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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
On Being Late
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 12:06 pm

Mike Munger discusses people who are late to meetings and is basically on target.

To his point on office proximity and lateness to meetings (point #2) I have to concur, and further would note that the same is true (for me, at least) with office proximity and being on time for class. When I taught at UT and had a long walk to class, or at Austin Community College and had a long drive to class, I was always early to class. Now that my office is in the same wing (some rooms as close as right across the hallway), I have a tendency to be a minute or two late to class. Since there is no walk to class, I tend to want to use every last second of office to do something and am, therefore, often late to class. I have tried this semester to be more cognizant of the time, however. (Also the proximity of my office to classrooms means the likelihood of a student popping into the office to ask some quick question at 2 minutes prior to class is quite high).

In point #1 he notes the following:

Competent people adjust; if you are capable of getting better at your job, you will be given progressively more and more responsibility. And that includes managing your own time and respecting that of others.

This made me think of my favorite adage (that is normally applied to parenting): “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Filed under: Academia | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Wal*Mart and Academia
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:15 am

James Joyner explains the similarities in his latest TCS column: How Wal-Mart Is Like Academia.

Indeed, when I first noted the headline a few days back about Wal*Mart and job applications, the ratio of applicants to jobs immediately reminded me of the academic marketplace.

Filed under: Academia | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Sunday, January 22, 2006
NFL Picks
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:21 pm

I made my picks for today over at Arguing with signposts where I am lending a minor hand to Bryan as he takes comps.

Filed under: Sports, Blogging, Academia, The NFL | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Friday, January 20, 2006
Line of the Day
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:28 am

“Integrating, synthesizing, and analyzing is hard.”-James Joyner at OTB today.

To which I say: Yup.

Context: his discussion (and analysis) of the information in this story: Study: Most College Students Lack Skills

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Globalization and Bird Flu
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:10 am

Via the BBC: UN warning over Turkey bird fluBird flu could become endemic in Turkey and pose a serious risk to neighbouring countries, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned.
Two people have died from the H5N1 strain in Turkey - 13 are in hospital.


The highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 could become endemic in Turkey,” the FAO said.

The cases are spread across the country, as per this map from the BBC (it show confirmed cases of the H5N1 virus). Also, here’s a companion piece on the problems in the rural regions of the country.

Beyond all of that, the shrinking nature of the world made me take notice of this story more than had it been some other country, as we have a lot of Turkish students at Troy-and have for years. I currently have two graduate students, at least one form Ankara. It isn’t that I am concerned about bird flu, but it shows the shrinking nature of the world that somehow a story from Turkey has a local element to people living and working in Troy, Alabama.

Also, it strikes me that it is probably somewhat difficult for Turkish students to be away from home when there are dramatic happenings back in their home country.

The NYT also has an interesting piece on this topic, A Scientific Puzzle: Some Turks Have Bird Flu Virus but Aren’t Sick

Two young brothers, ages 4 and 5, who have tested positive for the dreaded A(H5N1) avian virus but shown no symptoms of the disease were being closely watched at Kecioren Hospital here on Tuesday. Doctors are unsure whether they are for the first time seeing human bird flu in its earliest stages or if they are discovering that infection with the A(H5N1) virus does not always lead to illness.

Filed under: Global Politics, Academia | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Sunday, January 1, 2006
More Wikipedia
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:54 am

The History News Network has the following article on Wikipedia’s coverage of history: What Is Wikipedia … And How Does It Treat History?

Is is quite interesting and raises the issue less factual accuracy, but of the scope and quality of coverage.

It also notes the degree to which ideological influence affects the content and focus of the articles.

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One of my Pet Peeves
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:41 am

Doris Kearns Goodwin was on MTP this morning, and did that thing that drives me nuts when historians do when they are on TV: and that is reduce analysis of the current era to quotations and anecdotes from presidents past. Today it has been Lincoln and FDR (oddly, not JFK refs of any significance today).

Usually the quotation is followed by a knowing smile about how cleverly the quotation explains how things are/how things should be.

Why is that TV chat shows have presidential historians on, rather than political scientists who specialize in the presidency? Surely the latter would have more useful things to say about the contemporary White House. It isn’t as if the institution really is the same today as it was in the 1860s-or even, for that matter, the 1940s.

Of course, I have griped about this before (here and here).

And while I often pick on DKG, I am sure she is a nice person and would be interesting to have a chat with, but enough with the analysis by historical analogy, already. (Although I have to say, I remain nonplussed over her plagiarism problem-and we all now how I feel about plagiarism).

Filed under: US Politics, Academia, MSM | Comments (5) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Friday, December 30, 2005
Grading Tales
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:10 pm

Today’s amusing mispelling: instead of “Fukuyama” as in Frances “The End of History” Fukuyama, we get “Fukuman.”

(A little something I found going through some files today).

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Blogging Political Scientists Census-Beta Version
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:40 pm

Note: As I receive additional information, I am updating the table. I also have added some additional commentary, and may add more.

Speaking of SPSA papers, I have been working for some time (mentioned early on here) on determining how many political scientists blog. We know that there are a large number of bloggin’ law profs-see Concurring Opinion’s Law Professor Blogger Census 3.1. Indeed, several of the top blogs are written by law prfos: Glenn Reynolds, Stephen Bainbridge, Ann Althouse, and Eugene Volokh to name a few).

While I am of the opinion that blogging is a fantastic medium for academics, there isn’t the same sort of blogging presence for political scientists, despite the obvious synergy between studying politics and blogging. Of course, the obvious exception to that statement is Dan Drezner.

I won’t even call this a full census, as I have not completed the work. I am posting to show preliminary results and in the hopes that those listed will correct me if I am in error, help fill in the blanks, and point out any sites that I may have missed.

I have collected data on blogging polisci grad students and also on those with polisci Ph.D.’s who aren’t currently working in academia (e.g., James Joyner, Andrew Sullivan, and Tom Grant). However, that information is incomplete, and therefore not included at this time.

Indeed, operationalizing “blogging political scientist” isn’t as easy as I wanted. Originally I was looking only for individuals with Ph.D’s in political science, and teaching in a political science department. However, there are those who are not in polisci departments (e.g., Paul Brewer), those who are in polisci departments, but whose degree is not in polisci (e.g., Mike Munger) and those who neither have a degree specifically in polisci and also do not work in a polsci department, per se (e.g., Mark A. R. Kleiman).

At the moment I have excluded those with doctorates in philosophy who teach in the philosophy departments, yet teach political philosophy. There are also some example of methodologists working in the area of politics that I have not decided how to classify.

Update: I would note that not all bloggers are created equal, insofar as some of the persons on the list blog quite a bit more than others. On many of the group blogs there is a dominant blogger (or bloggers) and then others who only contribute occasionally. Also, there are several political science professors who have posted once at the Huffington Post (for example: Graham Allison). However, since Allison, and a handful of others, posted only once, and those posts were months ago, there didn’t meet the minimal threshold for being a “blogger.”

I would consider the purest form of blogging to be blogs set up and run by an individual and regularly updated. Still, establishing a precise threshold is difficult to do, so as long a blogger demonstrated some level of ongoing activity or potential for activity, I included them in the list.

If a blog was dead for some time, or if a person only posted a single post, I excluded them from the list.

Here’s the breakdown based on academic rank:

Non-tenure track510.00%

Update: Information above changed to reflect that one member of the list caegorized as “post-doc” should be listed an “Assistant.”

Here’s the census, to date:

Brewer, Paul
The Public Brewery

Associate Univ of Wisconsin-Milwaukee AP
Brooke, Chris The Virtual Stoa Non-tenure track Oxford Theory
Burden, Barry Political Behavior Blog Associate Harvard AP
Cline, Andrew R. Rhetorica Assistant Missouri State Univ. AP
Crane, George T. The Useless Tree Professor Williams College CP
Dion, Michelle La Profesora Abstraída Assistant GIT CP
Drezner, Daniel W. Daniel W. Drezner Associate Tufts (was U of C) IR
Farley, Robert Lawyers, Guns and Money Assitant University of Kentucky IR
Farrell, Henry Crooked Timber Assistant George Washington University IR
Franklin, Charles Political Arithmetik Professor University of Wisconsin AP
Frymer, Paul Polysigh Associate UCSC AP
Geras, Norm normblog Emeritus Univesity of Manchester Theory

Gordon, Michael The Buggy Professor Emeritus UCSB IR
Griffith, Mark F. Political Man Professor Univ. of West Alabama AP
Hacker, Jacob The Coffee House Assistant Yale AP
Ikenberry, G. John America Abroad Professor Princeton IR
Jackson, Patrick Duck of Minerva Assistant American Univ IR
Jentleson, Bruce America Abroad Professor Duke IR
Kayyem, Juliette N. America Abroad Lecturer Harvard Policy
King, Gary Social Science Statistics Blog

Professor Harvard AP
Kleiman, Mark A. R. The Reality-Based Community Professor UCLA Policy
Klinkner, Philip Polysigh Associate Hamilton College AP
La Raja, Ray Polysigh Assistant UMass Amherst AP
Lawrence, Chris Signifying Nothing Visiting Duke AP
Lemieux, Scott Lawyers, Guns and Money Assistant Hunter College-CUNY AP
Levy, Jacob T. Jacob T. Levy Assistant University of Chicago Theory
Lublin, David Polysigh Associate American University AP
Lynch, Marc Abu Aadrvark Associate Williams College IR
McMahon, Kevin Polysigh Associate SUNY, Fredonia AP
Medvid, Stephen Polysigh Assistant Franklin and Marshall AP
Munger, Michael C. Mungowit’s End Professor Duke AP
Nexon, Dan Duck of Minerva Assistant Georgetown ???
Nye, Joseph The Huffington Post Professor Harvard IR
O’Kelly, Ciaran Neither Indifferent nor Sceptical ??? ??? CP
Payne, Rodger Rodger A. Payne’s Blog Professor University of Louisville IR
Pitney, Jr, .John J. Polysigh Professor Claremont McKenna AP
Pseudonymous Professor Chaos Instructor Anonymous IR
Pseudonymous The Jawa Report Instructor Anon AP
Rummel, R.J. Democratic Peace Emeritus University of Hawaii IR
Sadow, Jeffery Between the Lines Associate LSU, Shreveport AP
Shugart, Matthew S. Fruits and Votes Professor UCSD CP
Skinner, Richard Polysigh ??? ??? ???
Slaughter, Anne-Marie America Abroad Professor Princeton IR
Steinberg, James B. America Abroad Dean Texas-LBJ School Policy
Strolovitch, Dara Polysigh Assistant University of Minnesota AP
Taylor, Steven L. PoliBlog Associate Troy University CP
Teles, Steven The Reality-Based Community Assistant Brandeis AP/CP
Tillery, Jr, .Alvin B. Polysigh Assistant Notre Dame AP
Warren, Dorian Polysigh post-doc University of Chicago AP
Yadav, Vikash Foreign Exchange Assistant The American Univ (Cairo) IR

Filed under: Blogging, Academia | Comments (8) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

A Knight’s Blog » Bloggin’ Profs linked with [...] 8 pm If you are interested in the intersection of academics blogging, check out something I have been working on in regards to blogging political scientists. For a study of blogging law pro [...]
Fruits and Votes » Blog Archive » Blogging Political Scientists Census linked with [...] ofessor Matthew Søberg Shugart @3:19 pm Steven Taylor has an updated and expanded census of blogging political scientists. I have added a permanent link to the post on F&V [...]
Monday, December 26, 2005
More Governmental Power-Yep, That’s the Answer
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:58 am

Via the NYT comes another tale in the war on bias in the academy: Professors’ Politics Draw Lawmakers Into the Fray:

While attending a Pennsylvania Republican Party picnic, Jennie Mae Brown bumped into her state representative and started venting.

“How could this happen?” Ms. Brown asked Representative Gibson C. Armstrong two summers ago, complaining about a physics professor at the York campus of Pennsylvania State University who she said routinely used class time to belittle President Bush and the war in Iraq. As an Air Force veteran, Ms. Brown said she felt the teacher’s comments were inappropriate for the classroom.


The investigation comes at a time when David Horowitz, a conservative commentator and president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, has been lobbying more than a dozen state legislatures to pass an “Academic Bill of Rights” that he says would encourage free debate and protect students against discrimination for expressing their political beliefs.

While it is the case that professors are known to spout their political views, often in clearly inappropriate fashion (e.g., criticizing the administration in physics class, as per the article-inappropriate in the sense that physics shouldn’t be taken up with political discourses, let alone personal diatribes), I continue to maintain that the worst way to address the problem is to get state legislatures involved.

Indeed, it strikes me as the opposite of how Horowitz should want to go about fixing a problem: the increase of governmental power. But, I will confess, that in recent years I have found Horowitz to be hysterical and hyperbolic. and not just on this topic. It has gotten to the point that I really cannot take him, or his organization, all that seriously.

I think that it is shameful the degree to which some faculty think that their positions allow them to spout forth on whatever topic they wish to discuss, even if it makes students uncomfortable. One has a responsibility to teach the subject that one is supposed to be teaching. And certainly no one should think that it is their job to make sure students think “the right way” on a specific political or religious topic. Of course, there are times when digressions occur in class (as my students can attest) so I won’t state that every second not spent on the subject matter is to be admonished, as that would be a rather hypocritical statement on my part. I also know that some profs do more than just digress, but instead wear their political views on their sleeves.

Yes, there are self-righteous professors (as there are self-righteous non-professors) who think that it is their job to spread their version of the truth. That should not happen, but it does and will, regardless of whatever ridiculous legislation Horowitz can get state legislatures to pass.

I am also not a big fan of trying to determine bias by the collection of disparate anecdotes. For one thing, a given student’s interpretation (as well as Horowitz’s) is often wrong.

If a physics professor in constantly going off on whomever the occupant of the White House is in lieu of teaching physics, then students should complain to the Departmental Chair, the College Dean and the Provost’s office. Now, will one complaint be sufficient? No, but is there any walk of life where one complaint is sufficient to create change? However, if there are sufficient complaints, the likelihood is that action will be taken. Does that solve a specific student’s discomfiture? No, but then again neither will griping to a state legislator in the hopes of fomenting legislative action.

Professors should not be using class time to air their political views-of this fact you will get no argument from me. However, the notion that the solution is some kind of monitoring device by state government of classrooms all in the name of academic freedom should be considered absurd on its face.

Further, I thought that one of the tenets of modern conservatism in the American political sense of the word was supposed to be less governmental interference in our lives, not more. I thought that the whole Reaganesque school of thinking, that Horowitz is allegedly part of considers government to be far more of a problem, than a solution.

One of the worst things that can be done in regards to governmental power is to give it oversight in ares as difficult to define as what the appropriate thing to say should be.

Even if one thinks that there is a rampant problem on college campuses (which is not the case, as far as I am concerned, while acknowledging that abuses do take place), then surely one has to see that the “cure” being proposed here is far worse than the “disease.”

As I have noted before, all this will do is create a situation in which grades will end up in litigation and members of state legislatures will try to score political points by showing the “pointy headed intellectuals” in their “ivory towers” a thing or two.

Neither of those things is healthy for learning, teaching and scholarship.

Update: Professor Bainbridge takes a somewhat different view.

Filed under: Academia | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Friday, December 16, 2005
Jacob T. Levy Speaks
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:08 am

Back during the saga over Daniel Drezner’s tenure denial, it was revealed that another blogging professor in the same department, Jacob Levy, was also denied tenure. Jacob did not, at the time, wish to have his case discussed in the Blogosphere (and, indeed, e-mailed me to request that I remove a reference to his case from a comment here at PoliBlog that was showing up on Google).

He has now broken his silence here. The short version is: it wasn’t about the blogging. The longer version, which is interesting if one is familiar with the intellectual debates with political science and the machinations of academic politics, is that certain factions in his department felt compelled to pursue a specific trend in political theory, and that therefore tenruing Jacob would take up space with an excellent scholar who was engaged in study of political theory in an alleged passé fashion.

Academia can be one strange, petty and short-sighted place.

The good news is that Jacob shoud land, like Drezner, a very good job.

h/t: Chris Lawrence

Filed under: Blogging, Academia | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

blogs for industry linked with It wasn't the blogging
Bloggging is Addictive
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:46 am

Evidence: here.

h/t: Chris Lawrence

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005
More Wikipedia
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:07 am

Writes Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey

Um… why are people treating a web site that *ANYONE* can edit as a serious reference source?


Yet, it is an ongoing struggle to get my students not to cite the darn thing.

Filed under: Computer Junk, Academia | Comments (6) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Outside The Beltway linked with Wikipedia: The Faith-Based Encyclopedia?
blogs for industry linked with Citing the web
Thursday, December 8, 2005
“A Long, Hard Slog”
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:52 pm

For some reason that phrase keeps going through my head as I grade these exams…

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Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
Plagiarism Redux
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 5:51 pm

In one class of 27 I had 6 cases of clear and identified plagiarism and I have the sneaking suspicion that I didn’t catch all the perpetrators.

It’s enough to make you wonder how many of the students actually come to college for an education.

For sure it is enough to depress me a bit. My word, what a waste.

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