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RE: [xmca] Encapsulation of the University

Greg, the article is only available to subscribers.

I would say, in response to the comment on "real-world" work, that "it depends." I do a lot of op-ed/blog writing, primarily for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution education blog, and my College of Education administration (spanning 2 deans so far) really likes me for it. The U. of Georgia is a land grant/sea grant/public university, and public engagement is part of our mission. Writing as a "public intellectual" is viewed as important work in helping us engage with the people of the state. Now, if that's all I did, I'd be in trouble. But as an addendum to my regular scholarship, I've made myself into an asset through this work.

At many public universities, including mine, service-learning is a major way of engaging with local communities. Our current president (who rose up through UGA ranks in various administrative positions, including provost) was among those who established our Office of Service-Learning and helped to fund it and its grants program. Service-Learning is now built into my teaching load and has become a topic in my scholarly writing as well.

So, I don't know if I even buy the idea that there's a real world and a scholarly world, unless people construct it for themselves. I think the two are quite compatible in teaching, research, and service. In fact, I'd say that service-learning is one way of integrating the three conventional strands of faculty activity into a single line of inquiry. We (I think it was a cultural-historical SIG session) had an AERA session awhile back on how to synthesize teaching, service, and research; I spoke along with King Beach and Sasha Barat (and somebody else I think; sorry I can't quite recall it all). I hadn't yet begun my service-learning period, but wish I had; I've have given a much better talk.

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Greg Thompson
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2013 1:46 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [xmca] Encapsulation of the University

Following on Engestrom's paper about the encapsulation of school learning and the discussion of Mike's class and of the university - "real" world misfits, I thought that others might appreciate this Chronicle piece:

and the sentence from this piece that, imo, rings the most true:
"To put it bluntly, academe doesn't always reward people for work in the real world."

Mike's "Event Planning" class seems like a nice step in the right direction as well.

For me now back to battling the paper tigers of academe.


Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
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