Higher Education Webcasts

Prose and Purpose

After 25 years on the job, a former provost examines the world on campus and in higher ed.

May 15, 2011 - 6:13pm
Whenever I think of commencement, I always think of President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech making quote—“Be sincere, be brief, be seated.” For any and all speakers at a commencement, there needs to be a realization that this is the graduates’ special moment. The time should not be filled by long speeches, by overly technical speeches, by politically divisive speeches, or by crude humor. And having gone – to date – to approximately 200 commencement ceremonies, I have experienced all of the above (thankfully, very rarely) as well as many commencements that were virtually perfect.
May 8, 2011 - 6:45pm
As an economics undergraduate major and subsequently a doctoral student, I remember studying World War I, especially the economic consequences of the Treaty of Versailles. Impossibly large reparations were just one ingredient in setting the stage for another world war to quickly follow World War I. In high school and most likely in middle school, I also studied this war to end all wars. As I remember it, history in middle school and in high school was mostly a story of wars with only a brief focus on other events.
May 1, 2011 - 5:44pm
A few weeks ago, Hofstra Law School organized a one day conference on cyberbullying. I had the opportunity, in my capacity as Hofstra’s Provost, to say a few words at the beginning of the conference but I stayed for the keynote address because as a parent and also as a school board member, the topic has special importance for me. In my remarks I mentioned a news story that attracted major attention a few years ago where a 49 year old mom was convicted on misdemeanor charges for posing as a 16 year old boy on MySpace.com.
April 24, 2011 - 8:38pm
Recently at a program presented by the Long Island Arts Alliance, New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner made an impassioned plea to a very friendly audience in support of arts education. The Commissioner feels strongly that art and music education not only has a place in K- 12 education but that it is a very important place equal in importance to English, Math and Science. I very much agree and I would also add that health and physical education hold a place of importance as well.
April 17, 2011 - 6:44pm
For the last four days, I have been driving a Chevrolet Volt which is a real electric car (different from the typical hybrid) with a back-up gas powered engine to charge the Lithium-Ion batteries when necessary. The “when necessary” is when you drive the Volt for more than 40 miles. It’s been very interesting and the future is clearly visible here. The car will be displayed on campus (courtesy of East Hills Chevrolet) as part of the University’s Earth Day activities, and the dealer also invited me to drive the car for a few days before it goes on display.
April 11, 2011 - 9:24pm
On the news recently there was mention of a scavenger hunt that will be held in the New York Public Library as part of the centennial celebration of the magnificent Stephen A. Schwarzman building. I am one of a legion of fans of this magnificent building and I am even more appreciative of the incredible collection housed in the building. My relationship with the Public Library goes back to when I was a little kid and always excited to go to my local library and pick out another book to read.
April 3, 2011 - 7:39pm
I have been busy completing my remarks for this season’s first admitted students’ day event. Actually there are now multiple admitted students’ day events since we want the experience to be both as convenient and as personal as possible. And though my remarks are substantially changed from what I said last year, the message each and every year has been remarkably similar. I urge potential undergraduate students and their families to look for the long term value of the higher education the students are about to embark on.
March 27, 2011 - 8:51pm
At least one a year, an entry level administrator will ask me if it is OK to disagree with his/her boss and, if yes, how should s/he disagree. We all know that differences of opinion and the resulting discussions are valuable aspects of an enlightened decision making process. And I could just respond to the question (since I am a Broadway musicals fan) by saying (since singing is not my strong point): just do everything “the company way.” Instead, my answer is that it is certainly OK; if you keep in mind the time, the place, and the style.
March 20, 2011 - 7:07pm
Today was the day but it actually started last August. At that point in time, I purchased four tickets to Spiderman so that my wife, my kids and I could attend. The tickets were full price and I was hoping this show would be a great family outing. But this is a show we have all heard about almost non-stop. There have been a number of accidents, equipment malfunctions, and delayed opening after delayed opening.
March 13, 2011 - 5:57pm
For all of us as educators, the Lumina Foundation draft report on “The Degree Qualifications Profile” needs to be must reading. The Foundation in the first paragraph of the report states that the Profile is “a tool that can help transform U.S.


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