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March 24, 2009 - 9:32pm
I'm increasingly convinced that one of the most common flaws of so many administrators is a misguided urge to be nice.This often manifests itself in some long-undiagnosed but longstanding performance issues hitting a crisis level, but with a paper trail of relatively positive evaluations. The managers explain the positive evaluations with variations on “I didn't want to upset them.”Grumble.
March 23, 2009 - 9:43pm
I’m not sure I’ve ever had a week like this as an academic. My week started with a meeting, and it will continue with meetings and teaching and conferences and travel — and, maybe, a trip to the Grand Ole Opry? No, I know I’ve never had a week like this.
March 23, 2009 - 9:37pm
I use the gym on campus, since it's cheap and convenient to work. It's nicer than some private health clubs I've seen locally, and it seems like a nice 'campus loyalty' thing to do.All of which is fine, but...Well,It's hard to be appropriately deanly after showering, standing in the locker room in the altogether drying off, when faculty colleagues walk in. “Hi, DD!” Uh, hi...
March 23, 2009 - 4:48pm
Saturday, the Washington Post finally published the news that George Will has been intentionally misinforming his readers on the topic of climate change.
March 23, 2009 - 10:17am
Some of my students may be joshin’ me; they all insist they’re going home to study, eat a few good meals, and get some rest this week.
March 23, 2009 - 8:55am
Go wrapYour head in the snowy riversOf the Brooks Range. And that's what Nicholas Hughes did. His father, Ted Hughes, in his bitter poem, "The Dogs Are Eating Your Mother," advised his children to "leave her," leave Plath to the literary beasts feeding off her myth, and escape into their own lives.
March 22, 2009 - 8:05pm
I'll admit that this can be filed under 'good' problems. That said, it's still a problem.Between extraordinarily good work by our budget people, a few lucky breaks, and the likely support from the stimulus package, it looks like we might actually get through this year without any layoffs.First, hooray!Then, there's the issue of expectations and credibility.
March 20, 2009 - 3:48pm
Two quick postscripts to finish out the week.After Wednesday's post about the shape of knowledge, I found mention of a study done at Los Alamos National Labs, mapping the interconnections and relationships among academic fields, based on clickstream data from online journals. No huge surprises, but one interesting conclusion: humanities and social sciences articles apparently provide significant inspiration (metaphors? marketing data?) to folks researching the hard sciences.
March 19, 2009 - 9:21pm
You may have heard of the concept of “six degrees of separation”. Made popular by a movie and a parlor game, it says that everyone in the world can be connected by at most six degrees of separation. That is, I would know someone who knows someone who knows someone, ect. It claims it would take only six such connections to unite everyone in the world. Think about it- what would it take to connect you to, say, the Pope? My guess is that you know someone who knows a priest who knows a Cardinal who then knows the Pope. And so on.
March 19, 2009 - 9:16pm
 A few months ago I mentioned a conversation with a contact at a respected private university who mentioned that her U only takes small numbers of cc grads in transfer because they've found that transfer students don't make the same level of donations as alums as 'native' students. The U doesn't like the impact on its fundraising, so it only takes enough transfer students to round out some upper-level classes. Anything beyond that it considers lost income. 

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