In academia, as elsewhere, there are all sorts of ostensibly significant distinctions between past achievements, current projects, and planning. The ubiquity of the planning is probably more than just as administrative obsession, more than just a salient illustration of the corporate influence on higher education. For one would be hard-pressed to find another arena of human activity that is more inherently forward-thinking than higher education.
As we approach the beginning of another academic year, it is worth considering that the last day of each academic year is called “commencement”—pointedly illustrating the academic emphasis on blurring the usual distinctions between beginnings and endings, on viewing each conclusion or achievement as a fresh point of beginning. We see this emphasis in the successive cohorts of students whom we teach, in the research that we do, and, more broadly, in the ways in which we replenish our faculty ranks.
The cynic in me…
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