Guns vs. Schools

The National Rifle Association is working to force guns into lecture halls, libraries, offices, dormitories, and stadiums. Their efforts to weaponize college campuses are succeeding. At the time of the Virginia Tech massacre (32 people killed, 2007), only one state university system (Utah) required colleges and universities to allow guns on campus.  Following the mass slaughter at Virginia…

Children’s Literature and Comics/Graphic Novels at MLA 2016

Attending MLA in Austin, Texas this January? These are all MLA sessions devoted* to children’s literature, children’s culture, or comics/graphic novels. There are other panels with individual papers on these subjects, but (to the best of my knowledge) these are the sole panels with a central focus on these areas of inquiry. If I’ve missed any…

When will I be shot dead?

As we read the news of yet another shooting at a school (the 17th on a college campus this year, the 45th school shooting shooting this year*), I cannot help but wonder: when will I be among those murdered?  Earlier this year, a roving gunman had the campus of Kansas State University (where I teach) on lockdown. Fortunately,…

Advice for Aspiring Academics (in Inside Higher Ed)

Attention, graduate students, adjuncts with tenure-track aspirations, and recent tenure-track hires*! Always be publishing Believe in and doubt merit Do not define success according to academe’s terms … and 9 other pieces of advice in “Advice for Aspiring Academics,” published in today’s Inside Higher Ed. Regular readers of this blog may notice that this is the…

Children’s Literature and Comics/Graphic Novels at MLA 2015

Heading to the MLA in Vancouver next month? Well, thanks to Lee Talley (for the children’s lit panels), here’s a list of all the children’s literature and comics/graphic novels panels. If we’ve missed any, then please let me know and I’ll add them! 35. The Graphic South Thursday, 8 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 114, VCC West…

The Committee for Harmony, Loyalty, and Discipline

The Kansas Board of Regents’ new social media policy will require vigilant enforcement.  How will we determine when speech is “contrary to the best interests of the employer”?  How will we recognize speech that “impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers”?  How can we prevent speech that has a “detrimental impact on close working relationships”?  Given…

Impairing Discipline and Harmony; or, This Morning’s Twitter-chat with the Kansas Board of Regents

The Kansas Board of Regents’ Twitter account and I had a somewhat predictable conversation this morning. For any who find might it interesting, I include it below. The short version: The Kansas Board of Regents insists that academic freedom is now protected; however, sections 3.ii and 3.iv (see p. 32 of agenda) continue to contradict that…

New Words, Same Tune: Kansas Board of Regents’ Revisions Fall Short

The Kansas Board of Regents’ revised social media policy grants academic freedom with one hand, and takes it away with the other. It adds the language of the work group’s model policy, but refuses the work group’s intent. It retains nearly all of the Board’s original language that drew such criticism — grounds for dismissal still include making statements “contrary to the best interests of the university,” or that “impair discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers,” and so on. But now, the policy begins by affirming principles of academic freedom.

Fighting for Freedom of Speech: The First Amendment Under Attack

Good afternoon.  Thanks for coming.  Thanks to Susan Kemper for organizing this, and to KU for hosting. I’m @philnel on Twitter. The Board of Regents is @ksregents. And the hashtag for this conference is #FreeSpeechKS. If you Tweet, feel free to tag us. In case there are any Regents unable to attend, I will periodically…

Freedom of Speech and Higher Education

Participating in today’s “Five On the Hour: Stand for Freedom of Speech,” I’m posting the statements I prepared for my two classes. In practice, I ended up improvising. During my first class (English 725: African American Children’s Literature), I realized that I should have started with the connection to the class and then moved out…