Writing-Center Scholars Have Addressed Effectiveness of Nondirective Tutoring

To the Editor:

As a writing-center director also working to reconsider “best practices,” I was happy to see Lori Salem use this forum to raise questions about the effectiveness of nondirective feedback (“What’s Wrong With Writing Centers,The Chronicle, February 5.). I was disappointed, though, that the interview left the false impression that scholars have not developed strong answers to these questions yet.

Salem mentions having invited a faculty member from TESOL who was shocked by the cente…

Academe Is Not Anti-Science

To the Editor:

Though I enjoyed his essay, “The Intellectual War on Science” (The Chronicle Review, February 13) Steven Pinker is a committed polemicist and I find it slightly amusing that he is still waging war against postmodernists (and poststructuralists) when those of us who dallied there — not quite in the doctrinaire ways he suggests — have realized that, as with most intellectual movements, postmodernism didn’t have all or even most of the answers. He’s also waging war against the guardi…

What Does It Mean to ‘Use’ a Word?

To the Editor:

While quotes attributed to Lawrence Rosen in “Princeton Professor Cancels Course After His Use of a Racial Slur” (The Chronicle, February 13) do, in fact, make him sound callous and insensitive, I think your story and its headline make a pretty fundamental error. What does it mean to “use” a word? Does any utterance, in any context, amount to a “use,” or does using a word imply a particular context with a particular intent (hate, in this case)?

Professor Rosen’s “use” of the N-wor…

Wrong to Blindly Equate Distrust of Colleges With Anti-Intellectualism

To the Editor:

With regard to “Duck and Cover: Teaching Survival in Donald Trump’s America” (The Chronicle, January 23), I agree in principle with the author’s conclusion, that it is essential in the academy to address current affairs and assist students in utilizing effective critical-thinking skills in processing local, regional, national, and global events.

However, I find it curious, disappointing, and ironic that the writer cites the Pew Research Center poll indicating that Republicans and …

It Is Not Enough to Identify Someone Simply as ‘Native American’

To the Editor:

Your article, “Lecturer’s Critique of Whiteness Crossed the Line Into Harassment, State Investigation Finds,” identifies a San Diego State University lecturer, Oscar Monge, as “Native American and Chicano.” The first question raised when someone identifies as “Native American” is: What tribal nation is represented? What tribe is Mr. Monge from?

That information is vital as it identifies a distinct people who live in the United States as minorities. They must obtain federal recogni…

Writing-Center Researcher Says Views Were Mischaracterized

To the Editor:

I am the scholar who was profiled in a Chronicle interview that was given the title, “What’s Wrong With Writing Centers” (The Chronicle, February 5).

While I am grateful to The Chronicle for showcasing my article, I must object to how the interview was framed and edited. I am described as “something of a heretic” in the field for advocating that writing centers adopt new pedagogies, and that description is used to set up a me-against-the-field narrative.

This characterization is s…

Putting Colleges Even Further in Service of Industry Is Wrong Move

To the Editor:

In “An Economist Argues That Our Education System Is Largely Useless,” (The Chronicle, January 29), Mr. Caplan’s interview answers take the usual level of arrogance found among free-market economists and raises it to new levels. His call to remake the educational system is no remake. It is a call to put the universities and colleges in the United States even further in the service of industry. These institutions already serve primarily as vocational schools for middle-level mana…

Colleges Might Accommodate Anxiety Issues, But Real World Won’t

To the Editor:

In response to “‘I Didn’t Know How to Ask for Help’: Stories of Students With Anxiety” (The Chronicle, February 4), I’m sorry to learn that these students feel so powerless over their own lives.

The common theme I’m taking from the student comments is that they think their professors should accommodate their mental-health concerns and make college easier for them, from noticing when they feel anxious, to setting aside deadlines that other students have to meet, to dropping the s…

Religious Studies Plays Key Role in Exposing Students to Other Religions

To the Editor:

Your article, “How College May Actually Limit Students’ Exposure to Different Religions” (The Chronicle, January 24), doesn’t even address exposure students may have to other religions by taking courses in Religious Studies. This is an essential piece of the equation, especially since college is an opportunity for students to explore new topics and interests.

Unless a student is fortunate to take a high-school class on world religions, it is serendipity for many to even have a con…

Letters in Response to ‘An Insider’s Take on Assessment’

To the Editor:

Assessment in higher education is much more than the tired tropes routinely brought against it, including the claims made by Erik Gilbert in his recent essay (“An Insider’s Take on Assessment: It May Be Worse Than You Thought,The Chronicle, January 12). Moreover, as assessment people with a background in philosophy and medieval studies as well as faculty members, we find it surprising that faculty members in the humanities are not more in favor of it. At its heart, assessment de…