academic wysiwyg, cont. (93)

Sat, 29 Apr 89 00:50:41 EDT

Humanist Mailing List, Vol. 2, No. 905. Saturday, 29 Apr 1989.

(1) Date: Thu, 27 Apr 89 21:08:31 EDT (18 lines)
From: David Megginson <>
Subject: Re: academic WYSIWYG (23)

(2) Date: Thu, 27 Apr 89 21:24:09 CDT (16 lines)
From: "Kevin L. Cope" <ENCOPE@LSUVM>
Subject: Rules for the Selection of Cmparative Literature Programs

(3) Date: 27 April 1989 (34 lines)
From: Willard McCarty <>
Subject: Wysiwya

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 89 21:08:31 EDT
From: David Megginson <>
Subject: Re: academic WYSIWYG (23)

I agree with Jim Halporn, when he suggests checking the MLA
bibliographies before choosing a school. I would like to add the
caution, though, that there is no necessary correlation between
academic work and teaching ability. Even at the graduate level,
professors need teaching skills which, unfortunately, too many lack.
I'm sure that everyone reading this has, at some point, had a professor
who was spectacular in print or even on the podium, but dead weight
in the seminar or across a desk.

How do the members of HUMANIST feel about 3 or 4 compulsary courses on
teaching for all graduate students? Good professors may be an act of
g/God(s), but competent professors need not be.

David Megginson <>
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------20----
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 89 21:24:09 CDT
From: "Kevin L. Cope" <ENCOPE@LSUVM>
Subject: Rules for the Selection of Cmparative Literature Programs

While I agree with Mr. Halporn's general principles for the selection of
graduate programs, I would like to suggest that the sources he recommends
are often inaccurate or inadequate. The Directory of American Scholars is
not much good when it comes to well-known but younger scholars. Likewise, the
MLA Directory is wildly inaccurate and incomplete in certain fields. The chief
professional organizations in my field (the eighteenth century) have, for very
good reasons, disconnected themselves from the MLA. Hence, the MLA doesn't do
much to keep track of work in this field. It's a better strategy to look into
the directories and bibliographies of professional organizations dedicated to
the student's specific area of interest. Mr. Halporn's suggestion that would-
be students consult present graduate students--the consumers--is an excellent
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 27 April 1989
From: Willard McCarty <>
Subject: Wysiwya

Here we are again, avoiding work to talk about things that matter: in
this case, choosing a graduate school, which may amount to nothing, but
because so much eros is involved, even nothing has a steep price.

Studying with the right person or people is crucial, but so much depends
on what the student is after. The skills that lead to the most rapid
progress up the academic ladder may not be those that result in the best
scholars. The best scholars are not necessarily those who publish the
most. Ok, so we all know about this, yet as Venus' son says to
the triumphant Phoebus in the Metamorphoses, you may be superior to the
serpent, but I rule you and can make you play the fool any day.

One test I can suggest from experience (in addition to the others) is to
write to the person with whom one wants to study. If he or she replies,
then you know something about that person.

Most important of all, again, is to be clear about what you want,
because you may get it. This is, of course, the irony of living in
an affluent world. An Aladin's lamp on every person's shelf.

The MLA bibliography is a guide (perhaps inaccurate in some fields) to
what's popular, the conventions even more so. I am happy to see that
computing in the humanities, thanks to the ACH, is gaining a stronger
presence in those conventions, and I was delighted at how much genuine
enjoyment was to be felt in the session in which I was involved last
December. Good work well and clearly presented. I don't think we can be
as sanguine about the older, traditional subjects and about using any
such academic barometer to determine where to study them.

Willard McCarty