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August 23, 2010 - 8:36pm
A week ago on Monday afternoon — the time when I usually write this blog post — I was in a car headed back to Richmond after a long weekend visiting family in Connecticut and upstate New York. Today, I’m in my office, having met my advisees last week and my first group of new students today. I’ll meet my second class tomorrow and then the school year will be well and truly underway.
August 23, 2010 - 8:31pm
The nieces came to visit this weekend. The older niece is three, and the younger one is five months.The glory of an infant niece -- I’d imagine grandkids work the same way -- is that you get all of the cuteness, without the hard labor. When Younger Niece made the untoward digestive noises they make at that age, I could look at my brother without guilt. And when you’re a few years out of having an infant around, a little one makes a great nostalgia trip.
August 22, 2010 - 9:22pm
Quick: name your five best school teachers or college professors, the individuals from primary school through graduate school who made a difference – a big difference – in your education and your life. Ok, pencils down.What made these men and women effective instructors? Great teachers? Memorable mentors?How do you know? By what metrics do you assess their impact and effectiveness? Which teachers and professors “added value?” Why do their names linger while other names are lost?
August 22, 2010 - 8:58pm
Who’s qualified to teach college level math?This isn’t limited to math, but I’ll start there because it’s concrete. Similar issues arise in any number of other disciplines.According to some in the math department, you either have a master’s (or higher) in mathematics, or you do not. Engineering isn’t math; computer science isn’t math; physics isn’t math; mathematics education isn’t math. The folks who hold this view claim that they’re upholding standards, and preventing a slow but presumably inevitable slide towards perdition.
August 22, 2010 - 7:45pm
Atlanta in August – hot, humid, and sticky.It had been seven years since I had attended the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting. I had been finishing up my PhD and planned to join the ranks of the tenure-track – the annual conference was mysterious and terrifying. Since then, my life has taken a very different path. I finished my PhD in 2004 and was pregnant within the month. The following year I was offered a high-powered academic dean position and turned my back on tenure-track.
August 22, 2010 - 7:30pm
I decided to read Sheena Iyengar's new book, The Art of Choosing, after watching her TED Talk. The opportunity to give a TED Talk must rank just below inclusion in the Oprah book club. Does anyone know just how big the book selling boost is for authors appearing on TED?
August 22, 2010 - 5:47pm
I have been spending the last few days reviewing my tenure and promotion recommendations to the President. Each tenure and promotion candidacy has a file that has multiple recommendations, starting at the department level after the candidate has presented his or her tenure/promotion portfolio. Once that portfolio is prepared and submitted, the candidacy is reviewed and a recommendation is provided by the department chair, and the Ad Hoc Tenure Committee or the Promotion Committee.
August 22, 2010 - 5:12pm
Aeron Haynie’s excellent post on girls and weight/eating issues made me rethink Ms. Mentor’s most recent column, “Being Nice or Getting the Job Done.” When I first read the Ms. Mentor column, it seemed like straightforward advice on a situation that is fairly common with younger employees.
August 22, 2010 - 3:30pm
 “The opportunity to start from a blank page and create an entire institution from concept to reality is a rare and precious gift. It enables many possibilities that would be unthinkable at established universities… But it requires vision, passion, and courage to attempt to innovate and to deliberately create a new and improved learning culture”. Richard Miller, President of Olin College 
August 22, 2010 - 11:45am
Katherine Mansfield wrote, “Ach, Tchekov! Why are you dead? Why can’t I talk to you in a big darkish room at late evening—where the light is green from the waving trees outside? I’d like to write a series of Heavens: that would be one.”

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