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October 22, 2008 - 10:07pm
Flying back from my conference last weekend, I experienced a moment of rare satisfaction: the conference had gone well, our book debuted, and I’d made some new friends. I’m in the productive period in my life right now: I’m engaged in satisfying scholarly projects, I’m happy being married, I’m enjoying my four year old daughter, and I finally have a community of friends outside of the university. How does this make me feel? Frustrated that it took me so long. If only I had been this confident in my twenties, I lament to myself, I would be really successful by now.
October 22, 2008 - 10:05pm
Wise and worldly readers, I need the benefit of your varied experience. Have you been able to make a January intersession work on your campus? If so, how?
October 22, 2008 - 6:10am
I had one of those moments of cognitive dissonance this week, when I was at a meeting trying to establish a regional consortium to prepare workers for a particular industry.
October 22, 2008 - 5:44am
At breakfast Monday morning my husband came downstairs to announce that he’d thought of something for his Christmas list. Hurray, I thought, quickly grabbing pen and paper to write down an idea from the world’s most difficult person to shop for. “I need a new dive watch,” he said. “Oh, great,” was my sarcastic response. “Something nice and cheap.” We agreed that it was probably too extravagant a gift and that we’d have to see if we could afford it. But our son suddenly chimed in from his waffle:
October 22, 2008 - 5:38am
So, when all is said and done, what matters is getting Greenback to a position of sustainability. We need to get out of the habit of taking more (of anything) than we put back. We need to learn how to stop creating wastes we don't resorb. We need to get out of what the cyberneticians call "positive feedback loops" because, after a while, the feedback doesn't seem all that positive. We need to find, and model, and pass on to our students a sense of balance, of equilibrium, of stability.
October 20, 2008 - 10:04pm
The comments on Aeron Haynie's post last week got me thinking: are benefits for working parents fair? Some commenters suggest that they aren't, that parents get "extra compensation" in the guise of health insurance, tuition remission benefits, etc. Of course, those don't end up as money in the pockets of said parents -- but they are additional expenses paid by the employer, it's true.
October 20, 2008 - 10:00pm
An alert reader sent me this story from the Seattle Times. It's about the hiring and abrupt firing, with allegations of physical assault, of Washington State University Provost Steven Hoch. It's worth reading in its entirety, since every detail seems sillier than the one before it. Even without any additional information, I read the story very differently than its author apparently does.
October 19, 2008 - 9:47pm
If you want to watch a dean's eyes roll back into her head, just ask for something and tell her to "find the money in the budget." I've heard this phrase dozens of times over the last several years, but it still strikes me as slightly odd. It gives the impression that funding new projects is a matter of looking for change between sofa cushions. And, in a way, it is.
October 19, 2008 - 6:17pm
In the endless Sisyphean task of explaining university finances to many audiences, we often encounter considerable skepticism about our permanent need for more money. No university worth its diplomas will argue that it has enough money to do its job. Not even the richest among us.
October 17, 2008 - 6:32pm
First, a word of clarification about the title. "Plotting the course" was a phrase that first popped into my alleged mind in reference to preparing a campus carbon neutrality plan. But then, I realized that such would only lead to confusion. I might think of a carbon neutrality plan as a "course of action", but (somehow) the term "course" brings other images to most minds on campus. So, bowing to the inevitable, lets think of "course" as a unit of curriculum.

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