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August 12, 2010 - 7:15pm
Q. Why don't Yugo's sustain much damage in a front-end collision?A. The tow truck takes the impact.Q. Why does a Yugo have rear a window defroster?A. To keep your hands warm as you push it.--from "The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History" by Jason Vuic.
August 12, 2010 - 6:58pm
There is a concept in economics called a “tournament”. It notices that one way to motivate people to do something that you want them to do is to set up a tournament by setting out a goal that many people are willing to work for, and then encourage them to behave in a way that you desire in order to achieve that goal. The tenure process comes to mind immediately when I think of such tournaments, for the tenure process gives us a goal to work for, and in the process we align our behavior with that desired by the university.
August 12, 2010 - 4:45pm
On occasion, I get a flash of brilliance that's actually a good idea. More often, they're insights which either were already apparent to anyone who'd thought much about the topic or are so trivial as not to matter one iota. Sometimes both.When an understanding creeps up on me more gently, however -- not a flash so much as a dawning in granny gear -- it's usually pretty good. Sometimes even directly useful.
August 12, 2010 - 4:35am
This piece in IHE, and its comments, hit home with me. It’s a variation on a dilemma I face every single semester.Broadly, it’s about the zero-sum truth that if professor X gets assigned a particular class, then it cannot also be assigned to professor Y. When there’s a limited number of sections of a given course or in a given discipline, and they both want the same one, someone has to lose. Determining who has to lose is the enviable job of administration.
August 12, 2010 - 4:31am
I am writing this column from the annual conference that I attend every year with fellow academics — the University Film & Video Association (UFVA). This year we’re meeting in Burlington, Vermont. Like many schools, my university travel budget is fairly low this year. So this trip is also my vacation.
August 11, 2010 - 9:30pm
The discussion around the economics of higher education yesterday was really amazing.I now have a list of articles and places to research to begin to go up the learning curve of post-secondary finance. Thank you.What I'm wondering now is how we can have an informed, nationwide discussion around the economics of higher education?
August 11, 2010 - 6:15pm
Several sessions were held this week by Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to explain the campus move from “legacy” technology to Microsoft’s unified communications system.
August 11, 2010 - 4:00pm
In case you missed it a couple of weeks back, a boat constructed almost entirely from re-purposed plastic soda bottles has sailed from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia!While I doubt that this will set a new standard in nautical design, I do think it makes a compelling (and classroom-appropriate) argument for the idea that what we currently consider waste could just as easily be considered a stream of useful materials.
August 11, 2010 - 4:30am
I've been keeping track of as many tweeting Senior Student Affairs Officers (SSAOs) as I possibly can via a Twitter list. It is interesting to see how different tweeting styles emerge based on personality, strategy, and a willingness to adopt social media from a leadership perspective.

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