothing the man and leaving him in the sun, before continuing on to the summit. One of McCoy’s group saw a “breakdown between the individual ethic and the group ethic,” and was gripped by guilt that the climbers had not made absolutely sure that the sadhu made it down the mountain alive. McCoy’s response: “Here we are . . . at the apex of one of the most powerful experiences of our lives. . . . What right does an almost naked pilgrim who chooses the wrong trail have to disrupt our lives?”

McCoy later felt guilt over the incident, but his parable nevertheless illustrated the extent to which aspiring managers might justify putting personal accomplishment ahead of collateral damage—including the life of a dying man. The fact that H.B.S. enthusiastically incorporated said parable into its curriculum says far more about the fundamental mindset of the school than almost anything else that has come out of it. The “dilemma” was perfectly in line with the thinking at H.B.S. that an inability to clearly delineate the right choice in business isn’t the fault of the chooser but rather a fundamental characteristic of business, itself.

Here’s a slightly more recent example: remember Jeff Skilling? Like Sandberg, he graduated from H.B.S. and went to work at McKinsey. And like Sandberg, he left McKinsey for a C-suite gig—in his case, Enron—that took him to the stratosphere. Again like Sandberg, he basked in adulation over his ability to deliver shareholder returns. Skilling had done so, of course, by turning Enron into one of the greatest frauds the world has ever seen.

One of Skilling’s H.B.S. classmates, John LeBoutillier, who went on to be a U.S. congressman, later recalled a case discussion in which the students were debating what the C.E.O. should do if he discovered that his company was producing a product that could be potentially fatal to consumers. “I’d keep making and selling the product,” he recalled Skilling saying. “My job as a businessman is to be a profit center and to maximize return to the shareholders. It’s the government’s job to step in if a product is dangerous.” Several students nodded in agreement, recalled LeBoutillier. “Neither Jeff nor the others seemed to care about the potential effects of their cavalier attitude. . . . At H.B.S. . . . you were then, and still are, considered soft or a wuss if you dwell on morality or scruples.”

Why do so many M.B.A.s struggle to make the ethical decisions that seem so clear to the rest of us? Is it right to employ a scummy P.R. firm to deflect attention from our failures? Is it O.K. if we bury questions about user privacy and consent under a mountain of legalese? Can we get away with repeatedly choosing profits over principles and then promising that we will do better in the future?

If you think this kind of thing isn’t still going on at Harvard Business School—or wasn’t going on when Sandberg graduated in 1995—I refer you to Michel Anteby, who joined the faculty 10 years later, in 2005. At first enthusiastic, Anteby was soon flummoxed by the complete absence of normative viewpoints in classroom discussion. “I grew up in France where there were very articulated norms,” he told the BBC in 2015. “Higher norms and lower norms. Basically, you have convictions of what was right or wrong, and when I tried to articulate this in the classroom, I encountered . . . silence on the part of students. Because they weren’t used to these value judgments in the classroom.”

Eight years after his arrival, Anteby published Manufacturing Morals: The Values of Silence in Business School Education. The book was not published by Harvard but the University of Chicago Press. Calling the case system an “unscripted journey” for students, it was one of the first times an insider had joined the chorus of outsiders who have long criticized the case method as one that glamorizes the C.E.O.-as-hero, as well as the overuse of martial terminology in business curricula. (The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Mark Zuckerberg currently considers Facebook “at war.”)

“H.B.S. studies everybody under the sun,” Anteby told me in early 2015. “There is no reason we should be off limits.” Alas, they were. Not long after his book was published, Anteby came to believe that H.B.S. would not grant him tenure, and left the school soon after. “He is an unbelievably productive and smart guy,” one of his supporters, the University of Michigan’s Jerry Davis, told me later that year. “And they fired him. Probably because H.B.S. wasn’t the right place to have a conversation about itself. It would be like being at Versailles in 1789, offering up leadership secrets of Louis XIV. The really unfortunate part is that he wasn’t as harsh as he should have been, because he was up for tenure.”

The absence of voices like Anteby’s are evident to this day, and an ongoing indictment of the culture that turned Facebook from a Harvard sophomore’s dorm-room project into what passes for a Harvard Business School success story. Return one last time to the H.B.R. Web site, and you will find a case study that was published just a few months ago entitled “Facebook—Can Ethics Scale in the Digital Age?” Set aside the abuse of the English language in the question—M.B.A.s specialize in that kind of thing. The mere fact that it’s being asked serves as resounding proof that the moral equivalence problem is still with us today. The question is not whether or not a company of Facebook’s size and reach can stay ethical. The question is whether it will even try."
harvard  harvardbusinessschool  ethics  sherylsandberg  facebook  2018  business  careerism  morality  hbs  via:nicoleslaw  leadership  billclinton  mba  mbas  harvardbusinessrevie  hbr  duffmcdonald  competition  competitiveness  winning  decisionmaking  billgeorge  larrysummers  abrahamzaleznik  johnleboutillier  jeffskilling  bowenmccoy  michelanteby  norms  values  capitalism  neoliberalism 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Book Pins Corporate Greed on a Lust Bred at Harvard - The New York Times
"It is hard to overstate the school’s influence on corporate America.

That’s why a new, exhaustive history of the school is causing a stir before it is even out. The book, “The Golden Passport,” by the veteran business journalist Duff McDonald, is a richly reported indictment of the school as a leading reason that corporate America is disdained by much of the country.

“The Harvard Business School became (and remains) so intoxicated with its own importance that it blithely assumed away one of the most important questions it could ask, which was whether the capitalist system it was uniquely positioned to help improve was designed properly for the long term,” Mr. McDonald writes in the book, to be released in two weeks.

His answer? “With economic inequality at a hundred-year high and meaningful progress on climate change and other social and environmental issues embarrassingly paltry, the answer to that question is obvious. It is not.”

Citing a report from the Aspen Institute, Mr. McDonald explains that “when students enter business school, they believe that the purpose of a corporation is to produce goods and services for the benefit of society.”

“When they graduate,” he continues, “they believe that it is to maximize shareholder value.”

Mr. McDonald brilliantly tells the story of the school’s creation in 1908, when its mission was to educate the next generation of business managers. Edwin Gay, its first dean, defined business as the “activity of making things to sell at a profit — decently.”

But, the author says, somewhere during the mid-1980s, something went very wrong: “The money got too good.”

The money he refers to is the tsunami of job offers that Harvard students received from Wall Street, and the funding the school raked in from its well-heeled alumni.

In fairness, Harvard Business School makes an easy punching bag, given its stature as the top feeder for big business. This is hardly the first time the institution has been criticized.

And it is too much to paint all 76,000-plus alumni as being ethically challenged, as Mr. McDonald appears to imply. Indeed, many of the school’s vaunted alumni are among the most talented executives in the country, and many are trying to think about stakeholders holistically.

Yet in example after example, Mr. McDonald sets out his thesis that money and influence have distorted both the school’s curriculum and the worldview espoused by its professors, who themselves are on the payroll of corporate America as part-time advisers and consultants."
harvard  capitalism  2017  power  duffmcdonald  andrewrosssorkin  michaeljensen  greed 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Universities Are Becoming Billion-Dollar Hedge Funds With Schools Attached | The Nation
" Students are beginning to urge divestment."



"All told, hedge funds have over $3 trillion worth of assets under management globally. In theory, they exist to provide a “hedge” to protect investor portfolios in tough times. Hedging, seen in this light, is simply one investment strategy among many. In practice, however, they are alternative investment vehicles that tend to be housed offshore to avoid oversight and taxes, which means they are largely unregulated, face minimal disclosure requirements, and can engage in all sorts of risky bets and market manipulations.

Not long ago universities were, in the words of one report, “careful stewards of endowment income” and avoided such shenanigans. In the early seventies Harvard and Yale spearheaded committees on investor responsibility and devised ethical investment policies for endowments that considered things like social impact. In the nineties things began to change. Many schools, private and public, have become high-risk gamblers, with finance overtaking fundraising as the main engine of endowment growth. A more aggressive approach to investing paid off—until the economy melted down and caused some endowments to lose up to 30 percent of their value.

But experts and activists have other concerns. Some commentators, for example, are troubled by public tax-exempt educational institutions doing business with companies notorious for dodging taxes in offshore havens. More generally, tax exemption is a giant government subsidy that disproportionately benefits elite schools (the ones that attract the biggest donations and earn the largest investment returns), thus further polarizing an educational system already separated into haves and have-nots.

And it gets worse. In a report called “Educational Endowments and the Financial Crisis,” Joshua Humphreys, president and senior fellow at Croatan Institute points to an even more disturbing consequence of risky investment practices. By embracing speculative trading tactics, exotic derivatives, hedge funds and private equity, “endowments played a role in magnifying certain systemic risks in the capital markets,” Humphreys writes. What’s more, their initial success encouraged other institutional investors (think pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and foundations) to follow in their footsteps, amplifying the system’s overall volatility and instability. In other words, endowments were not just innocent victims of the 2008 financial crisis, but actually helped enable it.

“Hedge funds, as they were initially conceived, have a potential role to play in a long-term endowment seeking to ‘hedge’ certain risks,” Humphreys told me, making clear he’s hesitant to write them off entirely. “But their arbitrarily high fee structures, the excessive compensation of their managers, and their deliberate evasion of taxes and transparency make hedge funds easy targets for stakeholders rightly concerned about the simmering crisis of higher education today.”"



" The time has come for students to connect the dots between ballooning student debt, the poor treatment of campus workers, and the obscene wealth of hedge fund oligarchs. Once they do, they can fight back by following in the footsteps of recent mobilizations against the financial sector. In 2013, a group called Kick Wall Street Off Campus forced Minnesota’s Macalester College to move some, though not all, of its money out of Wells Fargo to protest the bank’s role in community foreclosures. In June of last year, Santa Cruz County pulled together to get its money out of five giant banks—including Citicorp and JPMorgan Chase and Barclays—that pleaded guilty in the spring to felony charges that they rigged the world’s foreign-currency market. Similar campaigns could easily be waged against university endowment partnerships with hedge funds.

Of course, kicking hedge funds of campus won’t solve the college crisis or instantly reform the financial sector. Nevertheless, targeting hedge funds remains a promising tactic for uniting students and workers against hedge funds’ efforts to increase inequality, and using our tuition dollars and public subsidies to do so. This tactic would be especially effective at public institutions where divestment campaigns should be coupled with calls for increased state funding for higher education and better pay for low-wage workers.

“It’s easy to feel powerless, but hedge funds need university endowments, just like they also need public pensions. If that money was taken away, it would really affect them,” Strain says, and he’s right. Campus divestment movements have a proven track record, going back to campaigns against Apartheid in the 1980s. Over the last few years, climate activists have pressured school trustees to divert trillions of dollars from fossil fuels, and last year Columbia became the first university to divest from private prisons. Hedge funds deserve to be next on the chopping block."
astrataylor  education  neoliberalism  2016  universities  colleges  endowments  divestment  finance  politics  money  hedgefunds  highered  highereducation  nonprofit  taxes  taxation  funding  inequality  ivyleague  harvard  princeton  stanford  yalconflisctsofinterest  nonprofits 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Why Harvard should be taxed ["Harvard is a 'hedge fund with a university attached to it'"] - Business Insider
"“The joke about Harvard is that it’s a hedge fund with a university attached to it,” Mark Schneider tells me. It’s a quip that, for obvious reasons, has become pretty popular in recent years.

In 2014, the university’s legendary endowment, overseen by a team of in-house experts and spread across a mind-bending array of investments that range from stocks and bonds to California wine vineyards, hit $36.4 billion.

“They’re just collecting tons, and tons, and tons of money,” says Schneider, a former Department of Education official who is currently a fellow at the American Institutes for Research.

Of course, normal hedge funds have to pay taxes on their earnings. Because it’s a nonprofit, Harvard doesn’t. And since bestowing tax exemptions is the same as spending cash from the government’s perspective (budgeteers call them “tax expenditures” for a reason), that means the American public effectively subsidizes Harvard’s moneymaking engine.

The same goes for Stanford (endowment: $21.4 billion), Princeton (endowment: $21 billion), Yale (endowment$23.9 billion), and the country’s other elite institutions of higher education.

Aiding wealthy research universities that cater to largely affluent undergraduates might have been acceptable in a more flush era. But at a time when state colleges are still suffering from deep budget cuts that have driven up tuition and politicians are stretching for ways to make school more affordable for middle-class students, clawing back some of that cash to spend on needier schools is starting to sound awfully appealing. Which is why it might just be time to start taxing Harvard and its cohort.

This isn’t a new idea by any stretch—in 2008, lawmakers in Massachusetts considered slapping a 2.5 percent tax on large university endowments—but Schneider has made an especially intriguing case for it."



"Another quandary: Today, the government generally doesn’t tax savings. It taxes income. So why take a cut of wealth from colleges when we don’t do it to individuals? As Kim Rueben, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, put it to me, “We’re going to tax Harvard, but we’re not going to tax Warren Buffet?”

And, of course, there might be unintended consequences. Even with write-offs for financial aid, taxing endowments could encourage schools to spend less on things society generally likes, such as new research labs. The government could tax schools and require them to spend a minimum amount, which is how it treats private foundations. But then you have to consider to what creative lengths Harvard might go to avoid the IRS.

Cutting down the tax advantages of rich schools, obviously, would not be simple. But it still worth seriously considering the idea. Maybe we should consider taxing the Met as well. Maybe the government could stick to what it knows and tax Harvard’s capital gains instead of its whole endowment. Maybe we could learn to live with a little tax avoidance. However we choose to do it, I think we’d all like to spend a little less money sending other people’s kids to Harvard."
colleges  highered  highereducation  nonprofit  universities  money  finance  taxes  taxation  funding  inequality  ivyleague  harvard  endowments  princeton  stanford  yale  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  government  hedgefunds  jordanweissmann  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  nonprofits  capitalism  power  control 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Black in Design Conference
"Harvard's first Black in Design Conference, October 9 - 10, 2015

The Black in Design Conference, organized by the African American Student Union (AASU) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) seeks to simultaneously recognize the contributions of African Descendants to the design field and broaden our definition of what it means to be a designer. In doing so, we must recognize that it is designers who construct our built environment, which in turn contributes to social inequity within our lived experience.

We believe that the first step towards addressing social injustice within design is including the histories of underrepresented groups in design pedagogy. We hope that this conference will serve as a call to action for the GSD to instill within each and every student who passes through its doors the responsibility to build just and equitable spaces at every scale."
design  race  africanamericans  harvard  blackness 
august 2015 by robertogreco
John Green's tumblr • Fascinating chart from The Economist (not famed...
"Fascinating chart from The Economist (not famed for its liberal bias) showing how already-rich universities are receiving the most gifts from donors.

In the accompanying article, they write, “Philanthropy may be tilting America’s higher education system even further in favour of the rich.” 

I don’t think there’s any maybe about it. 

Harvard is (obviously) a great school. And because Harvard has an endowment of $32 billion, they can afford to give out a lot of scholarship aid; in fact, over 70% of their students receive aid; the amount is calculated based on family income and assets.

But at least according to Harvard’s financial aid calculator, you have to be ungodly rich not to be in that >70% of kids who receive scholarships. Like, if your parents make $150,000 a year, you personally have a $100,000 trust fund, and your parents have $1,000,000 of assets (not including their home), you get a scholarship.

The ~28% of Harvard students who don’t get merit scholarships are RICHER than that. Basically, over a quarter of Harvard student are in the top 5% of Americans when it comes to income and wealth. 

Meanwhile, as seen in the chart above, less-rich schools attract less donation money, which leads to smaller endowments and fewer scholarship dollars, which means more students have to take out loans, which only increases the U.S.’s already untenable economic inequality."
universities  highered  highereducation  endowments  2015  inequality  wealth  donations  harvard  riceuniversity  financialaid  loands  studentloans  debt  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  stanford  yale  princeton  sartmouth  duke  johnshopkins  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  capitalism  power  control 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Rox and Roll: Parents: let Harvard go
"I want to tell every parent reading this post that you need to assume, right now, that your child is not getting into Harvard no matter what he or she does. (And no, he's not getting into Stanford either, or Yale, or Dartmouth, or MIT. Probably not UC Berkeley either. No, I'm not kidding.) Your kid isn't getting into the college you think he is.

What? So-and-so's child is at Princeton right now? and got what on his SATs? and did those activities? Hmmm. Interesting. Sure, you can prove me wrong with some examples. And I can prove myself right with a hundred more. Stanford's rate of admission was below 5% last year. Do the math.

In the spirit of "I want to do something," I offer below some Q & A that I hope y'all read and take to heart. These are real questions asked by real parents of real kids I know within the past year. I didn't answer these questions at the time exactly like I did below, but I answer them here and now based on a combination of my expertise in admissions (noting that nothing I say here should be construed as official advice or information given on behalf of any school) as well as my experience as a community leader and parent.

And be forewarned: I'm going to be a bit of a wise-ass, 'cause we all need to calm down like Martha says, which also means "lighten up" in my book.

But also, I promise a reward at the end: questions that I wish people would ask me instead. And I think -- I hope -- it's some valuable stuff."



"Post-publication note: This posts seems to have reached a lot of people who have a lot of strong reactions to it. I think the comment that reached me most on another person's Facebook page is one from a parent who thinks I am encouraging mediocrity. The snarky part of me wants to tell the dude he's right, that I tell my kids "aim low." But the truth is, this post is far from encouraging mediocrity or "settling" for anything less than a child can feel good about achieving. As a Palo Alto parent, I am tired of our culture of 'achievement' as defined by grades, scores, college admissions, and the like. And I am unapologetic about that. I have worked with our community's teens as a coach, as a youth minister, as a mentor, and as a parent, and I encourage every kid to be their best self. That means being proud of their work, whether in the classroom, on the playing field, and/or in the world. Do I think they need to engage in competition for one of those 15 slots at Stanford (there is no fixed number, and I wouldn't know it if there were) by trying to outwit, outplay, and outlast (to borrow "Survivor" lingo)? Nope. And beyond that, there are going to be times when our kids just don't want to work hard because they're kids and continue to push boundaries. They're going to blow off studying for a test. They're going to fail something. Good. That's right -- I said good. Their mistakes teach them that actions have consequences and that their effort ties to their outcomes. We can't give them that with carrots or with sticks. They'll figure it out. They want to do well -- as they define it. (They know what's up with college admissions without us even getting involved, parents.) And the more they figure out for themselves, with no message from us other than "we take you as you are and want you to be healthy and fulfilled," the healthier our kids are going to be. I want nothing but the best for our village's kids -- for any kids-- and I stuck my neck out there with the post because I refuse to define the "best" as it has been anymore. The best for our kids is no more of them self-harming in any way, and I feel like we can alleviate some of that by changing our tone."
colleges  universityis  admissions  parenting  2014  via:willrichardson  stress  pressure  anxiety  aps  ivyleague  motivation  harvard  collegeadmissions  testing  standardizedtesting  success  achievement  mediocrity  grades  grading  standards  sleep  teens  adolescence  highschool  schools  education  competition  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  apclasses 
november 2014 by robertogreco
The immorality of college admissions - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
""We admit students without any regard for financial need - a policy we call 'need-blind admission'," Harvard's website proudly proclaims. Harvard charges $54,496 per year for tuition, room and board, but waives the fees for families making less than $60,000 per year.

This would be a laudable policy were Harvard admitting low-income students in any significant numbers, but they are not. Instead, they fill their ranks with the children of the elite portrayed in Miller's article - elites who drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on private schools, exorbitant "enrichment" activities, and personal tutors that almost no Americans can afford.

Harvard's admission is "need-blind" only in that it turns a blind eye to actual need. Like many universities, it increases its number of aid recipients by inflating its price tag. With tuition higher than the median US household income, students from families making $200,000 are now deemed poor enough to qualify for financial aid.

"You can afford Harvard," the admissions site boasts, noting that 70 percent of students receive assistance. They neglect to mention that this 70 percent represents some of the wealthiest people in the country.

This is not to say that a family making $100,000 or even $200,000 does not merit financial aid to attend Harvard. They do, but only because Harvard charges obscenely high tuition, despite having an endowment of over $30 billion. Their price tag functions as a social signifier and a "go away" sign, a sticker designed to shock - and deter.

Harvard is but one of many US universities whose admissions policies ensure that the entering class is comprised of the ruling class. Studies by the New America Foundation note that most merit aid goes to wealthy families, and that "merit aid policy is associated with a decrease in the percentage of low-income and black students, particularly at the more selective institutions."

While universities like Harvard keep out the poor by redefining wealth as poverty, others practice more blatant discrimination. At George Washington University, students who cannot pay full tuition are put on a waitlist while wealthier students are let in. In 2012, less than 1 percent of waitlisted students were admitted.

Like Harvard, George Washington had advertised itself as "need-blind" until revelations of its admissions process came to light. It now defines itself as "need-aware" - a phrase which implies they are aware of need, but seemingly unconcerned with fulfilling it."



"Students whose parents pay tens of thousands for SAT tutors to help their child take the test over and over compete against students who struggle to pay the fee to take the test once. Students who spend afternoons on "enrichment" activities compete against students working service jobs to pay bills - jobs which don't "count" in the admissions process. Students who shell out for exotic volunteer trips abroad compete with students of what C Z Nnaemeka termed "the un-exotic underclass" - the poor who have "the misfortune of being insufficiently interesting", the poor who make up most of the US today.

For upper class parents, the college admissions process has become a test of loyalty: What will you spend, what values will you compromise, for your child to be accepted? For lower class parents, admissions is a test failed at birth: An absence of wealth guised as a deficiency of merit. In the middle are the students, stranded players in a rigged game."



"A higher education system that once promoted social mobility now serves to solidify class barriers. Desperate parents compromise their principles in order to spare their children rejection. But it is the system itself that must be rejected. True merit cannot be bought - and admission should not be either."
class  colleges  universities  2013  sarahkendzior  harvard  collegeadmissions  inequality  admissions  economics  meritocracy  testprep 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Tomgram: Todd Gitlin, Climate Change as a Business Model | TomDispatch
"Transforming the world is something like winning a war. If the objective is to eliminate a condition like hunger, mass violence, or racial domination, then the institutions and systems of power that produce, defend, and sustain this condition have to be dislodged and defeated. For that, most people have to stop experiencing the condition -- and the enemy that makes it possible -- as abstractions “out there.”

A movement isn’t called that for nothing. It has to move people. It needs lovers, and friends, and allies. It has to generate a cascade of feeling -- moral feeling. The movement’s passion has to become a general passion. And that passion must be focused: the concern that people feel about some large condition “out there” has to find traction closer to home.

Vis-à-vis the slow-motion apocalypse of climate change, there’s plenty of bad news daily and it’s hitting ever closer home, even if you live in the parching Southwest or the burning West, not the Philippines or the Maldive Islands. Until recently, however, it sometimes felt as if the climate movement was spinning its wheels, gaining no traction. But the extraordinary work of Bill McKibben and his collaborators at 350.org, and the movements against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and its Canadian equivalent, the Northern Gateway pipeline, have changed the climate-change climate.

Now, the divestment movement, too, becomes a junction point where action in the here-and-now, on local ground, gains momentum toward a grander transformation. These movements are the hinges on which the door to a livable future swings."
toddgitlin  sustainability  2013  climatechange  divestment  investment  harvard  movements  energy  fossilfuels  bigenergy  change  revolution  history  transformation 
november 2013 by robertogreco
The Future of Libraries: Short on Books, Long on Tech | TIME.com
"A shift is needed. To move libraries from places where you look up facts to those where you learn skills and engage in new experiences. Instead of “shushing” librarians and stilted study rooms, libraries often have integrated art galleries, coffee shops and even cafeterias. And some are even exploring the idea of a 21st century gathering space.

At Harvard, a group of students from the Graduate School of Design created a pop-up space, called the “Labrary,” which shows how a library can move to digital yet still stay vital. Open since last November, the Labrary showcases projects ranging from edible telegrams made with graham crackers and 3-D icing printers to an online photo opera where visitors enter a murder mystery photo booth and experience “death by technology.” The flexible, connected space also brings together workshops to serve the community.

Libraries are also pushing to offer spaces for kids to hang out, play games and learn in what’s being called a “maker culture.” Three years ago, the Chicago Public Library started its YouMedia program to engage kids with interactive learning programs like those focusing on laser cutters and 3-D printers. In Chattanooga, for example, a record-setting 1,200 people stopped by the library in one day to check out large-scale industrial models, 3-D scanners and an experimental 3-D videoconferencing system using Kinect cameras. And Kids in other libraries can do more than use gadgets — they can learn soldering and circuitry to build them.

In some ways, libraries are doing what they’ve always done: adapting to technology, whether by collecting documents, storing records and videotapes or offering e-books and computer terminals. Today, they’re under pressure to give more and create spaces that connect people to information and ideas.

Books won’t fade, but with so many other mediums to explore, libraries, especially those with technology, can enhance skills. Access itself isn’t enough: libraries need to harness the sheer overabundance of information in the digital age and become facilitators to help us sort through the avalanche."
libraries  future  chrystiehill  bexarcounty  sanantonio  books  ebooks  youmedia  chicago  labrary  harvard  brewsterkahle  digital  technology  library2.0  learning  education  unschooling  deschooling  chattanooga  ncsu  thirdspaces  museums 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Sensory Ethnography Lab :: Harvard University
"The Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL) at Harvard supports innovative combinations of aesthetics and ethnography that deploy original media practices to explore the bodily praxis and affective fabric of human and animal existence, and the aesthetics and ontology of the natural world. Harnessing perspectives drawn from the arts, the human sciences, and the humanities, works produced in the SEL encourage attention to the many dimensions of life and the world that may only with difficulty be rendered with words alone. "
harvard  filmmaking  glvo  anthropology  ethnography  luciencastaing-taylor  documentaries  documentary  sensoryethnographylab  media  mediaanthropology 
january 2013 by robertogreco
The Merger of Academia and Art House: Harvard Filmmakers’ Messy World - NYTimes.com
"TUCKED within the syllabus for a class that the filmmaker and anthropologist Lucien Castaing-Taylor teaches at Harvard is a rhetorical question that sums up his view of nonfiction film: “If life is messy and unpredictable, and documentary is a reflection of life, should it not be digressive and open-ended too?”

Straddling academia and the art house, Mr. Castaing-Taylor and his associates and students at the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard have been responsible for some of the most daring and significant documentaries of recent years, works that…challenge the conventions of both ethnographic film and documentary in general.

Documentary, as practiced in this country today, is a largely informational genre, driven by causes or personalities. The ethnographic film, traditionally the province of anthropologists investigating the cultures of others, is in some ways even more rigid, charged with analyzing data and advancing arguments. In both cases the emphasis is on content over form…"
fluc  form  content  openendedness  unpredictability  messiness  filmmaking  video  gopro  jacobribicoff  ernstkarel  dzigavertov  kino-eye  mobydick  edg  srg  glvo  cinema  libbiedincohn  jpsniadecki  vérénaparavel  ilisabarbash  sweetgrass  jeanrouch  robertgardner  filmstudycenter  documentaries  storytelling  life  depicitonoflife  narrative  2012  luciencastaing-taylor  harvard  anthropology  ethnography  documentary  film  sensoryethnographylab  moby-dick 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Videos of student projects from Jeffrey Schnapp's "Library Test Kitchen" course | Harvard Magazine
"Below, watch videos on several of the projects, including a Neo-Carrel sleeping chair created by Graduate School of Design student Vera Baranova; a WiFi cold spot; and Biblio, a “library friend” that scans books, tracks and shares research, and even makes bibliographic recommendations for further study (both projects created by Ben Brady, M.Arch ’12)."

[See also: http://harvardmagazine.com/2012/07/library-test-kitchen ]
jeffreyschnapp  prototyping  furniture  2012  library  libraries  harvard  metalab  librarytestkitchen 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Harvard Releases Big Data for Books - NYTimes.com
"Harvard is making public the information on more than 12 million books, videos, audio recordings, images, manuscripts, maps, and more things inside its 73 libraries. Harvard can’t put the actual content of much of this material online, owing to intellectual property laws, but this so-called metadata of things like titles, publication or recording dates, book sizes or descriptions of what is in videos is also considered highly valuable."
Harvard  2012  metadata  libraries  via:Preoccupations 
april 2012 by robertogreco
www.librarytestkitchen.org [Library Test Kitchen]
"This is a seminar about making. It’s run out of the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Spring, 2012. We will focus on creating products, services & experiences, broadly defined, for the Harvard Library community. With generous funding provided by Prof. Robert Darnton and the Harvard Library Lab, projects will be deployed in «Test Kitchens» — partner libraries, such as the Loeb and Widener Libraries, that allocate portions of their public space to these experiments."
loebdesignlibrary  librarytestkitchen  librarians  harvard  library  libraries 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Harvard Library Lab | Office for Scholarly Communication
"Harvard Library has established the Harvard Library Lab in order to create better services for students and faculty and to join with others in fashioning the information society of the future.

By offering infrastructure and financial support for new enterprises, the Lab offers opportunities for individuals to innovate, cooperate across projects, and make original contributions to the way libraries work.

The Lab leverages the entrepreneurial aspirations of people throughout the library system and beyond and promotes projects in all areas of library activity. Proposals from faculty and students anywhere in the university are welcome and the Lab encourages collaboration with MIT."
harvardlibrarylab  library  harvard  libraries 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Harvard Library Innovation Laboratory at Harvard Law School
"What is the Harvard Library Innovation Laboratory?
We are a small group within the Harvard University Library system that implements in software ideas about how libraries can be ever more valuable.

What do you do?
We hack libraries...in the good sense of discovering and delivering more capability and value.

Can you be a little more specific?
We work in three broad areas:
1. We think in public.
2. We build software that demonstrates how libraries can bring yet more value to scholars and researchers.
3. We amplify our effect by eagerly partnering with other groups with similar passions."
harvardlibrarylab  libraries  future  books  library  harvard 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Cooking up some dishes in the Library Test Kitchen | metaLAB (at) Harvard
"Bibliotheca II, alias “son of Bibliotheca” (last semester’s seminar/studio jointly run by Jeffrey Schnapp & John Palfrey), has now been launched with the help of Ann Whiteside (chief librarian at the Loeb Design Library), Jeff Goldenson (Law Library Innovation Lab), and Ben Brady (GSD). Otherwise known as The Library Test Kitchen or the “library rapid prototyping lab,” it’s being generously funded by the Harvard Library Lab. Questions of every kind are on the table regarding the future of libraries from signage to furniture, policies to experiences. The point is to build stuff: to translate “ah-ha” insights into actual devices, to fabricate the next new online/offline appliance (or at least a plausible iteration of such an appliance). Once these exist, we plan to deploy & test them in partner libraries, such as the Loeb Design, Widener & Fine Arts Libraries, that allocate portions of their public space to experimentation. We’ll be posting our progress to www.librarytestkitchen.org ."
harvardlibrarylab  loebdesignlibrary  harvard  librarytestkitchen  benbrady  jeffgoldenson  annwhiteside  johnpalfrey  jeffreyschnapp  2012  library  future  libraries  metalab 
february 2012 by robertogreco
China. The Full On Harvard Course. : China Law Blog : China Law for Business
"Malcolm Riddell at China Debate just did a post noting how Harvard University has posted online (for free!) a 37 class course on China.

The 37 lectures were filmed as they were given as part of a course entitled, China: Traditions and Transformations. The course was/is taught by William C. Kirby and Peter K. Bol.  

Here is the course description:

Modern China presents a dual image: a society transforming itself through economic development and social revolution; and the world’s largest and oldest bureaucratic state, coping with longstanding problems of economic and political management. Both images bear the indelible imprint of China’s historical experience, of its patterns of philosophy and religion, and of its social and political thought. These themes are discussed in order to understand China in the modern world and as a great world civilization that developed along lines different from those of the Mediterranean."
philosophy  religion  openlearning  opencourseware  harvard  politics  economics  society  china 
january 2012 by robertogreco
A College Education for All, Free and Online - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"Most elite American colleges are content to spend their vast resources on gilding their palaces of exclusivity. They worry that extending their reach might dilute their brand…Righteousness is easy; generosity is hard. In any event, Harvard's public-relations wizards managed to spin the university's decision to subsidize tuition for families making three times the median household income as a triumph of egalitarianism. The institution could easily use a program designed to help desperately needy students living in political, environmental, & economic turmoil to burnish Harvard's brand.<br />
<br />
If Harvard doesn't seize the opportunity, some other university will. Reshef is the first to tell you that he didn't invent any of the tools that UoPeople employs…<br />
<br />
If colleges with the means to do so don't contribute to the cause, they will at best have betrayed their obligations & their ideals. At worst, they will find themselves curating beautiful museums of a higher-education time gone by."
universityofthepeople  highereducation  elearning  education  egalitarianism  harvard  elitism  class  ideals  highered  learning  online  uopeople  2011  shaireshef  opencourseware  openaccess 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Paris Review – Harvard and Class, Misha Glouberman
"I arrived at Harvard from Montreal…[specifics]…It was a pretty cool, fun, & exciting life for a kid…It was a very vibrant place, and young people were really part of the life of the city.

Then when I went to Harvard, the place was full of these nominally smart, interesting people, all of whom at the age of 18 seemed perfectly happy to live in dormitories & be on a meal plan & live a fully institutional life…

I spent my first year trying to figure out how to participate in the life of the city in some way, but by the end of my first year I think I gave up because the pull of the university community was so strong and the boundaries were so hard to overcome…

In Montreal I knew a lot of really interesting people doing interesting things, and there was a lot less of that at Harvard than I would have expected. In retrospect it’s not surprising. At a certain level, an institution like that is going to attract people who are very good at playing by the rules."
education  society  institutions  conformity  harvard  ivyleague  mishaglouberman  inequality  class  us  ivorytower  colleges  universities  montreal  cities  integration  meritocracy  unschooling  deschooling  learning  meaning  meaningmaking  rules  rulefollowing 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Think Tank: The 'Veritas' About Harvard - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"Harvard spent the money [dramatically increased endowment] on many things. But not a dollar went to increasing the number of undergraduates it chose to bless with a Harvard education…<br />
<br />
…the true currency of elite higher education is admissions, not financial aid…<br />
<br />
That's because the real priority of elite higher education, as the receding tide of money has exposed, is the greater glory of elite higher education and the administrators and faculty members who work there. That's where all the money went, and that's where, now that some of the money turns out to have never existed in the first place, it needs to come from…<br />
<br />
An institution truly dedicated to teaching students has natural limits on how much money it needs. At some point, the land and space and professors suffice.<br />
<br />
An institution dedicated to accumulating more money and prestige? There are no limits to those needs. They can never be satisfied."
education  teaching  economics  academia  harvard  ivyleague  management  endowment  2011  highereducation  highered  elitism  class  society  havesandhavenots  money  finance  greed  wealth  access 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Harvard dropouts from the class of 1969 | Harvard Magazine Jul-Aug 2010
"I knew I didn't want to do city planning, to play in that bureaucratic world," he continues. "I also knew that if I stayed another semester they would hand me a diploma, and that diploma is going to open a whole lot of doors that I don't want to go through. And I know that I am not real strong, and if I have that key, at some point I'm going to be seduced and want to go through one of those doors. So by not having the diploma, I will remove the temptation. That actually worked out very well, because I was tempted, more than once."

"…another possibility beckons. 3 of her 5 grandchildren attend a progressive Waldorf school in Birmingham, where Boyden came out of retirement briefly to substitute teach. “It was amazing to be in a school that does things right after fighting an uphill battle for years in the public schools, against people who wanted to test, test, test.” Teaching in a Waldorf school is a big commitment…same teacher stays w/ students from 1st through 8th grades."

[via: http://kottke.org/11/06/harvard-dropouts-40-years-later ]
education  work  life  2011  harvard  dropouts  unschooling  deschooling  identity  temptation  cv  highereducation  colleges  universities  bureaucracy  ratrace  bobos  teaching  schools  schooling  waldorf  testing  standardizedtesting  looping  lcproject  1969  learning 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Justice with Michael Sandel - Home
"Justice is one of the most popular courses in Harvard’s history. Nearly one thousand students pack Harvard’s historic Sanders Theatre to hear Professor Sandel talk about justice, equality, democracy, and citizenship. Now it’s your turn to take the same journey in moral reflection that has captivated more than 14,000 students, as Harvard opens its classroom to the world."
michaelsandel  harvard  justice  law  opencourseware  philosophy  politics  morality  lectures 
november 2010 by robertogreco
College Applications Continue to Increase. When Is Enough Enough? - NYTimes.com
[Lots here, but I'm particularly interested in UChicago's *old* approach.] "For years, Chicago’s admissions office emphasized the university’s distinctiveness: one offbeat mailing was a postcard ringed with a coffee stain. Its application has long included imaginative essay prompts, like “If you could balance on a tightrope, over what landscape would you walk? (No net).” This became known as the “Uncommon Application,” in contrast to the Common Application, the standardized form that allows students to apply to any of hundreds of participating colleges.

That some students wouldn’t like Chicago’s quirky questions was the point. “If understood properly, no given college will appeal to everyone — that wouldn’t be possible,” says Theodore A. O’Neill, the university’s dean of college admissions from 1989 to 2009. “It’s important to signal something true and meaningful about yourself. The more signals, the more honest you’re being, and doing that does limit the applications.”"
universityofchicago  admissions  essays  applications  insanity  highereducation  highered  parenting  schools  colleges  universities  education  tcsnmy  identity  distinctiveness  standingout  standingapart  standardization  blandness  trends  competition  ivyleague  harvard  princeton  ucla  lcproject 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber - 00.06
"In the fall of 1958 Theodore Kaczynski, a brilliant but vulnerable boy of sixteen, entered Harvard College. There he encountered a prevailing intellectual atmosphere of anti-technological despair. There, also, he was deceived into subjecting himself to a series of purposely brutalizing psychological experiments -- experiments that may have confirmed his still-forming belief in the evil of science. Was the Unabomber born at Harvard? A look inside the files"
theodorekaczynski  academia  2000  psychology  harvard  technology  terrorism  history  education  relativism  unabomber  violence 
october 2010 by robertogreco
EduDemic » No More Final Exams At Harvard: Is Your School Next?
"According to Harvard Magazine, final exams are “going the way of the dodo.”<br />
<br />
Last spring, a mere 23 percent of the school’s 1,137 undergraduate courses gave exams, the magazine reports. And a new faculty vote dictates that a professor must actively decide whether or not to give a final within the first week of class — historically, it had always been a given that a class would have a test at the end of its run.<br />
<br />
The impetus behind exam extinction? Among other factors, professors questioned their value as assessment tools and disliked the responsibility of proctoring them.<br />
<br />
The Harvard Crimson reported in April that professors are increasingly being prompted to consider creative final exam alternatives under the school’s new curriculum, adopted in 2009."
harvard  finalexams  assessment  evaluation  change  2010  testing  tcsnmy  teaching  learning  lcproject 
august 2010 by robertogreco
How TED Connects the Idea-Hungry Elite | Fast Company
"if you were starting a top university today, what would it look like? You would start by gathering very best minds from around world, from every discipline. Since we're living in an age of abundant, not scarce, information, you'd curate lectures carefully, with focus on new & original, rather than offer a course on every possible topic. You'd create a sustainable economic model by focusing on technological rather than physical infrastructure, & by getting people of means to pay for a specialized experience. You'd also construct a robust network so people could access resources whenever & from wherever they like, & you'd give them the tools to collaborate beyond the lecture hall. Why not fulfill the university's millennium-old mission by sharing ideas as freely and as widely as possible?

If you did all that, well, you'd have TED. …

unlike fearful old-school colleges, TED is finding that the more open it is, the more it becomes the global education brand of the 21st century"
chrisanderson  ted  tedx  conferences  education  creativity  learning  sharing  open  elite  ideas  curation  networks  colleges  universities  media  harvard 
august 2010 by robertogreco
The Secret of Successful Entrepreneurs | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Business people with entropic networks were three times more innovative than people with predictable networks. Because they interacted with lots of different folks, they were exposed to a much wider range of ideas and “non-redundant information”. Instead of getting stuck in the rut of conformity—thinking the same tired thoughts as everyone else—they were able to invent startling new concepts... And this returns us to meritocracy. It’s not enough to simply take the smartest kids and make them smarter. What’s just as important is teaching these young people to seek out strangers, to resist the tug of self-similarity and homogenization. Diversity can seem like a such a vague and wishy-washy aspiration, but it comes with measurable benefits. To the extent our meritocratic institutions diminish our social diversity—are your college buddies just like you?—they might actually make us less likely to succeed. Perhaps Bill Gates knew what he was doing when he dropped out of Harvard."
diversity  entrepreneurship  management  success  sociology  startups  psychology  networking  business  creativity  jonahlehrer  interdisciplinary  looseties  homogeneity  crosspollination  networks  scoialnetworks  tcsnmy  toshare  strangers  topost  harvard  meritocracy  martinruef  michaelmorris  paulingram  bias  culture 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The Answer Sheet - Harvard profs dropping final exams
"Final exams are probably not anybody’s primary concern at the moment, but it is worth noting that the July-August edition of Harvard Magazine reports that many Harvard professors will no longer routinely require final exams.
testing  assessment  evaluation  harvard  colleges  universities 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Project Zero
"Project Zero is an educational research group at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Project Zero's mission is to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines, at the individual and institutional levels."
art  arts  assessment  professionaldevelopment  criticalthinking  psychology  projectzero  harvard  education  teaching  creativity  learning  language  thinking  tcsnmy  humanism  science  research 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Harvard's Failure & The New Education - hacking edu
"There were a few ironies to my Harvard app. My stated purpose in education is to stage a coup to overthrow & topple the current regime. To seek that knowhow from leader of current establishment is, truly, ironic. That irony was never lost to myself & something I questioned often. When I was just graduating from high school I wrote in my journal (those are like blogs with poor readership) that my goal was not to attend Harvard but to become the Harvard of the next generation. There would have been great irony to Harvard issuing a diploma to the force that will one day come to overthrow it." ... "Getting into HGSE program is a life changing event—by any standards—& would have been the primary topic of interest for anyone who got in. Anyone who leads, participates, or engages online would have left a digital footprint of this event. A blog post, a facebook post, a twitter post...there has not been a single mention online by any of the admitted class of their success in getting in."
harvard  gamechanging  education  learning  change  revolution  tcsnmy  establishment  lcproject  leadership  statusquo 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Study Hacks » Blog Archive » Want to Get into Harvard? Spend More Time Staring at the Clouds: Rethinking the Role of Extracurricular Activities in College Admissions
"In other words, to become more interesting…1. Do fewer structured activities. 2. Spend more time exploring, thinking, and exposing yourself to potentially interesting things. 3. If something catches your attention, use the abundant free time generated by rule 1 to quickly follow up. ... *High school students place too much emphasis on the qualities demonstrated by their activities. In a quest to demonstrate as many good qualities as possible, they end up stressing themselves with unwieldy lists of time-consuming commitments. * Students like Olivia highlight a different approach. They show that that being interesting can go farther than being widely accomplished. With this in mind, they use activities to build their interestingness – not their credentials – and therefore enjoy happier lives. *The research of Linda Caldwell supports a powerful corollary: any student can become more interesting – it’s not an innate trait possessed only by a lucky few."
admissions  education  extracurricular  happiness  interestingness  colleges  universities  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  schools  schooling  learning  passion  structure  activities  harvard 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Project Zero
"Project Zero's mission is to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines, at the individual and institutional levels."
education  learning  criticalthinking  arts  teaching  psychology  creativity  language  thinking  assessment  art  howardgardner  projectzero  harvard  professionaldevelopment  tcsnmy 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Why MIT Students Can't Write and Harvard Students Can't Count
"Like the old MIT-Harvard rivalry, there's often a cortical battle for resources between spatial and verbal / visual "picture" thinking. In studies of spatial experts, high levels of spatial expertise were correlated with lower levels of verbal fluency, auditory verbal memory, and visual memory"
math  neuroscience  mathematics  mit  verbal  writing  reading  harvard 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Rich Harvard, Poor Harvard: Vanity Fair | Vanity Fair
"For years, administrators at Harvard University could throw money at anything that tickled their fancy. A new medical school building for $260 million? Sure. A massive, Robert A.M. Stern—designed addition to Harvard Law School? No problem. One of the most sweeping financial aid initiatives ever undertaken? Consider it done.
harvard  money  endowment  fundraising  colleges  universities  collapse  crisis  economics 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Times Higher Education - All the privileged must have prizes
"the sedulous banality of the rich degrades teaching into a service-class preoccupation whose chief duty is preparing clients for monied careers...If youth is wasted on the young, is teaching wasted on students?"
education  harvard  finance  academia  teaching  culture  gradeinflation  privilege  money  via:preoccupations  wisdom  youth  greed  elite  society  colleges  universities 
july 2008 by robertogreco
J.K. Rowling Commencement : Harvard Magazine - "Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not...
"...and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared."
jkrowling  failure  risk  empathy  blogosphere  human  innovation  gamechanging  invention  inspiration  education  learning  activism  success  poverty  harvard  harrypotter  philosophy  classics  society  relationships  psychology  wisdom  imagination  creativity  identity  life  motivation  commencementspeeches  commencementaddresses 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Video - J K Rowling speaking at Harvard Commencement. [video and transcript: http://harvardmagazine.com/go/jkrowling.html]
"In this powerful, moving, yet also funny speech Jo talks about her time working for Amnesty International, her personal experiences with failure and the power of the imagination to allow us to empathize with others."
jkrowling  motivation  speech  failure  risk  success  imagination  creativity  life  video  harvard  commencementspeeches  commencementaddresses 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Marginal Revolution: Should Harvard continue to accumulate an endowment?
"a donation to Harvard is an act of conspicuous consumption by the rich, a bit like buying the watch that doesn't tell time. In other words, the donors benefit, either through a warm glow or perhaps they receive networking opportunities"
money  economics  harvard  endowment  wealth  society  psychology  colleges  universities 
june 2008 by robertogreco

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