Cory Leonard

Archive for the ‘career’ Category

Lib Arts Going Global @Yale

In career on May 4, 2016 at 6:16 am

To defend the liberal arts perhaps they need to be globalized? Take a look at this Yale conference coming up 6-7 June that includes Andrew Delbanco and William Dersiewicz (“Don’t Send Your Kids to the Ivy League”), two insightful observers of higher ed and liberal arts in the U.S.

A collaboration between the National University of Singapore and Yale University, located in Singapore, Yale-NUS College aims to redefine liberal arts and sciences education for a complex, interconnected world.

At a time when the liberal arts are frequently met with skepticism in the United States, there has been strong interest in developing liberal arts programs in both Asia and Europe. This symposium and workshop, funded with grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, Teagle Foundation, and the J Y Pillay Global-Asia Program, will bring together approximately 50 faculty and senior staff from liberal arts colleges and universities around the United States to discuss renewal of college curricula. In particular, we will focus on how liberal arts and sciences programs can offer an international and multidisciplinary foundation for student learning through demanding and cohesive general education courses.

We hope to draw on our experience founding Yale-NUS College to share lessons learned in creating a new liberal arts college in Asia, and to discuss how our experience might prove relevant to curricular innovation in the United States. In addition, having undertaken a review of our Common Curriculum, we will discuss ways in which the College and other liberal arts institutions might improve their general education programs, specifically to incorporate Asian topics, themes, and texts into their curricula.

American faculty members’ understanding of how liberal arts education is being reimagined and reinvented by non-Western educational systems, such as Yale-NUS College, will offer a valuable opportunity for colleges and universities in the United States to re-evaluate their own curricula. As a result, this re-imagining of a global curriculum will support the sustainability of US liberal arts education.

Source: Globalizing the Liberal Arts 2016


The Non-Cognitive Voodoo that You Do

In career on December 5, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Got skills? Yes, but what about the other kind? (The kinds that the OECD emphasizes as a critical set of skills for primary and secondary schools.)


Sometimes called “soft” skills, character skills, or social and emotional skills, non-cognitive skills include traits like motivation, sociability, empathy, attention, self-esteem, and self-regulation. These skills have traditionally been undervalued, but there is hard evidence that they are more critical to a person’s success in life than almost anything else.

There are also broader benefits of non-cognitive skills to society at large, including less crime, better health, higher civic engagement, higher employment, and a generally more trusting, inclusive society.

So how do we translate all of these studies demonstrating the importance of non-cognitive skills into education practice?

According to Heckman, mentoring, family engagement, and personalized education are critical because skill formation is dynamic — in other words, skills beget skills. Therefore, it’s important to promote policies that help develop non-cognitive skills. This begins with early childhood education and interventions, but it continues throughout a child’s education into adulthood, with work-based apprenticeship programs that build attachment, interaction, and trust.

“We need a much more comprehensive notion of what education means today — the key is attachment, engagement, and a deeper understanding of mentoring and learning. It also means when we measure education, we have to go beyond academic measures and measure non-cognitive skills. Start early, go broadly, and go far beyond school,” Heckman said.

Via Asia Society | ‘Start Early, Go Broadly, and Go Far Beyond School

The “Big Five” key personality skills of conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional stability, openness, and extraversion are part of the “Rosetta Stone”–according to Richard D. Roberts, Jonathan E. Martin, and Gabriel Olaru. These factors are well-researched, beginning with Ernest Tupes and Raymond Christal in 1961 and being more well-known by academic researchers in the 1980s.

The extent to which someone is open, conscientious, extraverted, agreeable and neurotic determines success in life just as much as (and in some cases, notably thick men who wish to avoid jail, more than) their academic ability. It is not enough to be smart, you must be tenacious as well.

via The Economist | Blighty – “Not just smart but persistent as well

This idea has been widely reinvigorated by educators and popularized by David Brooks in The Social Animal.



Employers [Heart] Study Abroad

In career on June 22, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Did you  study abroad in Paris or Phnom Pehn?

Research shows that employers believe that the experiences proves even more valuable later in your career, companies embrace alumni for the work skills they can develop, and programs signal ‘risk taking’ as well as global curiosity–strengths in a competitive marketplace.

via What Employers Really Think About Study Abroad | Articles | Noodle.

Let’s Try Failure

In career on April 14, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Failure as a Muse - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Failure is in vogue. It appears to be an effective strategy for literary types, who “don’t fail like ordinary people. They fail in their bones. They fail even when they triumph.”:

“Was ever a writer so besotted by failure as F. Scott Fitzgerald?” So Geoff Dyer opens an essay on The Beautiful and Damned, and the answer is “no.” The young Fitzgerald pushed desperately for literary success, Dyer believes, to create his great subject: failure on a “colossal scale.” Ironically, the despair, regret, and alcoholism that in the end ruled his life inspired the Lost Generation’s leader. This “ideal of ruination,” to use Dyer’s phrase, has consistently heartened more-recent American writers as well, such as Richard Yates of Revolutionary Road.

via Failure as a Muse – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.



Revisiting David Foster Wallace’s Kenyon College Address

In career on March 2, 2015 at 6:42 pm

I find Wallace to have given an insightful and kind convocation speech–in a field that is notable for its superfluity and self-gratification. But this view from Tom Bissell makes me sad to see how much this thought-provoking and truth-telling talk was really about the speaker himself.

Wallace was often accused, even by his admirers, of having a weakness for what Nabokov once referred to as “the doubtful splendors of virtuosity.” Standing before the graduates of Kenyon College, Wallace opted for a tonal simplicity only occasionally evident in the hedge mazes of his fiction. He spoke about the difficulty of empathy (“Think about it: There is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute center of”), the importance of being well adjusted (“which I suggest to you is not an accidental term”) and the essential lonesomeness of adult life (“lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation”). Truthful, funny and unflaggingly warm, the address was obviously the work of a wise and very kind man. At the edges, though, there was something else — the faint but unmistakable sense that Wallace had passed through considerable darkness, some of which still clung to him, but here he was, today, having beaten it, having made it through.

via Essay – David Foster Wallace’s Kenyon College Address – Great and Terrible Truths –


This is Water from Patrick Buckley on Vimeo.

MLA Jobs Tumblr

In career on October 25, 2014 at 7:53 pm

A little bit of inside baseball–but rollicking good fun (the kind that pokes your eyes out a la Greek tragedy) making light of the liberal arts academic job search world:

Ohio University announces that it will not be hiring in English this year, as part of the university’s mission to shrink the department to the size where you can drown it in a bathtub.

via MLA Jobs.


Do Novels Teach “Critical Thinking”? (Maybe, maybe not).

In career on October 14, 2014 at 3:57 pm

On the “subconscious conversations” that reading a massive, challenging novel entails:

Reading is geologic—it takes vast amounts of time and pressure. Worse, however, is that I’ll forget most of what I read in Eliot’s masterpiece. Even now, close to finished but still immersed in the text, I confuse characters: Was Fred Vincy the one who owed money, or was it Ladislaw? And what’s the young, ambitious doctor’s name again?

via Ambiguous Pleasures – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Leadership Hall of Fame | Richard Barton, technologist

In career, tech on August 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm

If consistency and the ability to produce are the goals, Richard Barton is the king of Silicon Valley–even though he lives in Seattle.

Mr. Barton’s successes have not brought him the multibillion-dollar returns of the latest tech sensations, or the name recognition of some of tech’s leaders. But by producing and investing in a series of successful start-ups, Mr. Barton, 46, has managed to accomplish something few others have done.

“You can name people who are richer than Rich, but you can’t name very many people who have his track record,” said Nick Hanauer, a Seattle venture capitalist who was an early investor in Amazon and is a close friend of Mr. Barton’s. “You will find very few people in this country who have as many times created something from nothing.”

via The Art of ‘Something From Nothing’ –

Should You Love Your Job? Expectations and the Rest of Your Life

In career on May 23, 2014 at 8:22 pm


An argument about unhappiness among recent college graduates–a particular subclass–and at best, an effort to explain how social media plays into misshapen expectations about post-collegiate life.  Also, a great implicit argument for a broad liberal education–as that will help you figure out what a good life is, after all.

Sure, some people from Lucy’s parents’ high school or college classes ended up more successful than her parents did.  And while they may have heard about some of it from time to time through the grapevine, for the most part they didn’t really know what was going on in too many other peoples’ careers.

Lucy, on the other hand, finds herself constantly taunted by a modern phenomenon: Facebook Image Crafting.

Social media creates a world for Lucy where A) what everyone else is doing is very out in the open, B) most people present an inflated version of their own existence, and C) the people who chime in the most about their careers are usually those whose careers (or relationships) are going the best, while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation.  This leaves Lucy feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well, only adding to her misery:

via wait but why: Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy.


Another aspect to this comes from unrealistic expectations about he working world.  One common message from higher education is to “do what you love”–but the reality experienced by alumni is much different.

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life! Before succumbing to the intoxicating warmth of that promise, it’s critical to ask, “Who, exactly, benefits from making work feel like nonwork?” “Why should workers feel as if they aren’t working when they are?” In masking the very exploitative mechanisms of labor that it fuels, DWYL is, in fact, the most perfect ideological tool of capitalism. If we acknowledged all of our work as work, we could set appropriate limits for it, demanding fair compensation and humane schedules that allow for family and leisure time.

And if we did that, more of us could get around to doing what it is we really love.

via Do what you love, love what you do: An omnipresent mantra that’s bad for work and workers..

Take Gordon Merino, waxing all philosophical about the topic.  He back up the issue to Kant, asking the big question of what work we should do, noting that “doing what you love” rarely plays into the career plan for society’s most important figures:

The universally recognized paragons of humanity — the Nelson Mandelas, Dietrich Bonhoeffers and Martin Luther Kings — did not organize their lives around self-fulfillment and bucket lists. They, no doubt, found a sense of meaning in their heroic acts of self-sacrifice, but they did not do what they were doing in order to achieve that sense of meaning. They did — like my father and some of those kids from town — what they felt they had to do.

Dr. King taught that every life is marked by dimensions of length, breadth and height. Length refers to self-love, breadth to the community and care of others, and height to the transcendent, to something larger than oneself. Most would agree with Dr. King’s prescription that self-fulfillment requires being able to relate yourself to something higher than the self. Traditionally, that something “higher” was code for God, but whatever the transcendent is, it demands obedience and the willingness to submerge and remold our desires.

via Opionator | The Stone | A life beyond do what you love.



What You Learn in Your 40s | NYT

In career on May 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Hear ye middle agers.  Enjoy these classic lessons such as “you don’t have to like jazz,” “there are no grown-ups” and  “more about you is universal than not universal.”

The existing literature treats the 40s as transitional. Victor Hugo supposedly called 40 “the old age of youth.” In Paris, it’s when waiters start calling you “Madame” without an ironic wink. The conventional wisdom is that you’re still reasonably young, but that everything is declining: health, fertility, the certainty that you will one day read “Hamlet” and know how to cook leeks. Among my peers there’s a now-or-never mood: We still have time for a second act, but we’d better get moving on i

via What You Learn in Your 40s –