Higher Ed – Don’t Change for the Hater, Change for the Student . . .

To say society is not in love with higher education is an understatement. A recent NBC News / Wall Street Journal survey found that Americans are split on the value of a college degree and even fewer, 39% of 18-34 year olds felt that a college degree was worth the expense. Indeed these are challenging times for higher education. The current view is that college is expensive, takes time away from productive work, is not a promise kept in terms of career success, and, in some cases, could be manipulative. Virtually every segment of higher education is seen in a negative light.  Continue reading

Top 5 Tuesday – The Queen of Soul

Just a few thoughts this morning about what seems like the inevitable end of a legends career and life. As of this blog post Aretha Franklin is in Hospice care and things don’t look good. So instead of waiting for her to pass I wanted to get my thoughts out there. Aretha Franklin is treasured in the Preston house because she was my father’s favorite singer. her voice rang out in our house on Sunday mornings as we listened to her records as our church. It was her voice that was the last voice he heard as he passed away 13 years ago.  Continue reading

Want to defend Higher Education? Invest in Humanities Research.

There is no doubt that there is a growing and more vocal distrust of Higher Education in the United States. From free speech to rising tuition there are lots of reasons many do not trust higher education whether warranted or not. The major issue seems to be that higher education is struggling to show it’s value. While there is data we can point to supporting a case for higher education, in my opinion, there is not enough research in the humanities which develops an education narrative. So, despite the numbers being mostly in our favor the lack of narrative is hurting our case for education leaving us open to qualitative attack from those who want to diminish our value. Continue reading

What I was Listening to This Week

So every Sunday (for the most part) I am planning on writing a post focused on what music I am listening to and thinking about in terms of music. I hope that I can reach other music nerds and also highlight what I am into. If you are interested or like something let me know and let’s talk about it. I love listening to music and podcasts and I hope you do to.

This week I slowly started listening to albums on my #Preston1600 list. This album list is made up of albums I compiled for a massive data review of dozens of “best of” lists from Rolling Stone magazine to KEXP Radio to The Source magazine. From that I curated the top 1600 albums. Here are short reviews of these first few listed albums – Continue reading

The Day I Fell in Love with Hip Hop

Today, August 11th, 1973 at 1520 Sedgewick Ave. DJ Kool Herc played a party for his sister and the art of hip hop began. 1973 is a pretty important year for me because it was also the year I was born. So I am partial to 1973. So, today there were a number of posts on Twitter asking when did you fall in love with hip hop? I reflected on this question for some time today. You see, hip hop feels like it has been part of my life for a long time. So long ago I could not really recognize when I actually fell in love with hip hop. Continue reading

Politics, Free Speech, and the Provocateur’s Privilege

So this is going to be another blog post on free speech and I apologize in advance for walking down this well worn trail. But I have to address the elephant in the room when it comes to free speech and college campuses. Free speech is not free! As a matter of fact it can be very expensive. We have seen all of the stories. At the University of Florida in the Fall of 2017 officials spent over $500,000 to provide adequate security for invited speaker Richard Spencer. A speaker, it should be noted, who was not invited by the university but by a student organization. The University of California – Berkeley spent over $2.5 million on security for various speakers in 2017. When I was the director of the Office of Student Involvement at the University of Central Florida we routinely spent tens of thousands of dollars for various events where public safety and discourse had to be simultaneously upheld.  Continue reading

I am not an academic scholar . . . . yet.

I have to admit something . . . I am not a good writer. I don’t even think I can be a good writer. I believe good writing takes talent and I am lacking that talent. Of course this is an issue because I dream of becoming a member of the faculty and a scholar one day. I really like professional scholarship and admire those who are good at it. But, alas, I struggle. But that does not mean I should not try. That is why I am beginning with this blog. I figure if I get in the practice of writing everyday, even if it is just quirky observations and personal exploits then I will grow into a better writer and that will help my scholarship.  Continue reading

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