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Chance Layton

Some of the zest of intellectual life comes from the stories we tell one another. Learning is not just a transfer of information. It is discovery, sometimes spirited disagreement, sometimes persuasion, and often humor.

Please accept this invitation to engage our community by telling your own stories. We plan to publish your personal anecdotes, advice, and narratives to entertain and enlighten our members. And we hope to provide a colorful platform for dialogue and reflection on “what is past, or passing, or to come.” (That was Yeats on the bird that sings to the lords and ladies of Byzantium, but you don’t have to be Yeats to take part in our conversation.)

Share your own perspective on the world of higher education. Your stories and advice have the power to inspire others. To that end, we are seeking four types of anecdotes, each with its own purpose and flavor:

1. Dear Future Professor

In this series of advice articles, we invite you to offer guidance and insights to undergraduate and graduate students aspiring to pursue a career in academia. Share your personal journey— highlighting the joys and challenges—and offer words of wisdom, encouragement, and even a touch of sarcasm or perplexity. These articles, ranging from 500 to 1000 words, will provide valuable perspectives for the next generation of scholars, helping them navigate the complexities of academia.

2. Ask a Professor

On the daily we come across perplexing problems, why not ask a professor to solve them? In this series we hope to deliver your questions, be they mundane with a twist or incredibly complex, to professors and scholars in our network best fit to answer them. Your questions and a professor’s response to them will form the basis of this revived series.

3. Tales from Campus

Every campus has its share of wild, ridiculous, and sometimes unbelievable stories. We want to hear your professional anecdotes that shed light on the most lively and hilarious aspects of college life. Whether it's a student's unforgettable antics, an administrator's surprising decision, or a faculty meeting that took an unexpected turn, these stories belong in the annals of academia. By sharing these tales, you will not only entertain your fellow NAS members but also give them a glimpse into the quirks of academic life that resemble scenes from a campus novel.

4. Doktorvater

This series of heartfelt or witty memoirs invites you to reminisce about the professors from decades past who played a significant role in your academic journey. Share conversations, impressions, and vignettes from your time studying under these remarkable men and women. By bringing these influential figures to life through your storytelling, you can respectfully roast or playfully pay tribute to their contributions to your education—and showcase the characters in the drama of higher learning.

To submit your anecdotes, simply reply to this email with the subject line of the series in which you would like to participate and your story or ideas. You may also email us at [email protected]. Our editorial team will review your submissions and work with you to prepare them for publication. We can’t promise we’ll publish every piece sent our way, but we will give it the serious consideration it deserves. We encourage creativity, honesty, and a touch of humor in your storytelling. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, or to share your thoughts about this initiative.

Thank you for being an essential part of the NAS community. Your contributions make our network stronger and more vibrant. We look forward to reading your stories and continuing to engage in meaningful conversations about the future of higher education.


Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash

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