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August 3, 2009 - 9:00pm
Why are we training students for a dying industry? My college, like so many others, has a student newspaper. It's published on newsprint, it comes out twice a semester, and it sometimes gets facts right. (I always enjoy the man-on-the-street parts the most.) Our local daily newspaper, meanwhile, is in a death spiral. That's a common enough phenomenon that I can say that without really revealing my location.
August 3, 2009 - 10:00am
The serial crises that affect higher education in America carry with them an accompanying enthusiasm for big thinking. Big thinking involves the expansion of good ideas into major movements, transformations, inflection points, and other moments of significance. Big ideas serve many purposes. They offer hooks for conferences, papers, and symposia sponsored by associations and foundations, each seeking a position on the leading edge of revolutionary change.
August 2, 2009 - 8:34pm
As longtime readers know, I'm no fan of the "D" grade. Basically, I don't understand it. (For the longer version of my anti-D diatribe, see here.) It's passing, sort of, but it won't get taken in transfer unless it's safely hidden among other, higher grades. It gives credit, but in some sequences, it doesn't let you move forward. As grades go, it's particularly ambiguous. Last week, I heard a new twist on the evil of D's.
August 2, 2009 - 8:21pm
I interned at a VA medical center in the early 1990s. In some ways, the experience was a glimpse into the future: funds recently allocated to assist veterans of the first Gulf war had allowed the VA system access to state-of-the-art equipment and training opportunities and the ability to hire first-rate clinicians. In other ways, though, the place was a throwback to the 1950s, when all of the patients and doctors were male, and sexist jokes and attitudes were de rigueur.
August 2, 2009 - 10:49am
According to an article in The Guardian last week, new photographic evidence of climate disruption was recently released by the Obama administration. While it doesn't contain anything truly startling -- the featured symptom is shrinking of arctic ice sheets, which is already well-established -- it does provide some striking photographs.
July 30, 2009 - 10:21pm
-- Yesterday I phoned in a conference talk as Dean Dad. Scott Jaschik did a panel at a regional conference of community college leaders, mostly presidents, discussing changes in the venues for public discourse on higher ed. He spoke primarily about journalism and the blogosphere, and I addressed the group via speakerphone as a sort of Exhibit A. There's something strange about doing a conference talk when you can't see the audience. It reminded me a little of my radio days, except that I never went that long uninterrupted on the air.
July 30, 2009 - 10:15pm
Today I'm fortunate enough to post the first of three parts of an extended interview with writer and teacher Thomas E. Kennedy, by writer and teacher Okla Elliott. (See here for a review I wrote back in May of one of Kennedy's novels.)
July 30, 2009 - 8:41pm
There is a concept in economics called “indifference curves”. These are a graphical picture of combinations of goods that would leave the consumer indifferent between the different combinations. Are two apples and one orange just as good to you as two oranges and one apple? If so, these points can be combined on a graph to form an indifference curve, along with other combinations that also leave the consumer just as happy, or indifferent, among the various outcomes. The result is a graph of lines, similar to those found on a map depicting altitude or weather patterns.
July 30, 2009 - 7:15pm
AASHE has released the results of a survey of sustainability practices within top-division collegiate athletics departments. It's interesting reading.
July 29, 2009 - 11:15pm
As I plan the upcoming semester’s courses, I contemplate the oft-emailed articles about the “millennial generation” students. I’m skeptical of these generational generalizations, particularly since they seem to elide the great differences between students (such as economics). Nonetheless, I find intriguing the claim that the new generation of students like to work in teams. I regularly assign group projects, with mixed success.

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