My nomination a couple of weeks ago for the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching required letters of support from past and present students. When I read the two letters that appeared in my packet, along with one by the administrator who organized the packet, I began to sob. I had no idea I was so wonderful, and I went straight out and bought a new hat.
There's a fairly wide, if shallow, literature out there on different generations in the workplace. It's often fun to read, if of limited usefulness. This week I finally realized what's missing.
What are the effects when a workplace skips a generation?
In the community college world, this seems distressingly common. In discussion with a contact at another cc this week, where the same phenomenon holds, I realized that the reasons for the gap are more complicated than I had initially thought.
A graduate student I know at a well-respected public university had a baby last year. This spring her husband’s job requires him to work in a different state from her for several months. She recently decided that that she could not accept a spring semester teaching assistantship because, with her husband gone, she cannot accommodate the workload into her increased childcare responsibilities. Without a teaching position, she finds herself without tuition remission.
Warren Buffett has seen the future of personal transportation, and it isn't spelled "GM". The Oracle of Omaha (or, more specifically, Buffett-controlled Berkshire Hathaway) has taken a ten percent stake in a Chinese firm called BYD Company Ltd. A subsidiary, BYD Auto, has announced that they will enter the US market in 2011, bringing us the world's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid and a five-passenger electric-only crossover vehicle which gets 250 miles between charges. (It also does 0-to-60 in about 10 seconds.)
Someone just asked me to participate in a panel discussion on “balancing teaching and research” (this in the context of a series on “Managing the Challenges of the Tenure Process for Women Faculty”) and my first reaction was to say no. Not because I’m too busy (though I am), or because it’s someone else’s turn (though it might be), but because I was afraid I wouldn’t have any credibility on the subject.
As the soufflé of an overleveraged economy collapses, it's easy to focus on the negative.
I spent most of December writing variations on "now maybe we can finally start to rethink how we do business" posts, so I won't rehash that. I'll just note that it would be criminal to let a perfectly good crisis go to waste, and leave it at that.
Instead, this one's about psychology.
When I'm not on campus, I farm.
As a result, for the last 25+ years, I've lived a ways from pretty much everything. I believe in that time I've lived within 8 miles of precisely one small store, not counting the occasional crafter selling out of her house. For my family and me, shopping isn't a pass-time, it's a pain in the neck. And my commute to Greenback is over 20 miles, each way. My family probably drives 40,000 vehicle/miles per year, or more.