You know, it's kind of fun blogging about higher education and sustainability. Fun in that it gives me an opportunity to play against some of the basic assumptions and contradictions of society. Elizabeth Redden's recent article wasn't at all about that (Elizabeth is smarter and more conscientious than I'll ever be), but a comment on her article kind of put it into focus for me.
I rail against distance learning, laptops in classrooms, PowerPoint, and other trends toward too much technology in university life, yet yesterday I made an audition lecture cd for the Teaching Company.
If the sample audiences around the country to whom TC will now send it like UD's lecture, she'll prepare a TC lecture series. Instead of lecturing to fifty or so people every semester, she'll have an audience that spans the nation. She'll become a distance instructor. Big time.
Mrs. Churm has a habit of calling out answers for the TV game show Jeopardy, often while I’m trying to eat a perfectly good sloppy Joe sandwich. Back at the end of 2008, our son Starbuck, six years old then and unaware of the cauldron he was stirring, asked her why she hadn’t tried out for the show.
“Because you’re good, Mommy,” he said. “You know everything. You could win.”
The two-income family is one area in which I received no helpful advice while growing up. I was born in the mid-1960s, raised by a stay-at-home mom and working dad, watched The Brady Bunch on TV and discovered feminism in college. I have always wanted a career, a family, and a house (one, not two...) and never really thought about the time, the money or the hours in the day necessary to make it all work.
The Boy is eight today. He looks ten, but he's eight. It's a fun age to watch, since it's still very much part of childhood, but he's starting to show signs of noticing more than his family.
Last night I took him to get a new bike, since he had outgrown his old one. On the way home:
TB: Dad, I think the girls at school all like me and Ian.
TB: Well, they're always asking us to be princes in their games. And I'm like, “can't you see that I'm fighting Darth Sidious?” It's annoying!
TB: And they're always asking me to double date.
I thought I was done with commencements for about a year, when someone sent me a link to the address Paul Hawken gave at the University of Portland. Paul's an environmentalist, an entrepreneur, and author and -- apparently -- quite the platform speaker. Think of him as Jim Kirk meets James Hansen, and you won't be far wrong.
Last week, IHE had a story about a conference dedicated to addressing the relatively low rate of college attendance by men. Apparently, suggestions from the conference included gender identity workshops run by Student Life. And the comments to the article quickly became rants against gender studies, liberal academics, and the dangers of perverting the Timeless Truths.
Although it's only tangentially related to the topic of sustainability (and even that only if your mind runs in the same twisted circles (Moebius strips?) that mine does), I want to start by recommending to all and sundry the best TV series you (probably) never heard of. Slings & Arrows was produced for Canadian television, and tells of three seasons/productions at a disfunctional Shakespearean theater (theatre) company. Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear, and the offstage action is also well-written.
I've had variations on this conversation several times recently.
Professor: There's option A and option B, and I guess technically there's option C. This clique wants A and that clique wants B. What do you think we should do?
DD: I really don't care, as long as the decision process is valid.
Professor: But what if they choose C?
DD: Then they choose C.
Professor: But C is terrible!
DD: Could be. But if they need to discover that for themselves, so be it.