R. Clay Reynolds

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Trigger Warnings

In a May 21, 2014, Washington Post column, Kathleen Parker alerted readers to a phenomenon in higher education termed “trigger warnings.”  These are instructional caveats offered about class assignments that may contain language, situations, or expressed political, religious, or personal

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The Ice Storm

This morning, an icy December predawn, about 5:30, Oncor, our utility company, performed a miracle.  I’m not sure if anyone actually said, “Let there be light!”; but for a certainty, there was light—and heat—and it was good.  After more than

From Castro to Cancun
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From Castro to Cancun

I’ve long wanted to go to Cuba for the same reason that most Americans my age might.  I wanted to see a place that has, for most of my life, been shrouded in mystery.  It has been difficult for me

A Spectacle of Joy, With a Touch of Discomfort
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A Spectacle of Joy, With a Touch of Discomfort

Over the weekend of March 11, our daughter, Virginia, was married in the Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.  She said she wanted to be married in a place surrounded by natural beauty, well away from trite tourism.  After some

U No What I Meen: Technology and Illiteracy
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U No What I Meen: Technology and Illiteracy

Most college and university professors know that even though students may successfully complete remedial courses and even a full slate of freshman and sophomore classes, many will still be unable to use proper language mechanics or to work with complex

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On the Death of Newspapers

This past week, word came to me that a close friend and book-review editor of a major daily newspaper had been laid off after 16 years of service.  The book page, one of the nation’s best, would be reduced by

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The Real Crisis of Higher Education

The current debate about the state and future of higher education seems to center on the question of whether a college degree is a “privilege” or a “right.”  The loudest argument is that any high-school graduate who has followed a

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Where Will You Be When the Lights Go Out?

I recently experienced the most dreadful feeling of helplessness and fear imaginable in what undergraduate essayists call “our modern world of high technology.”

I suffered massive computer breakdown.

The failure of a single computer is bad enough, especially at a

Literary Worth and Popular Taste
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Literary Worth and Popular Taste

As an academic trained in the study and appreciation of literature, I have spent the better part of my life staunchly defending the ramparts of literary endeavor against the slings and arrows of outrageous pop-fiction lovers. I have steadily despaired

Sexual Harassment and the Academy
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Sexual Harassment and the Academy

SCENE; Administrative conference room at a major university. Five grim-faced faculty members sit around a long table and stare at THE ACCUSED, who sits at one end, apart and alone. He is well dressed, young middle-aged, nice looking but not

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The Creativity Profession

It has always been my impression that people who talk and write most about the creative process are not usually very creative. It’s sort of like a corollary to that old maxim, “Those who can’t do, teach”; those who can’t