Applied Knowledge

I read an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education recently about how the profession of teaching has changed because today’s students go to college for something other than knowledge for knowledge’s sake: “maybe at one time, most students went to college to broaden their intellectual horizons and figure themselves out. That time has passed. Today more students attend college for a specific reason: professional advancement. Especially for adult learners, getting a degree is a means to a promotion, a raise, or entree into a new field. Vocational motivations for degree attainment are driven in part by projected job growth in industries like technology and health care, where there’s a need to solve 21st-century problems. Colleges are no longer singularly committed to knowledge production for the sake of it. Academe has shifted toward helping learners use knowledge in new ways — toward innovation.”

The writer speaks about how professors need to adapt and recognize that there is no going back to the good old days . . .

My undergraduate studies at Columbia University opened my mind to the great books of Western Civilization and the best part of my liberal arts education was teaching me the importance of critical thinking. I am saddened to see that opening minds up to great works of history, philosophy, art, and science has no “application” in today’s innovation economy. I am all for making sure students today are prepared for the workforce—and equipped with the technical competencies they need for career and life success—but it would be a shame if that means they cannot think for themselves, problem solve, or hold a conversation with at a social event.

SpectApp Launch

After 2 years of hard work (unpaid labor and sweat equity) my team and I launched the SpectApp at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, FL. We are excited to help make the lives of 3,000 high school students a little less stressful as they navigate their academic and extracurricular activities.

Spect App for Students

The Spect App shows students the real-life value of engaging in community service and extracurricular activities. Not only do these activities look good on their college application or resume, but students will see their interpersonal skills and leadership skills charts growing through every event in which they participate.

Students can self-report and record activities they do on their own time that enhance their personal and professional development. These are digitally logged as outside of school activities. At the end of the year, students will have the opportunity to get all that information collated into a resume format. 

Spect App Premium Version for Parents

Parents who wish to upgrade the product for additional features (college application cover letters, resumes, scholarship finders, etc.) can do so at https://spect.app/parents.

Feminist PR

I have been encouraging my students to address the PR problem in feminism—eg. why so many people today who are otherwise progressive minded are hesitant to say that they are feminists. I was excited to see the Signs Public Intellectuals Project engaging in this debate. I am not sure how accessible their articles are for mass consumption but as a professor of gender studies I think the resources that they have complied (recommended books, articles, white papers, interviews, and podcasts) provide so much great material to the next generation of feminist thinkers and public intellectuals. I am looking forward to the work that my students produce this semester around topics that they think are most pressing to discuss today—and hopefully do it in a manner that invites more people to join the movements for social justice and human rights.