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May 14, 2008 - 9:47pm
The story of the Norfolk State professor fired for failing too many students (see IHE's story here) is a kind of inkblot test. My own reaction is conflicted.
May 14, 2008 - 11:11am
The end of every semester is, in a sense, a finality; all those minds I’ve been living in for four months withdraw suddenly and leave only silence. But it’s also false closure, a pretense that students have learned some difficult thing once and for all, when I know good and well that Dr. Trinkle will sit reading their lab reports next fall in his office on the engineering quad, shaking his fist in the direction of the English Building.
May 13, 2008 - 10:02pm
Over at Easily Distracted, Tim Burke has a fascinating piece outlining his proposed hypothetical liberal arts college. Among other things, it does away with academic departments, favoring faculty who (as I read it) draw liberally on different fields of study, and encouraging students to become intellectual free agents. (He uses the term 'polymaths.') It's worth reading carefully.
May 13, 2008 - 9:54pm
Last month my son’s first grade class did a unit on plants, seeds, and fruits. When his teacher sent home an assignment to collect a dozen different kinds of seeds, I was more excited than my son was. Since I was a little girl, I’ve collected seeds and seedpods from all over the world, and I offered to lend my collection to the classroom.
May 13, 2008 - 5:35am
Sunday's New York Times Magazine cover story by Michael Sokolove about girls with ACL injuries has me thinking. The article claimed that girls are more prone to ACL injuries than boys who do the same sports because of their anatomy -- their wider hips, their stretchier ligaments -- but that they could perhaps prevent injury if they learned to "move ... more like a boy."
May 12, 2008 - 1:41pm
Back over Xmas/New Year's, my daughter introduced me to Dracula's Riddle, which took me about a month's worth of spare time to solve. Chat fora spring up around such inventive timewasters, and I consulted a couple of them in the process.
May 11, 2008 - 10:12pm
A friend who works at a respected public research university just sent me a copy of an all-campus email he received in which the Business Services department reminds everyone that, due to budget constraints, nobody is allowed to use university money to buy bottled water. (The only allowable exceptions would be when either the tap water supply to a building or campus has been cut off altogether, or when it has been diagnosed as unsafe. Naturally, the memo goes on to detail the multiple reports the university files annually to attest to the safety of its water.)
May 11, 2008 - 10:06pm
This week’s letter addresses a common question of PhD students considering leaving academia – where does one even start exploring non-academic career options? The letter reads:
May 10, 2008 - 5:32pm
"No one is thinking about the larger implications, let alone the morality, of admitting so many students to [university] classes they cannot possiblypass," writes an anonymous adjunct English professor in the June 2008 Atlantic magazine (far as I know, it's not available online). He teaches in two "colleges of last resort," where local, often older, students, go to rack up credits so they can move along a career track.

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