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November 4, 2010 - 10:45am
No, I'm not referring to the election. I'm referring to the universal meta-question that applies to any research. Academics do a lot of research; some of it gets published, some of that gets read, and a minority of that really matters. If no one cares, the results (and the work it took to produce them) don't matter.
November 4, 2010 - 8:47am
My two teenagers have developed musical skills that neither their father nor myself ever possessed. They both participate in marching band, and have since middle school. I did not quite understand what this meant when my kids first got involved. Most of their friends played in the band and -- like the best student organizations — the after school commitment provided my kids with both a social life and valuable musical instruction.
November 3, 2010 - 11:39pm
This story about the election results got me wondering. (And everybody can put the knives down -- I’m not analyzing candidates here.) In a climate in which government spending is generally considered suspect, and in which people who campaign on “tax cuts good, spending bad” do very well, ballot measures that supported higher education specifically did very well.
November 3, 2010 - 10:15pm
I was hoping to engage in a dialogue with this community about how departments (or units or divisions etc.) can develop a social media strategy.What are some appropriate goals that can be attached to utilizing social media as a means of communication?In discussions around social media, I find that we tend to want to jump to the tools and the platforms. What we need first, I think, is a discussion about the goals we are trying to achieve.
November 3, 2010 - 9:12pm
Contemporary Americans, wrote the philosopher Richard Rorty, are "rich fat [and] tired;" they live in an "Alexandrian" culture. Craig Brandon's new book, The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given Up On Educating Your Child and What You Can Do About It, describes, in bland and angry prose, just the sort of universities Alexandrian cultures get. *****************************************
November 2, 2010 - 9:45pm
We spend so much time worrying about what is wrong with our U.S. higher ed system that it is easy to lose sight of how much the system has improved over the past 20 years. This is a mistake, as if we fail to honor our successes we will forget that change can and does happen, and that our colleagues are working incredibly hard each and every day to improve our institutions.
November 2, 2010 - 9:45pm
I'm playing in a poker tournament next week for an association's foundation fund. Apparently I will be playing something called "Texas Hold 'Em." I've never played poker before. I've watched it on television. Several of my friends frequently play the game. I am participating mostly so that I can "lose" my money for a good cause. I hope I can last for a few minutes at least as I do I have a basic understanding of cards.
November 2, 2010 - 9:30pm
Anyone in the academy already knows that if a letter of recommendation praises a student as a ‘hard worker,’ the subtext reads, ‘not very bright.’ High prestige scholarships put a high premium on leadership and service to others, but at some point in the transition from Gen X to Gen Y, service fell to a distant second place. Every student I meet seems to have attended some sort of leadership seminar, institute, or retreat and leads something. Most have founded an NGO. Scholarship administrators fume that while many have founded, few have achieved much of anything.
November 2, 2010 - 8:46pm
The Boy's school recently had Back to School night, so the four of us went to see what there was to see. TB actually had 'greeter' duty at the front door, which taxed his patience a bit, but was a source of pride anyway. We wandered the hallways looking at various displays the kids had prepared, and talking with TB's and TG's teachers.In TB's class – he's in the fourth grade – the kids had done essays on what they want to be in fifty years. The essays were left out on the tables for parents to read. As an exercise in shoe-leather sociology, it was striking.

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