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October 7, 2010
The latest critique of American higher education, Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids and What We Can Do About It by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus, has been getting quite a bit of buzz lately, and it's the buzz, not the thesis of the book proper, that I wish to discuss. But in case you haven't heard: The authors excoriate American higher education for no longer prioritizing the teaching of undergraduates and suggest a number of remedies.
October 7, 2010
I once had someone tell me a story of being on an airplane seated next to someone who was writing a dissertation in either math or economics (I forgot which). They asked their companion what their dissertation was on, and the person responded “chaos.” This person quickly responded by laughing; surely this was a reference to the old “Get Smart” movies of years ago. When they told me this story, I let them know that “chaos” is indeed an area of math that can be studied, and can even be applied to economics.
October 7, 2010
I'm all in favor of campus no-idling policies. And I'm even more in favor of electric vehicles for on-campus travel -- if your vehicle is electric, whether or not to idle becomes moot. But what I'm really in favor of, at least for students and faculty and staff who don't have to carry a lot of tools and other heavy objects, is bicycles.
October 7, 2010
After flying in from Chicago to visit my children recently, I arrived in time to watch them perform in the marching band for their weekly football game. My daughter, Katie, who plays the trombone, spotted me in the audience and needed to leave the stands and come weep a bit on my shoulder. She couldn’t explain exactly what was wrong, but it seemed to be a combination of loneliness, not finding enough friends in the band, and missing me a bit.
October 6, 2010
Does anyone out there work at a public college that mandates that students buy laptops?I’m increasingly convinced that we need to do something like that. We could define ‘laptop’ pretty broadly to include not just netbooks but also ipads and maybe even smartphones -- anything that gives students wireless internet.
October 6, 2010
I go to EDUCAUSE for the companies. More precisely, for the conversations I can have with the people who represent the educational technology companies that I currently or may interact with.Most of my time at EDUCAUSE is spent having these conversations. I realize that the more years that I attend the conference, the less time I can actually spend in sessions. Is this true with you as well?To get the most out of these conversations, on both sides, here are 5 quick guidelines:
October 6, 2010
One of my favorite personal learning networks (PLN) is the #SAchat. Student Affairs practitioners gather every week to chat via Twitter about a topic that is relevant to the field.
October 5, 2010
Apparently at the White House Community College Summit yesterday, President Obama announced no new public money for community colleges. But the Gates Foundation announced it would contribute $35 million.Obviously, for any one private entity to give $35 million is very generous. But it’s worth putting in perspective.It’s less than my college’s operating budget for one year. My college is one of 1100 community colleges across the country.
October 5, 2010
Greenback U has a sustainable purchasing policy in place. Barring a major difference in price, departments are supposed to consider environmental impact in all purchase decisions. As a result, there's been some shift in the mix of cars and trucks the University purchases. We have a number of hybrids in our campus fleet, and some natural gas-powered vehicles, and some that are fully electric. But those are still the exceptions.
October 5, 2010
I’ve always felt that the physical environment of educational institutions — their colours, their spaces, their architecture — is one of the least-considered elements in the constellation of educational “success factors,” though possibly the most pervasive one.

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