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February 18, 2010 - 10:13pm
I've been following the Bill Reader case with interest for the last few weeks. (For the record, I don't know him, and I don't know anyone at Ohio University.) I read it differently than most folks in internet-land. The question of the proper weight to give to considerations of 'collegiality' in tenure deliberations is a thorny one, and not where I'll focus here. I'll just note that one person's strategic vitriol is another person's hostile work environment, and that administrators who don't keep an eye out for the latter aren't doing their jobs.
February 17, 2010 - 9:48pm
It may seem weird for me to ask this now, after all these years, but how does your college allocate positions? I've seen it done in a few ways, and I have my own preference, but I've never actually seen alternatives spelled out systematically.The most common way that I've seen has been as a sort of spoils system for gladiatorial combat among administrators. Each dean curries favor with the VP over time, and when hiring time rolls around, positions are allocated in rough proportion to the political standing of the deans.
February 17, 2010 - 9:24pm
I called in sick today for the first time in 18 years of teaching (not counting when I had emergency surgery). If I had an exam scheduled, or student reports, I would have crawled in to work, no matter how crappy I was feeling. As an academic with a relatively flexible schedule, I’ve always tried to get sick on my non-teaching days, or on holidays. But as I sat at my desk grading papers at a snail’s pace, getting increasingly bad-tempered, it hit me that I was feeling, well, sick. Yet the idea of cancelling classes horrifies me.
February 17, 2010 - 8:33am
At the beginning of November I blogged about our first meeting of the SS-MD-BC (second Sunday mother-daughter book club) my daughter and her friends started. I very much appreciated your comments (my new year’s resolution is to be better about responding to blog comments). Since there was interest in hearing more about our selections, I thought I’d catch you up on the books the girls have chosen since then.
February 17, 2010 - 5:21am
Last night I took The Girl to the local Father-Daughter dance, which is a big event for girls here in the K-5 set. TG was soooo excited to go. Her dress looked like the chocolate-strawberry-vanilla ice cream cartons, with bands of white, pink, and brown. We took a bunch of pictures at home before heading out, so the Grandmas will have pictures of TG in her finest.TW took The Boy to see the new Percy Jackson movie. Fair is fair. He gave the movie the thumbs-up.
February 16, 2010 - 9:41pm
According to the web newsletter Environmental Leader, the British consulting firm Verdantix has just published a report describing four strategies to achieve world-class carbon management.
February 16, 2010 - 10:19am
I’d forgotten how fun, even exciting, the early stages of research on a novel can be. This week I’ve gotten to shop for boats, since one of the characters in the novel I’m writing owns and probably lives on one. He longs to impress people with it, but it’s some hulk he dragged off a tidal flat in Central America, and he’s barely got the cash to buy the diesel its misfiring engines guzzle.
February 16, 2010 - 9:12am
I don’t remember the title of the first book I read in college, but I do remember how I read it. It was a hefty tome on the state and as I read I wrote notes (“p 12 – state more capacious term than government” etc) on a pad. I remember feeling good -- all student-y, even intellectual, as I moved slowly through the text. After reading 50 pages, I decided to take stock. I had 20 pages of notes. I was new to the whole student thing, but I knew something was up.
February 15, 2010 - 9:30pm
I know I'm supposed to believe that standardization, state or national rules, or anything beyond local control is of the devil, a corporate conspiracy, and of a piece with water fluoridation and the metric system on the list of communist conspiracies against our way of life. I get that. But I'm still at a loss to explain why we leave some really fundamental decisions in the K-12 system to local control.
February 15, 2010 - 9:01pm
February, not April, is the cruelest month. Ask anyone in the mid-Atlantic states who's been pummelled by snow for the last couple of weeks. Here in central Virginia it's only raining today, but in some ways, that's worse: it's grey and cloudy and cold and there's not even a chance that anything will be cancelled for it. In the meantime mounds of snow are still piled up in the parking lots and along the sides of streets, and the potholes have appeared from under the now-melted ice and snow, making the simplest drive an obstacle course.

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