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May 27, 2008 - 5:33am
I've probably spent more time than I should over this Memorial Day weekend at the IHE site, reading and re-reading Scott Jaschik's piece, "Does Academe Hinder Parenthood?" and, especially, the comments on the piece. (Almost 30 of them, at last count.) Jaschik's piece confirmed my sense, derived purely from "anecdata," that academics--and academic women, especially--tend to have smaller families than other professionals.
May 27, 2008 - 5:22am
Over at IHE, there's a story glossing two new studies that suggest that academics are less likely to have kids – and to have fewer, when they do -- than professionals in other fields with similar levels of training. The comments are worth reading; stories on this topic always generate a fair bit of interest.
May 23, 2008 - 6:19pm
OK, so I've got the numbers. We've completed Greenback's greenhouse gas inventory for academic years 2001 - 2007. The report goes out to various groups and bodies on campus next month. There aren't any huge surprises in it (one medium-sized one, which we'll discuss later). Running the buildings on campus is the biggest energy hog/CO2 emitter (by a lot), with transportation second. Other sources of emissions are trivial, by comparison.
May 23, 2008 - 4:54am
In a conversation with one of my department chairs this week, addressing a move we're considering making to respond to a state mandate, he asked a variation on "how do we know this will work?" I responded that we didn't, but that we knew that doing nothing would surely fail, and that the move we're considering seemed the most reasonable choice available. If he had a better idea, I was happy to hear it, but in the past year that this has been on the table (and we've been discussing it and our possible responses), nothing better has come along.
May 23, 2008 - 4:47am
Super Nanny was cancelled tonight – replaced by Lost. As if pretty, stranded people battling unknown forces could replace my crack like addiction to Super Nanny. The woman is a Domestic Goddess. She has all the answers. What do I do about my son's constant whining? His inability to stay in his own bed? His obsession with pink socks? Super Nanny is the consummate hero. She flies into a chaotic home with her lists and chore boards and jars of shiny "privilege" marbles just waiting to be confiscated.
May 22, 2008 - 8:04am
On a recent Saturday, right in the middle of our weekly cleaning spree, an acquaintance called to invite my eight-year-old son over to play. She also suggested that I come along and relax in the garden "while the boys play." "I'm sorry," I replied, "I'm leaving the country next Friday and I am trying to get things in order before I leave." As soon as the last syllable left my mouth I regretted it. TMI. (Too Much Information.) I knew it.
May 21, 2008 - 11:17pm
Money shortages create all manner of frictions. Say you have a large group that believes, with varying levels of truth, that it's underpaid. Say that there's nowhere near enough money floating around to bring the entire group up to the level it wants. (Not that this ever happens, but bear with me.) Barring a visit from the Money Fairy, or a really drastic, from-the-ground-up restructuring in which absolutely everything is on the table, you basically have four choices:
May 21, 2008 - 1:25pm
Let me combine two university-related subjects I've been promising to write about -- online courses, which I've called the poor white trash of pedagogy, and student/professor affairs. These subjects, seemingly unrelated, might be considered together under the heading Live Souls, the working title of a book UD hopes to write this year during her sabbatical: Live Souls: Re-Animating the American University. ***
May 21, 2008 - 11:53am
As I wrote in a couple of earlier posts (here and here), I’ve long had an interest in independent publishing. Today I have an interview with an actual owner-operator of one such literary press that I’ve been watching.

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