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January 11, 2011
After two decades in the academe, I have purposely avoided being nominated to any administrative position. This came from an earlier conviction that I would rather be a serious scholar than a paper-pushing bureaucrat. Because the pool of would-be university administrators seems to draw disproportionately from a handful of PhD holders, I thought it was a great disservice to have such expensive education wasted on the banality of managing. Besides, being tied to a desk job is the antithesis of my desire to travel abroad.
January 11, 2011
Wikipedia will celebrate its tenth birthday at the end of this week. It's one of those anniversaries, like the recent twentieth anniversary of the Internet, that makes you realize how ubiquitous a particular tool has become.
January 10, 2011
I read with interest the exchange Historiann had with Anthony Grafton, the new President of the American Historical Association. It had an otherworldly quality to it that took me a while to pin down. I think I’ve got it.
January 10, 2011
Are you dreaming of the perfect iPad? Or at least a better iPad, the iPad 2. The current iPad is an EDU luxury. For students and professors, the current iPad is a great complement to a laptop, but only a complement. Every iPad in existence could currently turn into bricks, and teaching and learning would basically go on undisturbed.My bet is that the iPad 2 will not fundamentally alter the EDU landscape. The iPad 2 will be thinner, lighter, brighter, faster, and come equipped with a couple of cameras. A more luxurious luxury.
January 10, 2011
One of the great joys of academic life, it seems to me, is the opportunity for fresh starts. New semesters and new academic years offer such great promise, such hope — and, whether that promise is realized or not, there will always be another start, not too many months away.
January 10, 2011
This month, we’re meeting the largest class of new governors in history. Twenty-nine will be inaugurated this month. As extreme jobs go, being governor during epic budget constraints, high unemployment, and a frail infrastructure surely tops the list. However, this new class of governors is far from naïve about the challenges they face. Minnesota’s Mark Dayton promised a budget “that will be reasonable, balanced, and painful -- because I see no easy alternative.”
January 10, 2011
Some things here are strikingly similar here to elsewhere, like territorial behaviour by Ministries. Others are quite different - the security situation, and the importance, and effects, of donor funding. The welcomes are always warm and the hospitality generous, and sincere. Hospitality to guests is important here.
January 9, 2011
Dear Ed.D.’s,I know y’all have it a little rough. Many academics don’t take your credentials terribly seriously. Until recently, I gave this very little thought.Over the past year or so, though, I’ve been contacted by email a series of times by various Ed.D. students doing surveys of college administrators. And I’ve been struck, consistently, by just how off-base the surveys are.
January 9, 2011
The Economist's 16 December issue opened its article on why doctoral degrees waste 21st century students' time and money with a vignette about Martin Luther. The Economist longed for the days when theses were short, sweet, and revolutionary. I began my own academic life as a historian of Lutheran education and could not avoid seeing the deeper parallels between 16th century and 21st century crises in education.
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.

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