Enmity at the Gates

It’s a fair bet that any foreign national conducting business with USCIS these days expects the unexpected. Knowing many of them personally, I have found myself quizzed for insights, and sometimes something just short of predictions. But while the Supreme Court’s modified stay of the Trump travel ban this week probably could have been anticipated, …

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Quid Pro Что

I can’t remember ever knowing a Russian who reminisced about his or her college days. So I’m not sure what once led a close family friend of ours to recollect an episode from her undergraduate math class that occurred many years ago. Russian students typically sit for exams in bite-size groups, say five at a …

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Revisions

One blogger’s “short answer” is another’s hypothesis: there is, of course, more to academic freedom than revenue dependency, but money is a form of speech, and historically it has spoken with authority. I still think the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, with its making unprecedented gifts contingent on colleges getting sectarian troublemakers off …

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Sweezy at Sixty

I did not know that Albert Einstein was a socialist. Maybe I had known once, or more likely, never cared. But in 1949, when the great physicist and Nobel laureate declared his beliefs, in the innocuously titled “Why Socialism?,” a lot of people would have cared. Indeed, by 1953, Joseph McCarthy was after him, and …

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Seeing Crimson

How did I miss the Wall Street Journal’s emergence as a new voice in higher education commentary? Maybe, in part, because it happened as I was emerging myself: in the fall of 2016, I must have been too focused on graduation to notice the debut of the WSJ/Times Higher Education rankings. It’s also possible I …

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Жили были

Six years ago this month, I was teaching a course in TOEFL preparation for Russian undergraduates at a large technical university in St. Petersburg. This was at a time when terms like "Arab spring" and "globalization" still had some face value; it was OK to be optimistic. Only slightly more experienced with reading Chekhov in …

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