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December 11, 2010
Soulful Russian folk songs would not have been out of place on our drive last week across the unending frozen landscape of the Midwest. My friend Mike Finke, a Slavic scholar, and I were headed for the 2010 International Chekhov Conference at The Ohio State University, after all.
December 9, 2010
The topic of this blog post comes naturally to me, as I sit surrounded by over 40 essays waiting for me to grade. 40 essays, each 8 pages long – you count how much text I must get through, and fast (as my deadline for delivering the final marks is approaching very soon). The immensity of the task makes me wonder what the purpose of this exercise is and which ways there are to best achieve this goal. And so, I find myself writing about grading.
December 9, 2010
Last week I heard a story on Marketplace that struck me as helpful in understanding the chronic shortage of tenure-track faculty jobs.It mentioned that a recent study found that over the last several years, there has been a net of zero job growth in companies five years old or older. All of the job growth – all of it – can be accounted for by startups. “Mature” industries don't power growth.And I thought, hmm.
December 9, 2010
The most important shift brought about by the Web has been to move more of us from being consumers to producers. The fact that you are reading this blog now, and maybe will comment on the post - or tweet or blog yourself, is testament to this fact. Distressingly, the practice of higher ed has largely lagged this transition - too little of our student's time is spent producing for the world (writing, making videos, posting and sharing) - and too much time is still spent consuming words from the mouths of our professors.
December 9, 2010
We've had a fair amount of snow in Backboro. Not an inordinate amount by any means (it is December, after all), but enough so that many of our students from warmer climes are going into shock. I heard one grad student, yesterday, complaining about how cold it was. When her companion responded that twenty above was by no means cold, I just chuckled to myself.
December 9, 2010
This past July, I wrote a post titled "Technology needs to be more than a 'thread.'" The post generated a fair amount of discussion. I have read everyone’s comments, seen a few tweets, and even received a couple of emails. It would seem that technology in student affairs is an issue that we in the profession need to discuss at length.
December 9, 2010
College presidents find themselves with long lists of cares and concerns, and I was prepared for the usual list: tuition discounting, economic challenges, deferred maintenance. But Web 2.0 flirting sites? I hadn't figured to spend much time in that arena. To their credit, Alma students came to me this week with concerns over Likealittle.com.
December 8, 2010
This one may be a little inside-baseball, but folks new to administrative roles may find some value in it.Let’s say that you’re a newish dean, and that you have a department that’s resisting something that you believe needs to be done. You get the sense that it has a strong contrarian streak, and that it rather enjoys making deans squirm just for the hell of it. Which of the following would you consider a victory?
December 8, 2010
This weekend I took my daughter tree climbing as part of the new therapy she’s been receiving. Katie was given a rope, a helmet and a harness, and shown how to manipulate knots and footholds to inch her way to the top of 50-foot tall tree. The fun part was when the instructors persuaded Katie to return upside-down on the rope--‘spider-girl’-like--with her feet clinging to a knot, until her hands touched the ground.
December 8, 2010
The thing about the Chrome laptop is that it will eventually (soon) be very cheap. The Chrome laptop is not a replacement for your MacBook Pro or your Windows 7 laptop. The Chrome laptop is a leapfrog tool, perfect for the people of the emerging world who are currently on mobile phones (having skipped landlines), and will soon be in the market for an affordable computer.

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