Higher Education Webcasts

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

April 28, 2011 - 8:43pm
In statistics we often talk about an idea of the “expected value.” By multiplying outcomes of something that involves uncertainty by the probability of each outcome occurring, we are able to find a value that is a good representation of the outcome that would most likely occur. For example, in a lottery, a large payoff is often offset by the huge number of people who buy a ticket just that once, in hopes of cashing in on the large payoff. This leads the expected value of a person’s winnings to possibly be less than the price of a ticket to even enter the lottery.
April 27, 2011 - 8:19pm
Todd Haynes’s adaptation of Hollywood noir writer James M. Cain’s novel, Mildred Pierce (1941), premiered on HBO recently. Kate Winslet stars in the title role, originally played by Joan Crawford in the 1945 film adaptation. Crawford won the Oscar for portraying a Depression-era single mom, a ‘grass’ widow, driven to feed and nurture her enormously ungrateful daughter, Veda by whatever means possible. I never identified with Crawford’s slightly melodramatic depiction, but Winslet’s performance of the sacrificial mom struck a nerve with me.
April 27, 2011 - 5:58am
I had another blog planned, but I just got back from a presentation of the film “Race to Nowhere,” (see www.racetonowhere.com and www.endtherace.org) and I feel I really must put in a plug for parents – especially academic parents - to see it. The film, directed by Vicki Abeles, opened my eyes, especially as my older daughter is just leaving elementary school, and we’re poised on the brink of the middle and high school years.
April 25, 2011 - 9:10pm
I loved Susan O’Doherty’s blog post on the rite of “passagio” that she’s going through right now as her son gets ready to move on. I, too, am familiar with the transition from chest voice to head voice, and have been through a couple of similar passages myself. In our case, we’ve already gotten used to having a daughter in college — sort of. I have a feeling, though, that just like that chest voice/head voice transition, it’s something we’ll be paying attention to as long as she’s in college.
April 24, 2011 - 3:47pm
In singing, we differentiate between the "head voice" and the "chest voice." The chest voice is, for most of us, the range that feels natural; the voice we use to speak with. The head voice is the higher part of our range, often less resonant but possibly offering a purer, clearer sound. [Note: I am talking about women's voices. It is a little different for men.] There are usually a few notes between the solid head and chest voices that could go either way. For some of us, these notes end up in a nether region sounding awkward or, in my case, like Fay Wray being squeezed by King Kong.
April 20, 2011 - 10:32pm
Today a group of students in my Women in Literature class gave a presentation on the film, Mona Lisa Smile, which stars Julia Roberts as an art history teacher at Wellesley in the 1950s. Students are required to watch a film outside of class and give a group presentation, explaining how the film relates to issues discussed in class. This semester we’re focusing on texts about women and education, and we just finished Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran.
April 20, 2011 - 7:55am
As a parent I think a lot about keeping my children safe. When they’re with me I do what I can with safety tips, always hoping that I’m teaching them lessons they’ll remember when we’re apart. Though I’m not sure how best to do this, I try to help them develop good “antennae”, to know to get away from a situation when it doesn’t feel right. I can only hope that, without making them fearful and suspicious, they’ll get it. But sometimes that’s not enough.
April 18, 2011 - 10:44pm
Dean Dad seems to agree with T.S.
April 17, 2011 - 4:19pm
Bruce Thyer wrote in response to last week's post, "Men are rape victims also!...We should not ignore the problem of men being raped...Anytime a discussion of rape occurs, without at least a mention of male victims...marginalize[s] this serious problem. Silence equal[s] oppression.”I want to address this statement, and to argue with it.
April 14, 2011 - 9:38pm
I chose my first job out of graduate school for several reasons. The president of that university was a graduate of my graduate program, had been working in some very unusual areas, and wanted me and my research as part of where he saw the university going at the time (he died a few years later, but I believe that much of his vision did eventually come to be, if only, sadly, without me.) I had come to maturity with the Jesuits, and therefore wanted to teach with them, and the position was in a Jesuit university.

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