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Campus Confidential

How College Works, or Doesn’t, for Professors, Parents, and Students

Chances are distressingly high that an American undergraduate—even one attending an elite institution—will be taught mostly by overworked and underpaid adjunct professors and graduate students who have received no teacher training and whose careers are haunted by the “publish or perish” ethos of modern Academe. This may suit the university’s bottom line, but does it really constitute a quality education for their students?

Campus Confidential is an irreverent and incisive professor’s-eye view on college today, in which Jacques Berlinerblau tells us what so many professors are thinking but so few are saying.

From a close look at this new professoriate and how to get the best out of it, to learning how to survive bare-knuckle interdepartmental politics, to valuable tips on how to evaluate and apply to colleges in the first place, Berlinerblau offers a master class on how colleges can operate and improve themselves, and how potential students and their parents can make an informed decision on which to attend.

JACQUES BERLINERBLAU is a Professor and the Director of the Center for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Nation, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and he has appeared on CNN, PBS, CBS, NPR. and elsewhere. His most recent book was How to be Secular. Read his posts on MobyLives!

“Berlinerblau’s book often reads like a comic campus novel.” —Jonathan Marks, Commentary

“Berlinerblau is not just an astonishing thinker; he knows how to turn a phrase, and he knows how to keep the pages turning. Now put down that tefillin and read it!” Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story and Absurdistan

“I know of no book that details the rituals and customs of the academic habitat so concretely — and entertainingly, too. But this is more than a high-quality piece of arch observation.  Beneath the droll vignettes runs an earnest faith we absolutely must sustain: liberal education and the teachers who purvey it are crucial to civil society and enlightened culture.  If we allow the noble practice of teaching to deteriorate, Berlinerblau rightly insists, we jeopardize all the other things we hold dear.” — Mark Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation

Praise for How to be Secular:

“Berlinerblau provides a good model for what secular biblical scholarship can achieve. He takes the time to spell out and differentiate between what the Bible actually says and what fundamentalists claim it says, between the Bible’s ambivalent positions and the right wing’s simplistic conclusions. He understands the powerful political reasoning that motivated self-serving interpretations, criticizes them and properly urges a secular nontheological reading and understanding of the texts.” — Pearl Abraham, the Forward

“To regain prominence, secularists need to be known, once again, for a nuanced understanding of the past and inspiring ideas for the future. Berlinerblau’s book, erudite and warm and not without humor, is a great step in this direction.” — Liel Leibovitz, Tablet