A blog about problems in the field of psychology and attempts to fix them.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fixing Psychology, 100 Posts at a time!

So, there I was, pre-tenure at a schizophrenic part-research-university, part-liberal-arts-college, part-trade-school, with a disabled wife and two young girls... and I figured I had enough time on my hands to start a blog. Probably not the smartest move, but it has gone pretty well so far.

FixingPsychology is just over two-years old, and this is the 100th post. With some feverish periods and a few dry spells, that means I have kept surprisingly close to a post a week, on average. Even better, I think very few of them sucked. In honor achieving this arbitrary, but culturally-significant, number, I have cleaned things up a bit (making sure every post had labels, adding a word cloud to the right side bar, etc.) and decided that a short retrospective was in order....

Who is reading the blog? What are they reading? Are there any bigger picture or themes? What might a reasonable reader expect in the next hundred posts?

Monday, October 14, 2013

What's wrong with (the rhetoric surrounding) adjuncts? Part 1

The Adjuncts vs. Professors conundrum has been on my mind. In a recent post, I talked about why it should be hard to compare what adjuncts bring to a classroom with what research-active professors bring to the classroom. I avoided the really tough talk in the last article, and I will avoid it here as well. However, I hope to lay some groundwork, inspired by a recent story. The story involves a woman who died at 83, having taught French for 25 years at Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The context of the story, as usually presented, is that Duquesne is not letting its adjuncts unionize and, due to the lack of a union, the woman died without proper healthcare and neigh homeless. The details of the story are sketchy; as in, they are only loosely sketched out anywhere I have found them. Where were social security and medicare? How does a college stop the organization of a well-mustered union? Etc. All that aside... while I do not think I am a heartless troll, I have trouble fully sympathizing with those who feel that the woman should have been entitled to more from Duquesne than she received. The plights described in the sketched version of the woman's story are NOT unique to adjunct professors, it is a trait that many members of Expertland share:

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Congratulations to Michael Turvey!

Recently Michael Turvey became an inaugural recipient of the Association for Psychological Science's Mentor Award. This is a much deserved honor.

Because I argue with Michael at meetings, and have posted things here about how I think his approach differs from Gibson's, many seem to have the impression that I do not like Michael. To the contrary, I like him, and have the greatest respect for his role in holding ecological psychology together, in advancing its science, and in training its proponents. I argue with him because he is brilliant and he has a clear position that he hold confidently - there is no better class of person with which to clarify your ideas. I get the impression he enjoys our interactions as well, at least as occasional diversions. If nothing else, he is generously tolerant of my impertinence.

This award is all the more encouraging to me, as I often hear people talk as if being a good scientist and being a good educator are incompatible goals. Michael proves otherwise, with tremendous success as a researcher, a graduate student adviser, and a classroom instructor.

I recommend listening to Michael's acceptance speech. It is short, but charming: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/members/awards-and-honors/aps-mentor-award/mentor-award-recipients/turvey