Extra Credit: 'Heroic' professor leads the fight to clean up Flint's water

Your weekend reading list

Emily Hatton's reads

Just because you play in the NFL doesn't mean you can't still be a student athlete. This offseason, Baltimore Ravens lineman John Urschel will begin a Ph.D. program in philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is listed as a graduate student for Spectral Graph Theory, Numerical Linear Algebra, and Machine Learning. While Urschel was an undergraduate at Pennsylvania State University, several of his papers were published in peer-reviewed academic journals, and upon graduation he earned the "academic Heisman," the William V. Campbell Trophy, from the NFL and College Football Hall of Fame. 

Kristin Tyndall's read

A professor is leading the crusade to clean up the water in Flint, Michigan—as he did in Washington, D.C. years ago. Marc Edwards, professor of environmental engineering at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), spent thousands of dollars of his own money to prove that the District of Columbia's tap water contained dangerous levels of lead and fighting to get the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to admit it had underestimated the scope of the danger and impact. So when residents of Flint began to suspect they had a similar problem, they called him. Edwards, furious at the notion of another public health disaster, decided to go "all in for Flint." He tells the Washington Post, "I feel like I’m doing the job I was born to do."

Aly Seidel's reads

The messy tenure maze. Students in a class at Brandeis University are petitioning the university to change their professor's adjunct position into a tenure-track assistant professorship. The students wrote administrators an open letter praising their teacher—but as Rebecca Schuman at Slate explains, merit alone often is not enough to gain tenure.

Bringin' some razzle dazzle into the classroom. "Education, at its most engaging, is performance art," Jessica Lahey writes in The Atlantic. She interviews a famous magician—and former Latin teacher—to discover what educators can learn from the stage.

Too many professors are working for free. Many professors in pursuit of tenure work through the summer, even though they aren't paid for those three months. But this isn't the norm in other countries , and a biology professor at California State University writes on his personal blog that the status quo is not acceptable.

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