Make the Most of Best Teacher Awards

To the Editor:

I appreciate Jacques Berlinerblau’s recent article “Best Teacher Awards are Bunk” (The Chronicle Review, August 21st). Along with graduate schools’ failure to provide pedagogical training and university tenure review processes that “render undergraduates an afterthought,” Berlinerblau includes Best Teacher awards among the obstacles to good teaching in higher education. His criticisms include: celebrating individual heroics rather than collaborative efforts; perpetuating “…

Tips for Using Smartphones in the Classroom and Reducing Social Loafing

To the Editor:

Your article, “Training Graduate Students to Be Effective Teachers” (The Chronicle, July 30), is excellent. The following suggestions regarding smartphones in the classroom and social loafing augment this article and may help new faculty members.

Smartphones in the Classroom

Some faculty members become frustrated with students surreptitiously using smartphones during class time. The best discipline today is the same as it was 37 years ago — namely, a good lesson plan. Faculty me…

Notions of Aryan Iranianness Must Be Rejected

To the Editor:

We are a collective of Iranian-descended feminist scholars who engage in antiracist work in our pedagogy, research, and scholarship. We believe that it is our duty to confront the racism of Southwest Asian and North Afrikan or SWANA peoples, especially within the Iranian-American community. Recent and ongoing publicity highlighting Iranian-Americans’ connections to white supremacy and whiteness, both inside and beyond the alt-right movement prompt us to raise our voices at this …

Praise for Liberty U.’s Diversity Is Misguided

To the Editor:

I remember the first time I heard Jerry Falwell Jr. speak at Liberty University’s thrice-weekly chapel service. His nervous comportment and numerous voice cracks made us students cringe and laugh, but, at the time, it was strangely endearing. I too thought “he had a lovable, goofy quality to him,” as Phillip Wagner recently described the chancellor of Liberty in “My Liberty University Diploma and Me” (The Chronicle, August 23). Wagner’s description is fond and nostalgic, how I a…

Stanford University Not Named After Controversial Governor

To the Editor:

In Troy Duster’s recent essay, “What to Do With a Man on Horseback” (The Chronicle, August 14), he states: “As governor of California, Leland Stanford signed appropriations bills to finance Indian extermination. His name would later grace the university he founded.” Duster then includes Stanford with Yale and Brown and other universities whose names are connected with slave trading and Native American extermination.

Duster’s statement about Stanford needs clarification. Stanford…

Identity Politics Is a Sign of Progress

To the Editor:

I do not agree with Mark Lilla’s assertion in “How Colleges Are Strangling Liberalism” (The Chronicle Review, August 20) that liberals have not made progress since the 1960s due to the presence of identity politics. It is easy to say they haven’t, especially after the most recent presidential election, but the existence of identity politics actually proves that our country has progressed. More than ever before, students are able to define themselves and create personal meaning t…

Article on Antifa Author Raises More Questions Than It Answers

To the Editor:

I’m afraid I find your recent article on Mark Bray and his Antifa book remarkably lacking in clarity (“The Antifa Academic,The Chronicle, August 24). Perhaps if I read the book I’d learn more, but his own comments both to The Chronicle
and those in his Washington Post piece do little to clear away the fog. My fault, no doubt, but perhaps we would get a firmer sense if we looked outside the United States, and more particularly at the 17 countries he examined (none of which are na…

Administrators Should Be Given Advice on Denouncing Hate Speech

To the Editor:

Your article, “Another Public University Says No to a White-Nationalist Event” (The Chronicle, August 17), names the four public institutions that have recently declined to host an event at which Richard Spencer, white supremacist leader of the National Policy Institute, would presumably speak. It also provides the universities’ rationale for doing so, which is to protect the safety and security of its students in the wake of Charlottesville violence. While your article states t…

Anti-Conservative Bias in Academe is Real

To the Editor:

I have been a faculty member in higher education for over 40 years, and I am stunned by the ideological misrepresentation of the academy and the fallacious claims presented and utilized respectively by writers Robert Maranto and Matthew Woessner (“Why Conservative Fears of Campus Indoctrination Are Overblown,” July 31).

The progressive control of higher education along with its anti-conservatism is almost wholly throughout public higher education in the social sciences and humanit…

What Mark Lilla Misses

To the Editor:

The timing of Mark Lilla’s “How Colleges are Strangling Liberalism” (August 20), roughly a week after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, coupled with the subtitle of the article, “An obsession with identity has made students less likely to engage with a world beyond themselves,” seems intended to fan the flames of our national debate about white supremacy and to blame the left for its visible resurgence.

Martha S. Jones’ response to Lilla, published August 24, appropriately …