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April 29, 2008 - 7:17pm
I'm currently putting the final numbers together for Greenback's greenhouse gas inventory. As on a lot of campuses, the last piece of the puzzle is commuting emissions, encompassing faculty, staff and students. I won't bore you with the mechanics of the process, but trust me -- it's been a lot of work. Managing emissions is, at its heart, an engineering problem. How much you emit is determined not just by what you do, but also by the technologies you use to do it. The formulae for calculating emissions are well known -- the challenge is having the data to work the formulae.
April 29, 2008 - 12:54pm
One of the more interesting features of the current enthusiasm for discussing college costs and the elaborate mechanisms to discount tuition and fees for various classes of students at elite institutions is confusion about the process. Some approach this conversation as if it were about dramatic changes in the opportunities for poor but smart high school graduates to attend elite institutions, previously out of reach. Although this may end up as a result for some, the manipulations of the financial aid process are actually about how to buy student talent more competitively.
April 28, 2008 - 10:08pm
Someone I respect asked recently why administrators s/he otherwise likes and respects occasionally make horrible, offensive decisions. Why would an intelligent person of goodwill support something terrible? It struck a nerve. I've been in that situation, or close variations on it, more often than I care to admit. Why would a smart person with ethics and a sense of reality support decisions that it seems Satan would endorse?
April 28, 2008 - 11:11am
Professor is an odd thing. Students call out "Professor!" in the hall, and sometimes they mean me. Professor Soltan. Yet I never believe Professor means me. Too swell an honorific. Students have to say it twice before I look around. "Professor! ... Professor Soltan!" The latest summoning of UD via the word professor happened last Friday, at the elevators on the sixth floor of Rome Hall, near my George Washington University office. "Professor! ... Professor Soltan! I was at your Philosophy Club talk the other night."
April 27, 2008 - 8:55pm
A new correspondent writes:
April 25, 2008 - 6:39am
Congratulations, Clancy!
April 24, 2008 - 9:53pm
OK, so the blog has been on hiatus for a few days. I haven't. Quite the opposite. Since the weekend, I've been hip deep in preparing for, conducting, and recuperating from Earth Day activities. Earth Day at Greenback is getting bigger every year. Not rapidly, but not glacially, either. (And "glacially" isn't what it used to be!) Students do stuff, some faculty do stuff, but if it's going to be coordinated and substantive and successful, it still requires a huge helping of administrative support.
April 24, 2008 - 2:52pm
When I was very little, my mom took me down to the Mississippi to see a river barge that had broken loose from its tug in a recent flood. It was stranded on the bank, overflowing with coal, and we walked down to the thing and touched its hull. It looked to me like a rusted building stuck awkwardly in the mud. The forces involved were terrifying.
April 23, 2008 - 9:53pm
This time of year, community colleges suddenly get a lot more attractive. High school seniors who applied to college for the coming Fall got their notifications and aid awards - if any - by or around April 15. Depending on the school, they usually have until May 1 or May 15 to respond.
April 23, 2008 - 9:46am
If we are focused on improvement, we have to design a strategy for improvement. Although it is possible to have grand ideas and elaborate discussions about the importance of this or that within the university's portfolio of activities, the critical issue is to know what defines competitive achievement and what drives success in this competition.



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