Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Master’s Degee: “The Stepchild of the University Community”

July 1, 2009
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The Master’s Degee: “The Stepchild of the University Community”

Over at the New York Times’ Room for Debate blog, the editors have assembled a star-studded panel to discuss the age old question: What are master’s degrees worth? In this economic climate, many students are opting to stay in or return to the university system, rather than face unemployment or underemployment in the “real world.” But MA programs are rarely as well-funded as their PhD counterparts (indeed, many programs exist to fund doctorate students), and, upon graduation, newly-minted masters often face crippling student debt. So are MAs worth the cost? One panelist, Mark C. Taylor, says, well, it depends. Taylor, a longtime Chicago author whose books include After God, Confidence Games: Money and Markets in a World without Redemption, and The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture, last made waves in the pages of the Times in April when he called for the university to be “rigorously regulated and completely restructured.” Now, Taylor urges caveat emptor: As a lifelong educator, I believe more education is always a good thing, but buyers must beware. The debt crisis is not limited to governments and universities but extends to students and their families. Far too many students come out of college with substantial . . .

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CPL showcases The Plan of Chicago for the One Book, One Chicago program this Fall

July 1, 2009
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CPL showcases The Plan of Chicago for the One Book, One Chicago program this Fall

The Chicago Public Library has just announced that Carl Smith’s The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City has been selected for its One Book, One Chicago program starting this Fall. According to the CPL website the “One Book, One Chicago encourages all Chicagoans to read the same book at the same time, offering events, discussions, exhibits and more to enhance the experience.” And what better topic to bring together our diverse city than the fascinating story of how it all began? Arguably the most influential document in the history of urban planning, Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, coauthored by Edward Bennett and produced in collaboration with the Commercial Club of Chicago, proposed many of the city’s most distinctive features, including its lakefront parks and roadways, the Magnificent Mile, and Navy Pier. And as Carl Smith’s fascinating history points out, the Plan continues to influence debates, even a century after its publication, about how to create a vibrant and habitable urban environment. Beginning this August, we’ll be blogging here, and at our Plan of Chicago Facebook page to keep you updated on all the forthcoming One Book, One Chicago events and discussions. You can . . .

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