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March 29, 2011
Amy Chua’s endlessly discussed Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s Academically Adrift have provoked much questioning: What’s wrong with parents? What’s wrong with students?What has not really been asked is, What’s wrong with school?
March 29, 2011
Shared governance has many definitions, and the boundaries can be fuzzy. But most academics have a pretty clear idea that in the academic context, part of shared governance involves faculty control over curriculum. Administrators are well-advised to tread as lightly as possible in curriculum, ideally functioning mostly as traffic cops. Make sure the process is followed and the course descriptions in the printed catalog match the ones online -- which sounds simple but isn’t -- and otherwise don’t mess with it.
March 29, 2011
When will you pay for digital content? If you are in the information business, and education is an information business, it probably makes sense to spend some time thinking about this question. I just answered that question for myself, giving Audible (really Amazon), $229.50 of my money in exchange for 25 audiobook credits (works out to $9.18 a book).
March 28, 2011
I file this one under “instant classic.” A new correspondent writes:[I]f you are asked "how has your teaching changed over the years" or "how has your management of people changed over the years" or "how has your interaction with clients changed over the years" the wrong answer is "it hasn't."The best professionals are continually evaluating their performance and making tweaks to improve - no improvement = no evaluation of past performance in my book.
March 28, 2011
I am lame at Twitter.The Twitter EDU world is divided into (at least) 3 categories:Awesome Twitter People: People like Eric Stoller (see below) who authentically leverage Twitter as a new medium for communication, collaboration, and community.Lame Twitter People: Folks like me. We use the tool badly, don't take advantage of Twitter's ability to forge new connections and provide real time intelligence and analysis, and basically violate and subvert the cultural norms of the platform.
March 28, 2011
I am a huge fan of open government and of the Freedom of Information Act. The right of the people to request information from public officials is an important tool for journalism, research, and activism. That’s why, as I read responses to a political group’s request for e-mail correspondence from a state employee, my knee does not begin to jerk convulsively. I don’t think, “e-mail!? That’s outrageous!
March 28, 2011
I’ve been keeping tabs open in my browser, hoping I can get to them before the newsworthiness fades, but it’s been nearly impossible to keep up. What should I focus on, the report on the “pyramid problem” in higher ed, which explains why even though women are receiving more than half the doctorates in the U.S., we are still nowhere near achieving gender equity in the professoriate?
March 27, 2011
I love conferences; they allow me to be a registrar geek, among over 2,000 people, vendors, university representatives, and governmental policy makers. I was lucky to be in Seattle last week, amongst many other registrars, attending conference sessions on curriculum work flow and classroom scheduling at the annual meeting of the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers. I have been working in the registrar field (if I can call it that) for about seven years now, a few years longer than entry level jobs require.
March 27, 2011
From the “just when you think it couldn’t get more ridiculous” files...The leadership of the Republican party in Wisconsin has filed a Freedom of Information request to read all of the emails from the account of Professor William Cronon, a well-known historian and union activist at the University of Wisconsin. They’ve specifically asked for emails containing terms that would suggest relevance to union and/or political activity.
March 27, 2011
At least one a year, an entry level administrator will ask me if it is OK to disagree with his/her boss and, if yes, how should s/he disagree. We all know that differences of opinion and the resulting discussions are valuable aspects of an enlightened decision making process. And I could just respond to the question (since I am a Broadway musicals fan) by saying (since singing is not my strong point): just do everything “the company way.” Instead, my answer is that it is certainly OK; if you keep in mind the time, the place, and the style.

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