Herman Berliner

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January 17, 2011
In my household, I am typically the designated grocery shopper. I go once a week, and both my wife and I buy whatever remaining items we end up needing in between. Within about a mile, there are five major supermarkets. All have their strengths and weaknesses but I know from experience that they don’t have the best goodness of fit with the needs of my family.). So instead of choosing based on convenience, I choose based on the selection and go to another major supermarket that is almost 20 by car minutes from my home.
January 9, 2011
I really look forward to the December holiday break. Though the University is always prepared and staffed if any emergency arises, all offices (with the exception of admissions and public safety) are closed from just before Christmas to just after New Year’s Day. Emails decline precipitously during this time but fortunately I have no trouble adjusting to this change in volume. I use this time period to just relax and recharge and get ready for the January session and the spring semester.
December 20, 2010
When I was in college, it took me a long time to decide what to major in. I started thinking about Psychology; next considered Philosophy; and ultimately settled on Economics. Actually there were a few more disciplines along the way that I considered. When I encountered a terrific teacher, that swayed me toward a particular major and, not surprisingly, when the faculty member was the opposite, my reaction was also the opposite.
December 12, 2010
It is typical at the end of both the fall and spring semesters that there are extra meetings as every committee and aspect of University governance does all it can to complete the semester’s agenda. And, of course, the tempo in courses is similar; as hard as we try to maintain an even pace in our courses, very often we accelerate at the end to cover all the material that should be covered.
December 5, 2010
I am not in a position to gauge whether Cathleen P. Black should or should not be granted a waiver from the normal credential required by NY State law in order to serve as New York City Schools Chancellor. That responsibility lies with New York Commissioner of Education. If she is qualified, she should receive the waiver. If she is not qualified, the waiver should not be granted. And yet, the actual conclusion regarding the granting of a waiver is neither the first alternative stated above nor the second.
November 28, 2010
My expertise is in education and I have tried hard to keep my blog focused on just that topic. I know from reading other blogs that many authors feel qualified and empowered to comment on almost any imaginable topic. These authors are certainly empowered, they certainly have the right, and for the most part they write well. It’s just that the expertise isn’t there and therefore for me the comfort level isn’t there. And yet, I am about to violate my own guideline and talk about an area where I certainly have strong feelings but limited technical expertise.
November 21, 2010
The phrase was new to me but the concept and the consequences are very familiar. William G. Bowen, in giving the keynote address at the recent TIAA-CREF Higher Education Leadership Conference, talked about students and their families underinvesting in higher education. Given the important economic and social benefits of higher education, why would there be underinvestment and how does this work? The reason for the underinvestment is simple — many families are looking for a bargain. They are looking to get the degree at a lower cost or possibly at the lowest cost possible.
November 14, 2010
I was at the last soccer match of the season and the tension level was very high. Team “Blue” had won the last time “Blue” met “Purple” and now “Purple” was vocally calling for revenge while “Blue” wanted to make their superiority even clearer by also winning this game. All around me the fans were in a state of heightened excitement yelling at the top of their lungs.
November 7, 2010
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the drama department production of Cabaret. I thought our students did a terrific job and the production was without doubt at a professional theater level. During the intermission, I went over to a senior faculty member in drama and we had a chance to catch up for the first time since last spring. The faculty member commented on how much harder it has become for faculty from throughout the University to just get a chance to talk. And he talked with fondness about on-site registration.
October 31, 2010
In coming back to my office from a University Lecture, I cut through a main administrative parking lot. The lot has three rows of cars and a total capacity of approximately 60 cars. Though I don’t normally take much notice of cars in a parking lot, for whatever reason that day these cars caught my attention. In the entire first row of the parking lot, there was one American car. In looking at the remaining two rows, there was perhaps one more American car. The American cars were not new models and the other cars varied from relatively old to new looking.

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