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January 16, 2009 - 4:40am
A new correspondent writes: I have a question to ask you and your "wise and worldly readers." :) I'm a PhD candidate in an evergreen social science, and I just taught for the first time last semester. While I loved many things about teaching, the biggest surprise for me was how much I loved teaching writing. I loved marking student papers, trying to teach them about how to structure an argument, working with them on how to craft a better piece of writing and thinking.
January 15, 2009 - 9:50pm
Once, when I was in high school, I entered a public speaking contest. I think there were four entries, and I came in third, after two people who spoke about the 1969 lunar landing. At one point in my speech, I looked out at the room of teenagers and a few adults and asked a question. In a voice squeaking with stage fright, I posed to the audience “in about thirty years, someone will be sworn in as president of the United States of America. I ask you today; why shouldn’t it be one of us?”
January 15, 2009 - 7:13pm
(I thought about titling this "Lies, damn lies, and assumptions", or even "Making an ASS of U and ME". So many decisions, so little time. Sigh...)
January 14, 2009 - 10:37pm
By lucky coincidence one of my closest friends is on sabbatical at the same time as I. Although we joked that we would spend the year together skiing in the Alps and drinking wine, she is spending much of the year with her partner in another state, while my husband’s job keeps me here.
January 14, 2009 - 9:47pm
A returning correspondent writes:
January 14, 2009 - 7:49pm
My nomination a couple of weeks ago for the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching required letters of support from past and present students. When I read the two letters that appeared in my packet, along with one by the administrator who organized the packet, I began to sob. I had no idea I was so wonderful, and I went straight out and bought a new hat.
January 14, 2009 - 4:52am
There's a fairly wide, if shallow, literature out there on different generations in the workplace. It's often fun to read, if of limited usefulness. This week I finally realized what's missing. What are the effects when a workplace skips a generation? In the community college world, this seems distressingly common. In discussion with a contact at another cc this week, where the same phenomenon holds, I realized that the reasons for the gap are more complicated than I had initially thought.
January 14, 2009 - 4:47am
A graduate student I know at a well-respected public university had a baby last year. This spring her husband’s job requires him to work in a different state from her for several months. She recently decided that that she could not accept a spring semester teaching assistantship because, with her husband gone, she cannot accommodate the workload into her increased childcare responsibilities. Without a teaching position, she finds herself without tuition remission.
January 13, 2009 - 2:00pm
Warren Buffett has seen the future of personal transportation, and it isn't spelled "GM". The Oracle of Omaha (or, more specifically, Buffett-controlled Berkshire Hathaway) has taken a ten percent stake in a Chinese firm called BYD Company Ltd. A subsidiary, BYD Auto, has announced that they will enter the US market in 2011, bringing us the world's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid and a five-passenger electric-only crossover vehicle which gets 250 miles between charges. (It also does 0-to-60 in about 10 seconds.)
January 12, 2009 - 9:43pm
Someone just asked me to participate in a panel discussion on “balancing teaching and research” (this in the context of a series on “Managing the Challenges of the Tenure Process for Women Faculty”) and my first reaction was to say no. Not because I’m too busy (though I am), or because it’s someone else’s turn (though it might be), but because I was afraid I wouldn’t have any credibility on the subject.

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