December 20, 2011
Blogs with quality readers
December 19, 2011
I talked to the Austin Higher Ed Reporter about the Texas Turmoil
Here. Not really much new for those who've been following the blog coverage of this unfortunate situation, though a couple of folks asked about my comment that the ten highest paid faculty doesn't correspond to the ten most distinguished faculty at UT. Of course, some of that top ten list does, but it was surprising not to see, e.g., Sanford Levinson and Scot Powe in the top ten, though seniority might explain why folks like Mitch Berman and Abe Wickelgren weren't there either.
December 18, 2011
On the alleged distinction between "analytic" and "Continental" philosophy
Since this alleged distinction has migrated into parts of legal scholarship, this podcast interview might interest some readers.
December 16, 2011
Statement by the UT Law School Foundation
NY Times Covers Texas Turmoil, Beyond the Law School
Some useful context here. A few years ago, Rick Perry--whom the whole nation now knows is as dumb as a doornail--fell in with the reactionary neanderthals at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and has been waging war on the two research universities in the system, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin. (Among his brilliant ideas: a cost-benefit analysis of each professor measuring cost against number of students taught and money brought in. Scholarly accomplishment and reputation doesn't count.) Bill Powers, who has been a very effective President at UT Austin, just as he was a very effective Dean of the Law School previously, has had his hands full trying to ward off the barbarians. (You'll note the NY Times story repeats the 'gender equity' canard. No less ridiculously, but more amusingly, it says that UT Austin is "arguably" the leading university in the state. I guess they are imagining an argument with Aggies, not anyone who knows anything about research universities.)
Playing the "Gender Card" at Texas
One of the ugliest, and most unjust aspects, of recent turmoil at Texas is that allegations of gender discrimination have surfaced. "Patriotism" may still be the first refuge of scoundrels, but at least at the University of Texas School of Law, the demand for "gender equity" has taken on that role.
There are women on the Texas faculty who don't perform any institutional service or committee work, who barely publish, who publish but whose work isn't very highly regarded, and/or who are poor teachers. There are men who fit those descriptions too, unsurprisingly. And in looking over the public salary data, I am struck by how equitable the under-performing men and women are treated, with a few exceptions in both directions (and of both genders). By the way, that is what "gender equity" means: it means faculty are treated equally without regard to gender, not that women are paid as much as men, regardless of their job performance or scholarly reputation.
What makes the fact that this charge has surfaced against former Dean Sager so outrageous is that nearly half the tenure-stream appointments during his tenure were women (and more than half were women or minorities), a higher percentage than any of his predecessors managed. The two Associate Deans during his tenure were both women, one of whom is now the Interim Dean. Most of his senior administrative staff and assistant deans were women or minority men. Any responsible journalist can determine, with not very much digging that, whatever problems led President Powers to ask for Sager's resignation, gender inequities had nothing to do with it.
December 15, 2011
More Austin-American Statesman Coverage of the Texas Turmoil
Here. The comment from Ms. Phelan at the end is a bit ludicrous, however.
The Socratic Method Refuted at Last!
Story here. Of course, anyone who has read the dialogues would have guessed as much: why, after all, do his interlocutors get so mad at Socrates that they are always threatening to smack him? Did law professors really believe their students don't sometimes feel the same way when subjected to Socratic confusing?
December 14, 2011
Reporting employment stats for law school graduates
Here's an informative template that other schools might follow--Dean Schill tells me it's basically the one Yale also uses.
UPDATE: Several readers point out that Michigan State also has very detailed data on-line.
UT Law Students Comment on the Ouster of Dean Sager