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December 2, 2010
The benighted “MRS” degree bore a particular meaning for my mother’s generation. Young women went off to college with minimal interest in their major and maximum interest in securing a mate. Their graduation took a distant second to their wedding as evidence that they had successfully concluded their college experience. Think of Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride.
December 2, 2010
In response to Wednesday’s 'helpful hints' post, several people asked about special tips for adjuncts applying for full-time jobs at the college where they already teach.Internal candidates have been on a winning streak lately at my college, though there are no guarantees. Are the rules different for them?No, but some of them think they are. That’s how good adjuncts can torpedo their own candidacies.
December 2, 2010
Libraries are often in a tricky place when it comes to removing books from the collection. It makes some people think we we are so enamored of shiny new electronic toys that we have turned our backs on the traditional purpose of libraries, or that we want to devote space to trendy espresso bars and gaming rooms for adolescents who should be writing papers instead of goofing off. Sometimes we are so eager to demonstrate how hip we are, it makes some people think we hate books and the people who love them. And when we actually throw books away, those awful suspicions are confirmed.
December 2, 2010
I'm writing this post under the intoxicating influence of Kevin Kelly's "What Technology Wants". Blame Kelly for any hyperbole.(Are you also ridiculously influenced by whatever book you are currently reading? Why is it that books exert such gravity, so much more than visual media?)
December 2, 2010
I met a fellow math professor at a conference several weeks ago who is teaching a class on the idea of infinity. He told me of a story he tells his class about how difficult the idea of "infinity" can be. He described a class that a student wants to sign up for with an infinite number of seats. There are, however, already an infinite number of students enrolled, so each seat is already taken. A new student comes into that class, and wants to enroll, only to find every seat taken.
December 2, 2010
OK, look. This has only a metaphorical connection to sustainability, and probably no relevance at all to higher education. Nonetheless, if you haven't seen this Travelers Insurance commercial, you owe it to yourself.No, I'm not endorsing any insurance companies. But I definitely endorse whomever it was that made this piece of admittedly commercial art.
December 2, 2010
Last night, after a long day at work, I collapsed on the couch with my husband and six-year old daughter to watch A Christmas Carol. It was our daughter’s first time watching it and she was a bit scared by the ghosts, especially the mute and shadowy figure of Christmas future. Her face was a picture of childish delight at the end when Scrooge dances, giddy with happiness on Christmas morning, the ghosts gone and the day bright and full of possibilities for change. Family members are still willing to forgive and Tiny Tim is still capable of being saved.
December 1, 2010
Last week I had the pleasure to spend time with Fred Siff, Professor and CIO Emeritus University of Cincinnati, at a Richard N. Katz & Associates sponsored event. Fred led a discussion in which he asked, "Would you build a new 600 seat classroom today?"This was a great discussion starter, and I'm interested in what your answer would be.
December 1, 2010
An occasional correspondent writes:I have been offered a course at a reduced rate because the enrollment is not 100%. My objections to this go beyond mere self interest (I think). Here are some potential issues:#1: Instructors have little control over enrollment, but do have some. For example how many students pass a 100 level course has a direct impact on how many students move on to a 200 level course we might teach. If our rate is based on warm bodies might not an instructor be tempted to pass students just to increase enrollment in a higher level course?
December 1, 2010
If there’s one thing blogging regularly for years has made obvious to me, it’s that the mind roams restless as a spirit on the landscape of time. When I have reason to look for something I wrote here previously I can rarely tell, before I find it, when it was posted. I’m often wrong by years; it seems certain I was thinking those particular thoughts during the Eisenhower administration, not the Nixon.

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