In the Basement of the Ivory Tower

In the Basement of the Ivory Tower

Confessions of An Accidental Academic

Book - 2011
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As his house starts falling apart in every imaginable way, Professor X grabs first one, then two jobs teaching English 101 and 102-composition and literature-at a small private college and a local community college. This is the story of what he learns about his struggling pupils, about the college system-a business more bent on its own financial targets than the wellbeing of its students-about the classics he rediscovers, and about himself. --from publisher description
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2011
ISBN: 9780670022564
Branch Call Number: 378.12 P9429I 2011
Characteristics: xxiii, 258 p. ; 22 cm


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Jul 09, 2015

An entertaining look at human frailty and desires set in college English courses. Professor X asks what the value of a college degree is if everyone has one. No doubt education is always important, however much of the drive for a college degree is increased earnings potential, not knowledge. Correctly asks questions if people should be drowning in debt to complete college degrees and should colleges accept students ( and their money ) when that student has little chance to pass. A very interesting and well written book. Definitely worth reading. The only thing I think he missed was that soon, since everyone has a college degree,, employers will start asking for a requirement of a post graduate degree and then we can keep the cycle going ad infinitum.

Aug 01, 2013

As the title suggests, this book presents a very personal view of the fastest-growing cohort of higher education: technical students attending for-profit colleges. They're all required to take first-year courses in English composition and literature, which is where Professor X comes in, teaching night school students struggling to obtain enough college credits to become nurses and police officers. He demonstrates how vastly under-prepared American high school grads are for the demands of college and the absurdity of a job market that forces them into an impossible situation. If this sounds like a dry thesis, it isn't. The book is enlivened by stories of Professor X's own financial struggles, his rediscovery of the capacity of literature to inform our lives and his empathy for the aspirations of his students. Highly recommended.


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