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March 4, 2009 - 10:06pm
  I have vague memories of reading Seventeen magazine upstairs in my attic bedroom, alone and sequestered from my parents. Even though I was already enthralled with more ‘serious’ literature, I was never able to completely shun the cultural images that play on a young girl’s darker desires to be thin, mysterious and desirable. Brains are better than beauty, right?
March 4, 2009 - 7:14pm
I’m the best teacher who ever lived. Anyway I think that’s what the Provost said in the letter she sent to congratulate me for winning the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. I’m honored most by the fact that my former and present students generated and supported my nomination, and that I’ll be presented at a ceremony with a sack of money, which I hear will buy things.
March 3, 2009 - 9:17pm
Promoting sustainability at Greenback U. brings me into constant contact with both students and faculty. Each group has what I call its typical objection when presented with encouragement to behave more sustainably.
March 3, 2009 - 7:51pm
  The story in the Chronicle yesterday about California paying its community colleges in IOU's got me thinking about reserves, and the conflicting roles they play. In good years, some cc's are able to salt away some money and put it into reserves. (It's also commonly called a “rainy day fund.”) The idea is that public funding is notoriously and viciously cyclical, so having a pile of stray money can minimize the damage you have to endure in down cycles. Given how much of our budget is fixed cost, there's a real logic to this. But reserves are a tricky business.
March 2, 2009 - 10:18pm
  I read a piece in the Chronicle recently about learning to use unstructured time productively. Or, that’s what I thought it was about. As I read further, however, it seemed more to be about convincing people (and yourself) that you’re working when it doesn’t look like you are. That’s, of course, a very different animal, and one that academic mothers in particular may have trouble with.
March 2, 2009 - 10:07pm
A new correspondent writes: I've been doing some reading in economics lately and started wondering about higher education. What are the incentives to do administration well? Sure, there's personal satisfaction in a job well done. But what about it more broadly? How does change work into this? Without a simple goal like profit, I'm finding it hard to get even little service changes in administration. Maybe I'm simply not understanding the incentives at play? I understand (I think) the incentives at play for faculty and students, but what about administrators?
March 2, 2009 - 12:41pm
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to watch an old (old, old) movie -- Trouble in Paradise. It was released in 1932, and starred Herbert Marshall, Miriam Hopkins and Kay Francis. Particularly enjoyable to this Rocky & Bullwinkle fan were Edward Everett Horton and Charlie Ruggles in supporting roles. (If that reference doesn't make sense, you haven't watched "Fractured Fairy Tales" nearly enough. And a fairy tale is what this movie is, through and through.)
March 1, 2009 - 8:41pm
    Dr. Crazy has a nice discussion over at her place about battles over curriculum. As she details it, her department has basically broken into two camps: the "eat your spinach" camp and the "let them take what they want" camp. I'm quite taken with the metaphor.
February 26, 2009 - 9:14pm
Today I taught about Bay’s Theorem and Bayesian Statistics in my Advanced Statistics class. As I was lecturing, I talked a little about the game shows “Deal or No Deal” and “Let’s Make a Deal”, both very similar games but separated by about 30 years and some minor details. As I talked about the game shows, I found myself in a tangent discussing risk aversion, risk neutrality and risk loving behavior. It is then that I realized that these topics actually had something to say about parenting.

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