Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

THE Scholarly Web

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

THE Scholarly Web

Article excerpt

Weekly transmissions from the blogosphere.

"I've been teaching in higher ed for over a decade now and every single day of my life someone sends me something to read, shares an idea, helps me find information, or performs some invaluable act of help."

These are the opening words of an entry posted on Academic Kindness (, a page that appeared on micro-blogging platform Tumblr in November last year. It has been set up to gather tales of generosity, benevolence and goodwill within the scholarly community and share them with the world.

The site's first blog post, dated 6 November 2013, and written by the site's moderator, Rabia Gregory, assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Missouri at Columbia, explains why she decided to set up the page. It tells how she attended a conference in Michigan and, being short of cash at the coffee bar, decided against purchasing a drink.

"A moment later, the senior scholar in line behind me bought me a cappuccino. When I asked for her name so that I could meet her later and repay her ... she said 'you don't need to pay me back. But promise to pay it forward.'"

The author says this unexpected act of kindness is typical of the "unseen culture of kindness in academia" that the blog aims to document.

"I solicit outtakes from peer reviews, emails, marginal comments on seminar papers, and other examples of kindness to publish as a testimony that not all academics are brutish self-centered narcissists who delight in tearing apart the work of others for sport."

Visitors to the site are invited to submit their own stories of academic kindness. …

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