My column writing gig with Inside Higher Ed continues. In my most recent batch of columns, archived below, two in particular stand out. The first is the “On Guns in My Classroom” column, which was picked up by three pr0-gun blogs, and drew the ire of an extreme pro-gun demographic. Read the comments, on both my post and the subsequent posts about me. They’re striking. The reaction posts were at The Truth About Guns, Guns Save Life, and No Lawyers, Just Guns and Money. The posts speak for themselves in their ridiculousness, but I’ll point out that the last of these was by an adjunct at my own institution, named John Richardson, who has subsequently stopped returning emails about my proposition that he and I debate the issue for a public audience. I’m glad I wrote that column, and I stick by every word of it.
The second column of significance this go around was the one titled “My Ride to the Airport,” in which I tried to dole out some thanks to a fellow named Jim Marshall, who was a great help to me at a key moment at the beginning of my undergrad career. My only regret about the column is that I didn’t individually thank all of the other folks at Iowa who helped me out so much.
The gig goes on.
My Ride to the Airport (3/19/13)
Just Go to Bed (3/1/13)
On Guns in My Classroom (2/6/13)
A Chance to Advance (1/21/13)
Personal and Professional Boundaries (1/4/13)
How to Handle ‘In Process’ Work (12/3/12)
Veterans in the Classroom (11/12/12)
Prepare for Administration (10/26/12)
I continue to persevere in my endeavor to demystify the work of the professoriate with my Tyro Tracts column for Inside Higher Ed. My most recent columns are listed below, in my ongoing effort to inventory all of my work on this site as a sort of reference and backup. I’ve received unusually little angry reader mail lately, which makes me pretty sure that I’ve been missing my stride as of late. I’ll try to remedy that, and apologize that I don’t have the incoherent rantings of any old coots to post with this batch.
I will, however, be at MLA this year on Friday, January 4th, from 1:30-2:20, presenting somewheres in the Convention Center. More than likely I’ll be speaking about some of the tensions between rhetoric and literature in English departments, and how both rhet/comp and literature grad students can negotiate those tensions ethically while on the job market. It will be very practically oriented toward those on the job market, and I will seek not to add to those tensions (which are ridiculous, but still exist at many institutions). I’ll be presenting with Mary Churchill, co-editor of the University of Venus blog, as well as with Dean Dad, author of the column by the same name, who will be revealing his true identity to the public for the first time. I suggested some high drama with a lucha libre mask as a possibility, but he decorously parried that suggestion. The three of us, in addition to some other IHE folks, will also be sporadically manning a booth at which we will consult individually with graduate students or faculty who would like to consult with us about professional issues.
I also have the privilege at MLA of chairing a panel of rhetoric superstars, to whit, Trish Roberts-Miller, Cynthia Selfe, Gail Hawisher, and Victor Vitanza. I will not be speaking with them, but meekly alerting one of them that they have run over time if necessary, and attempting to moderate questions from what is sure to be a large audience. Additional details for each event to follow as I receive them.
Conquering Writing Anxieties (10/10/12)
Fight for Your Rights (9/24/12)
Salary Realities (9/5/12)
Walk Like a Duck (8/20/12)
Deadlines Matter (8/1/12)
Ease Up, Don’t Ratchet Down (7/11/12)
Protect Your Health (6/27/12)
We All Need a Vacation (6/11/12)
Writing a regular column for Inside Higher Ed, a year into the gig, has been an interesting experience, to say the least. I am enjoying having a regular deadline for non-scholarly writing (which I essentially count as service in my CV accounting). Commenters frequently baffle and amuse me, and I have been taking a perverse pleasure in the intentional misreadings and/or ill-will of some commenters. It’s been great fun to write for a public audience, even if I don’t always feel qualified to do so. It’s one of those Walk Like a Duck sort of gigs, I guess. Just do the best you can and don’t worry about the rest. I will share some correspondence though, which was precipitated by my column (12/19/11, linked below) responding to Stephen Bloom’s criticisms of Iowa and Iowans:
Hopkinton, Iowa 52237
Re: Go Native, Be Happy
Dear Mr. Kreuter:
You state, “Bloon’s opinion piece (the point of which I already forget). . .
So since you have forgotten, all I read thereafter is an exposition about Nathan’s Big Ego.
So be it.
However, don’t use Professor Bloom as a whipping boy for your narcissistic thoughts.
Mr. Bloom does know Iowa and it’s citizens.
I know: my family on both sides have lived in rural and urban Iowa for 160+/- years. I moved back to Iowa after living in many locations for 25 years. I have been tarred and feathered by my “neighbors” for doing nothing more than installing a locked gate at the entrance to my property (the sheriff told me when I bought the property, that if I left anything on property overnight, it would be gone or destroyed by morning). And yes, I have been (on both sides) an illegal immigrant for 375 +/- years.
Oh yes, I read your “ABOUT NATE” autobiography, your “INTERESTS”, your “AMBITIONS”, your “ALLIES”, and your “ABOUT 3 X 3″ on your “special” site.
You sir are the last pompous twit that I would listen too. Maybe if Newt gets the Republican nomination (because of the evangelicals of Western Iowa), he can ask you to be his V.P. Two self-absorbed buddies: Newt can be President, you can be the head of the Supreme Court. Then the two of you can dissolve the Congress.
As another Iowan import of limited mental capacity that trashed Professor Bloom says, (a Southerner like you who says if Professor Bloom had just said those three little words no one would have objected, because they would have known he really loved them):
“Bless your heart”.
[Redacted] [sic all, and emphases in the original -NK]
Of course, I had to respond, because a nutty old coot doesn’t pitch me this sort of softball every day, and so, for kicks, I took on the voice of a fictional assistant:
Thank you for your fan letter. Unfortunately, Dr. Kreuter does not have time to respond to every message he receives. However, as his personal assistant, and the primary person responsible for the bulk of his correspondence, I will pass along your praise to Dr. Kreuter. He always enjoys hearing from fellow Iowans! He also always appreciates hearing when an article or column strikes a resonance with an astute reader.
Personal Assistant to Dr. Nate Kreuter
Western Carolina University
PS–I should inform you that, despite some of the allusions of your letter, Dr. Kreuter is most definitely not a Republican. He has voted a straight Klingon ticket ever since he moved away from Riverside, Iowa (Future Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk) for the last time in 2006. I have his voting records and Klingon Party registration cards in my filing cabinet, for future inclusion in Dr. Kreuter’s archives.
That is, I believe, the only way to respond to incoherent correspondents.
Here’s a string of the columns I’ve written since my last inventory, including the Bloom response:
Learning Time Management (5/30/12)
Pushy Textbook Publishers (5/14/12)
Professorial Discretion (4/23/12)
Gaming the Grad Stipend (4/9/12)
Managing the Anticlimaxes (3/26/12)
Tilting at Windmills (3/12/12)
The Accidental Therapist (2/22/12)
E-mail Boundaries (2/6/12)
Professors vs. Zombies (1/25/12)
Be Your Weird Self (1/13/12)
Go Native, Be Happy (12/19/11)
Booze and the Young Academic (12/5/11)
You Aren’t the Exception (11/21/11)
Friends and Friendly (11/8/11)
Why I (Usually) Wear a Tie (10/24/11)
In my ongoing effort to archive links to my Inside Higher Ed columns, here are my six most recent efforts. It’s always a wonder which columns will elicit strong reactions, and which ones will go more or less unnoticed. The nature of the reactions is always unpredictable as well. So far writing the column has been a pleasure, and a welcome change of pace from my ongoing, traditional scholarship.
The Freedom to Fail
Teaching Student-Athletes with contributions from Eric Dieter
The Frustration of Not Seeing
To Moonlight or Not
Get a Financial Education
Advice on Academic Advice
My blogging frequency has dropped off lately because: 1) it’s summer, and I have been traveling and I need a break and have less to say anyway; and, 2) because I recently began writing a column dealing with professionalization issues for Inside Higher Ed. The column is called “Tyro Tracts” and is intended to deal with the professionalization issues that face advanced graduate students and junior faculty (in all disciplines). Because of the column, most of the stuff I have to write about professionalization issues, a past focus for this blog, will now be posted over at the Inside Higher Ed site (I won’t be cross-posting the columns, though I may index them somewhere here on 3 x 3). I’ll continue to write about issues specific to rhetoric and composition here at 3 x 3 in Cullowhee, and my blogging frequency will pick back up in the fall. With the IHE columns, I’m trying to address issues that don’t typically get addressed, or that people may find awkward to ask about, or not even know to ask/think about. If you have a topic for a column, I’d love suggestions. For example, I had no idea that the column on how to properly address professors would get such a strong response. Anything is fair game. Just drop a line or leave a comment if you have a column question or idea. The column runs every two weeks.
My first four IHE columns are here:
Respect Departmental Staff
Doctor, Professor, or ‘Hey, you’?
Rules of the Game