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May 1, 2008
There's a provocative piece in yesterday's IHE about a study on per-student spending at various levels of higher ed, and a basic breakdown of instructional vs. non-instructional costs.
May 1, 2008
Only yesterday did I hear of the death, last September, of Professor Emeritus James J. McNiece, Jr., of Northern Illinois University.Jim McNiece was my first creative writing teacher, but oddly enough I can’t remember how many classes I took with him—certainly two, maybe three. Was there an independent study? I obviously took whatever he had to give; he once bemusedly told the class that when he walked down the hall in the department, I kept popping out from behind corners to ask him even more questions. (He retired a few years after; I hope I wasn’t the last straw.)
May 1, 2008
Let's say you live some distance from campus, not near any other employees who work a schedule similar to yours. What's an alternative to carpooling or public transit when those aren't practical? Not going to work at all, that's what!
April 30, 2008
A new correspondent writes:I've been a faithful reader for a while now ... an issue has been brought to my attention recently regarding my alma mater.
April 29, 2008
My brother -- who sometimes comments as "brother of dean dad" -- sent me an email yesterday about rhetorical moves that set off his internal crap-o-meter. I responded with a few of my own, and thought it might be fun to throw it open to my wise and worldly readers. First, the exchange:From "Brother of Dean Dad":
April 29, 2008
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
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
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
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.

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