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November 27, 2010
Do our associations of universities have the adequate capabilities, including infrastructures, to support the well-spring of 'internationalization' that is emerging in member universities in virtually all countries? On some levels yes, but on other levels perhaps not.
November 24, 2010
I probably shouldn't have been surprised by the mid-career faculty member who didn't know her way around her own campus. Why would I expect her to know the names of buildings she doesn't work in? Or of faculty she doesn't meet with? Or of events on campus outside her disciplinary field?
November 24, 2010
My part of the world, Vancouver, B.C., is full of weather wimps, and I count myself among them. We like our mild winters with occasional drizzle and no more than a 10-degree (5 degrees, if we’re talking Celsius) daily temperature fluctuation, thank you. In the summer, if the temperature rises above 80, we complain about the heat. There’s a great term used by biologists that applies to us: we’re stenothermic, able to tolerate only a narrow range of temperatures. And so, this week’s record cold in Vancouver (about 18° F for a daytime high today) is catching many of us off guard.
November 24, 2010
Depending on your point of view, I either did something rash in accepting an invitation to participate in The Ohio State University’s International Chekhov Conference, “Chekhov on Stage and Page,” or else I’m living the dream. As you know if you’ve read this blog a while, Chekhov is important to me, and I often use his stories in my classes.
November 23, 2010
“Why them and not us?”Managing the different impacts of microbenefits is a surprisingly large part of my job. I’m still getting used to it, and still shaking off disbelief at some of the issues people will choose to fight about. This week brought that home to me yet again.
November 23, 2010
Are classes the same thing as courses and sections?Simple questions about student data can quickly disintegrate into details too nuanced for most faculty to stomach. I restrain myself from asking too many questions in response: should data be categorized by term, or by year? Should non-degree students and auditors be included? Universities are swimming in data, even if they are siloed in ways that seem to make little sense.
November 22, 2010
Anecdotally, it looks like the new Higher Education Act is doing a number on college bookstores, and on bookstores in college towns.
November 22, 2010
Can you remember what life was like before the Internet? I can ... but barely. I remember sending my first e-mail, and putting the entire message in the subject line, not knowing how it worked; the person to whom I was responding kindly phoned me up to explain it to me. I remember using Gopher, burrowing down through files and folders to see what was there. I recall a friend telling me about a new development that he thought would change everything, and it did; he was describing the World Wide Web and the browser that opened the door to just about everything.
November 22, 2010
Tractors are tools. Growing up in Iowa, I was always impressed by the variety of tractors that were used for farming. My parents owned an ancient Case IH tractor. It didn't have a cab, power steering, or 4 wheel drive. It was a relic. An antique that worked long past its "expiration date." My grandfather's equipment was much more advanced. His tractors had air conditioning, a radio, and power steering.
November 22, 2010
Sometimes teaching is a lot like baking. It helps to have a goal, and to have the basics down, but then it also helps to be flexible. Sometimes you just don’t have the necessary ingredients (the motivated students? The right mix of readings?), but you still have to teach the class. Baking’s often a lot like that for me.

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